Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) may soon expand its iPhone product line even further than it did last year. According to supply chain checks cited by Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White, Apple will likely debut two new iPhone screen sizes in 2014.
“Our research checks yesterday suggest that Apple could unveil two larger iPhone screen sizes this year, a 4.7-inch and a 5.5-inch,” wrote White in a recent research note obtained by StreetInsider. “Given Apple’s pattern of keeping at least one older iPhone model alive, this would equate to a total of three iPhone screen sizes for consumers to choose from this year.”
However, unlike last year’s simultaneous launch of the iPhone 5C and the iPhone 5S, White predicted that the new iPhones would arrive at different times. “Another incremental data point we uncovered yesterday was the notion that there would be a staggered launch of the two, larger-sized iPhones,” noted White via StreetInsider. “We felt this was an interesting insight because we believe there is urgency for Apple to unveil a larger sized iPhone (i.e., 4.7-inch) to catch up with the trend toward mega-sized smartphones in China and elsewhere in Asia, while a 5.5-inch iPhone could technically fall into the ‘phablet’ category and be worthy of its own launch at a later date.”
White’s forecast aligns with a recent report from Bloomberg that is based on information from an unnamed source who is “familiar” with Apple’s plans. Like White, Bloomberg’s source predicted that Apple would unveil 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone screen sizes this year. However, Bloomberg’s source also noted that the new iPhones would feature displays that curve down over the edge of the devices.
Samsung (SSNLF.PK) recently released its own curved display smartphone, the Galaxy Round. However, the Round’s availability is currently limited to the Korean market. Although it is unknown if Apple will continue to use Gorilla Glass for a curved iPhone display, it should be noted that Corning (NYSE:GLW) recently revealed that it has developed a 3D glass-forming technology that allows Gorilla Glass to be mass-produced into “even more-dramatic form factors.”
Bloomberg’s source also suggested that the new iPhones may include enhanced display sensors that can detect the pressure of a user’s touch. However, it wasn’t clear if the pressure sensors would be ready for the initial large-screen iPhone models or if that feature would be saved for a subsequent model. Cantor Fitzgerald has a “Buy” rating and a $777 price target on Apple shares. Here’s how Apple has traded over the past five sessions.
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