Is This the Perfect Size for Apple’s Large-Screen iPhone?

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gonzalobaeza/

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has historically kept its focus on designing overall quality products rather than adopting the latest trends, including the growing trend toward larger screens on mobile devices. However, many industry watchers believe this is the year Apple will finally break the 4-inch screen size barrier with one or more new iPhone screen sizes. The only question is how big will Apple go?

Several different tech commentators and analysts have predicted that Apple will unveil 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone screen sizes this year, including Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White and DisplaySearch analyst David Hsieh. Many of these predictions are presumably based on rumors from Apple’s supply chain.

Forbes’s Ewan Spence recently made his own prediction about Apple’s next iPhone size. However, rather than relying on rumors from Apple’s supply chain or looking at smartphone sizes made by other companies, Spence attempted to predict Apple’s next iPhone size based on the company’s history of reusing components across its product lines. He noted that Apple followed this philosophy when it unveiled the original iPad mini, which was made with displays that had the same pixel density as the iPhone.

Assuming Apple would want to maintain software compatibility while reusing components, Spence concluded in his Forbes report that the upcoming iPhone 6 might have a screen size of 4.94 inches. He arrived at this size by taking the 1,136-by-640 pixel count of the latest iPhone models and matching it with the 264 pixels per inch specification found in the iPad Air. Per Spence, this would allow Apple to release a large-screen iPhone model while keeping costs low by reusing existing display components.

Although some Apple users have been waiting for an iPhone “phablet” ever since rival Samsung (SSNLF.PK) first introduced its line of large-screen Galaxy Note devices, Apple’s recently signed distribution deal with China Mobile (NYSE:CHL) may have been the final impetus for introducing a larger iPhone. China Mobile has more than 763 million subscribers, and a large number of them appear to prefer bigger smartphone screen sizes.

According to Forrester Research analyst Bryan Wang, around 40 percent of the Android-based smartphones sold in China have screen sizes of five inches or more, reports Bloomberg. It should be noted that Spence’s iPhone screen size guess is quite close to the 5-inch size that is so popular in China.

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