Apple may be working on a hybrid 'iPhad'

The company is reportedly in the process of creating a larger smartphone-tablet.

By Benzinga Sep 6, 2013 4:39PM

By Jim Probasco


Apple (AAPL) is known for innovation. When it comes to smartphone screen size, however, not so much. While competitors like Samsung (SSNLF) offer smartphones in a variety of sizes, Apple has kept the iPhone screen size in narrow focus with the largest, the iPhone 5, a mere 4-inches.


But all that might be changing, according to The Wall Street Journal. Sources told the newspaper Thursday that the Cupertino, Calif. company is in the process of evaluating the notion of iPhones in a variety of screen sizes -- ranging from 4.8 inches to as large as six inches.

If a six-inch iPhone becomes reality, it would trump Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 3 at 5.7 inches. Interestingly, the new Samsung phone is widely considered a hybrid phone-tablet, putting a larger iPhone in the same category. As part iPhone and part iPad, what would it be called? An iPhad?


All this speculation comes days before Apple is set to unveil a new high-end iPhone -- as well as a low-cost model expected to make the company more competitive in emerging markets. Both of those phones will likely retain a traditional Apple screen size.


Clearly, Apple is changing strategies in its ongoing, often contentious, battle for market share with Android makers in general and Samsung in particular. Currently the Korean electronics manufacturer is well ahead of Apple in the smartphone market.


Apple worldwide smartphone sales fell from 19%  of market share to 14% in Q2 versus a year ago. At the same time, Samsung’s share grew from 30% to 32%, according to Gartner.


These numbers spell out why Apple might be willing to break from its traditional smaller "screen-size" mold, according to The Los Angeles Times. As the newspaper noted, late Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs was strongly opposed to an iPhone with a screen size larger than 3.5 inches. The four-inch iPhone 5, of course, broke that barrier.


Apple has tested different smartphone screen sizes in the past. The difference, this time, appears to be the fact that Apple "appears more willing to move ahead than in years past," according to sources who spoke to The Wall Street Journal.


In July, Fox News reported Apple suppliers had indicated the company was in the process of testing larger screens for both its iPhones and tablets. In addition to larger smartphone screens, sources said the company had asked for prototype designs for an iPad with a screen size just under 13 inches. Currently, the iPad has a 9.7-inch screen.


Whether the "bigger is better" mantra takes a foothold at Apple is not clear. As it is with most technology companies, Apple is known for experimenting with a large variety of new ideas before settling on the path it will take.


At the time of this writing, Jim Probasco had no position in any mentioned securities.


More from Benzinga

19Comments
Sep 8, 2013 10:57PM
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Would Samsung know what to produce if it weren't for Apple?  
Sep 8, 2013 2:20PM
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I've been saying for years tablets will go away and phones will get to be around 7 inches in size.  Laptops will remain because you can't work on a tablet.  We'll see.
Sep 8, 2013 2:35PM
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If Apple makes a phone I can also use as a 'laptop' while on the go, and made it big enough SO I CAN TOUCH ICONS ONE-AT-A-TIME and actually SEE SOMETHING in detail, I would finally be tempted to own a piece of new technology. Smaller and smaller is not necessarily better, unless it becomes small enough to implant in your arm and project holographs that are large enough to discern easily.  I have not bothered to keep up with 'the Latest' because I don't want to carry a magnifying glass along with my communication device. Apple could corral a whole new demographic with Senior Citizens. Also, a clip would be nice to keep it from falling out of your pocket or to the bottom of your purse...

Sep 8, 2013 1:13PM
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It serves Apple right to lose market share.  They milk the market with incremental upgrade releases instead of delivering whatever they can to consumers. Instead of consumers getting value, Apple boasts incredible profit margins.

Apple holds back from consumers they could have been putting phone capabilities in their tablets all this time, it's not like they don't have the space to fit the phone components into something bigger. 

I'm glad Samsung is dominating now because they're delivering phones packing more features and value, like micro-sd slots and bigger screens.

I hope Apple learns from losing market share because of their greed and start making great products filled with freedom and features.
Sep 9, 2013 8:01AM
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Hope not, stupid product. They need to channel Steve and stay out of that market.
Sep 7, 2013 11:07AM
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Apple has gone from the most innovative company on the planet to another "me too" company.  It still builds high quality intuitive products, but it no longer seems capable of creating game changing products, like it did with the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. Apple is behaving more like Microsoft every day. Who knows, maybe the'll complete the transition by replacing Cook with Balmer next year.
Sep 8, 2013 9:53PM
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Won't it be wonderful when someone makes a cell phone, that really isn't a cell phone? All you people who want a huge phone will be so happy when you can carry a lap top sized phone around. Meanwhile, a cell phone should maintain a certain size limit, otherwise, it won't be M-O-B-I-L-E anymore. GET IT?

I hope to God Apple doesn't make the screen any bigger than what is on the 5. I have a 4, and am perfectly happy. Everyone who needs a bigger screen should focus on the real problem, and get glasses.
Sep 8, 2013 4:11PM
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Apple basically makes gadgets. Game changers? Is it good that now everyone is glued to their pads instead actually interacting with other people. All of these manufacturers use rare earth - very toxic and destroying the natural world to do it. One giant leap for mankind to be sure. Each year, the next new gadget.

 

And don't come to me with the latest trade offers - billions of soon to be discarded plastic and toxic chemicals.

Sep 8, 2013 4:07PM
Sep 8, 2013 1:56PM
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No matter the size of the screen, ultimately you can't grow food on an iphone. You can't develop cancer medicine on an iPod. You can't build an airplane engine on a website. There will never be an app that can physically ship food or medicine to their destinations. It's all games, yacking, crappy sounding compressed music, and taking "selfies." You see, these devices really don't contribute anything meaningful to the necessities of daily life.
Sep 6, 2013 9:39PM
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"As part iPhone and part iPad, what would it be called? An iPhad?"

Perhaps, more appropriately .. an iFad.

 

Reviews on devices with larger than a 5" screen have not been overly favourable for any manufacturer. What makes Apple think that a 6" screen / phone device will succeed? At this size, it is not easily pocketable and just like carrying around an LTE Nexus7 tablet or an iPad Mini. No thanks 0 however great the screen may be, I'd rather NOT look like a dork.

Sep 8, 2013 7:05PM
Sep 8, 2013 4:27PM
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 Any chance people might get a life and toss these moron toys away? 43 years ago the first e-mail was sent time to move on morons.
Sep 6, 2013 6:45PM
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Give it up, Apple's been toasted by Samsung!
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