Yet another report claiming to reveal details about Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone plans has emerged on Thursday. According to “people familiar with the situation” cited by the Wall Street Journal, Apple is planning on releasing two new iPhones with larger screen sizes this year. The smaller of the two devices will feature a screen over 4.5 inches, while the other device will have a screen over 5 inches. Both devices will be larger than Apple’s current flagship iPhone 5S that has a 4-inch screen.
The Wall Street Journal’s report offered less specific screen size measurements than what has been predicted by other sources. For example, Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White cited supply chain sources that suggested Apple would unveil 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone screen sizes this year. Although DisplaySearch analyst David Hsieh offered the same screen size predictions as White, he seemed to think that Apple would select to use only one of the two sizes, rather than debuting two new iPhones.
More recently, Cowen and Company analyst Timothy Arcuri predicted yet another iPhone screen size this week in a research note obtained by Apple Insider. In the note, Arcuri claimed that Apple has already “locked down” its next iPhone screen size at 4.8 inches.
The Wall Street Journal’s sources also dismissed rumors that the new iPhones would feature curved displays. Tim Culpan at Bloomberg previously cited an unnamed insider source who predicted that Apple’s next iPhone iterations will feature larger screens with displays that curve down over the edge of the devices. Like Cantor Fitzgerald and DisplaySearch, Bloomberg’s source also claimed that one model would have a 4.7-inch screen and the other would feature a phablet-sized 5.5-inch screen. Apple rival Samsung (SSNLF.PK) recently released the Galaxy Round smartphone that features a curved AMOLED (active-matrix organic light-emitting diode) display.
Apple’s decision to expand its iPhone product line with a larger-screen device may be related to its recently finalized distribution deal with China Mobile (NYSE:CHL). China Mobile is the world’s largest carrier with over 763 million subscribers and many analysts have noted that Chinese consumers have a measurable preference for larger screens on mobile devices. Large-screen smartphones are also becoming increasingly popular in the overall global market. According to market research firm Canalys’ data, smartphones with screen sizes five inches or larger accounted for 22 percent of worldwide smartphone sales in the third-quarter of 2013.
Canalys also noted that the large-screen smartphone market segment is currently dominated by Samsung. The Korea-based manufacturer kick started the large-screen smartphone trend when it introduced its line of oversized Galaxy Note devices.
Besides relaying the latest large-screen iPhone rumors, the Wall Street Journal’s sources also predicted that Apple would ditch the plastic casing that it introduced with the iPhone 5C. Both of the new large-screen iPhones will feature metal casings, stated the sources.
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