Apple Fans May Have to Wait Longer for Larger iPhone

Source: Thinkstock

The latest iPhone 6 rumors suggest that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) will face some display shortages for the next-generation device that is said to be even bigger than its predecessors. Making bigger, phablet-sized smartphones with screen sizes between five and six inches is a trend that rival Samsung (SSNLF.PK) has already jumped on, while the latest iPhones have four-inch screens.

Rumors have suggested that Apple is planning two different screen sizes for the iPhone 6, with the latest dimensions being 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches. Sources who spoke to Reuters said that while production of the smaller device is on schedule, the 5.5-inch phone display could see delays, meaning Apple fans could have to wait even longer for an Apple phone-tablet hybrid.

The sources said that the reason for the delays is complications regarding in-cell technology. In-cell touchscreen technology allows for touchscreen smartphones to be thinner than using traditional touchscreen panels. That technology is used in the two iPhone 5 models. Reuters’ sources said that the 5.5-inch display is facing production difficulties due to that technology, and a decision was made to begin mass producing the 4.7-inch screen while the issues for the larger display are worked out.

That smaller iPhone 6 display could begin mass production as soon as May, while the 5.5-inch screen may not begin production until several months later. The iPhone 6 is expected to be released sometime in the fall, and if Reuters’ sources are correct about those production issues, a 5.5-inch model may not be ready for release by then.

The companies that are expected to produce the screens are Japan Display Inc., Sharp Corp., and LG Display Co. Ltd., sources said to the news service. Japan Display is expected to be the first company ready to begin production, starting sometime next month, and the others will follow suit in June.

Bigger-screen smartphones, also known as tablet-phone hybrids or phablets, have grown into an increasingly popular product category as people use smartphones more and more to view what’s known as long-form content. Watching content for longer than 10 minutes occurs 75 percent of the time on a mobile device like a smartphone, and watching content for longer than 30 minutes is 53 percent for mobile, according to The Global Video Index’s report for the fourth quarter of last year, seen by Forbes.

That report found that more consumers are using smartphones to view longer video content and do other types of things online that take up more time as smartphones become more capable of such tasks. Smartphones with bigger screens make engaging with such content easier on the eyes, and so bigger-screen phones have risen in popularity.

Susquehanna Financial Group analyst Christopher Caso recently forecast that the iPhone 6 will be released in September, one year after the company came out with the iPhone 5S and 5C. Caso said in a note that production of the phones would begin later in the summer, with a high volume of devices ready by launch in September. If Apple can get those in-cell complications worked out by mid-summer at the latest, the Apple phablet may be ready by the September iPhone launch.

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