Apple planning 6-inch ‘iPhablet’

Apple is reportedly evaluating a plan to offer iPhones with screens ranging from 4.8 inches to as big as 6 inches.

A 6-inch iPhone    – which would be two inches bigger than Apple’s current iPhone 5 model   – would fall into the so-called ‘phablet’ category, being the same size as the Acer Liquid S2 and fitting in-between Samsung’s 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 3 and its 6.3-inch Galaxy Mega.

Devices of that size are not expected to appear among the ones that Apple is unveiling next Tuesday. However, a report in The Wall Street Journal indicates that Apple could be considering an entire family of screen sizes for upcoming iPhone releases.

This would match the approach that Apple has taken with the iPad and iPod lineups, which consist of multiple products in varying sizes. The iPhone is currently the only Apple product family that does not offer a choice of screen sizes on the newest model.

This is just the latest in a series of reports to suggest that Apple is experimenting with larger iPhone displays. In July the WSJ suggested the tech giant has been testing iPhone screens ranging up to 5.7 inches, while a similar report from Reuters in June claimed the company was working on both a 4.7-inch and 5.7-inch screen.

The rumours suggest that Apple is shifting its smartphone strategy in response to increased competition from its South Korean rival Samsung, which has released numerous products in different sizes and prices in order to cater to a broad swath of customers – particularly in India and China.

A recent report by market research firm IDC revealed that ‘phablets’ (smartphones with screen sizes of 5 to just under 7 inches) overtook shipments of both laptops and tablets in Asia in the second quarter of 2013. The growth of phablets was primarily due to adoption in emerging markets, according to IDC.

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