Following on from this year, analysts are predicting that Apple will release two smartphones in 2014 and both of them will be in the Phablet class of smartphones. Gene Munster, analyst for Piper Jaffray says that the iPhone 6 will release in September and it will be the biggest launch of any iPhone.
Image : iPhone 6 Concept made of Sapphire Glass
Peter Misek, Jeffries analyst, believes that one of them will be 4.8” screen, in order to better compete with the likes of Samsung with the Galaxy S4 and the Note 3. Until recently, larger screen smartphones were more of a niche product but now they seem to be becoming the norm.
Research shows that, in the last quarter, 50% of all smartphones that were shipped 4” or larger displays. For the same period the year before, that figure stood at just 20%. At the moment, the largest iPhone is 4” but researchers believe, if Apple produced a 5” model, it could account for more than 25% of estimated sales for 2014.
Image : Sapphire GT Manufacturing Unit
DigiTimes Research, who made the statement, has got part of their figure from an amount of money that Apple paid to GT Advanced. Apple has paid the sum of $578 million to the company so they can set up a series of furnaces at the Apple facility in Mesa, Arizona.
The furnaces are to be used to produce the next generation of display screens for the iPhone. At the moment, they use sapphire to coat the lens of the iSight camera and the Touch ID sensor but it thought that, next year it would be used to produce screen covers for a 5” iPhone display.
Image : iPhone 6 design
The amount of money that Apple has paid over is sufficient to purchase up to 3000 sapphire-growing furnaces, which could produce enough industrial strength Sapphire, called Boule, to coat up to 50 million iPhones per year – that’s 26% of the total expected shipments for 2014.
It’s already been rumored that Apple has been testing screen sizes of between 4.8 and 6”. However, one of the more accurate analysts, Ming-Chi Kuo, believes that Apple will not look at anything larger than a 5” screen due wholly to their principle that people should be able to use their iPhone with one hand.
It’s also thought that they are looking at thinning down the side bezels, creating an almost edge-to-edge display, easily operated with one hand. Rumor has it that, when this 5” iPhone appears, Apple will be advertising it as the only phablet in existence that can be operated single-handed.
Image : iPhone 6 Sapphire Glass Manufacturing Unit
If that wasn’t enough to keep your minds ticking over, there is a high chance that the next iPhone will have a curved display as well. As well as being more pocket-friendly, this type of display should be even easier to operate.
The big question at the moment is whether the 5” iPhone 6 will be the standard or if Apple will continue to offer the smaller 4” model alongside it.
What do you think ? Will you buy a larger screen iPhone if it comes out or are you happy with what you have ?