Apple joins the craze for big phones

From Steve Jobs’ “perfect size” of 3.5 inches, new models will now measure 5.7 inches

The iPhone 4 (3.5 inches), the Samsung Note (5.5) and the Huawei Mate (6.1).
The iPhone 4 (3.5 inches), the Samsung Note (5.5) and the Huawei Mate (6.1).J. M.

Apple’s historical renewal began on June 10, but it will continue in the fall with the launch of new phones, tablets and accessories, and again in the first quarter of 2014. The new operating system iOS 7, announced on Monday at a developers’ conference in San Francisco, is the brain that will power a wide range of iPads and iPhones, including a 5.7-inch model, several sources including Reuters and Bloomberg have reported. (One inch equals 2.54 centimeters.)

According to these reports, Apple is considering new iPhones with larger screens, as well as cheaper models that will come in five different colors. The Cupertino company thus appears to be embracing model diversity in a bid to respond to Samsung, which covers the entire high-to-low-end consumer spectrum.

Sources at Apple’s Asian suppliers said that their client is studying the possibility of producing two new models, one with a 4.7-inch screen and another measuring 5.7 inches. Its iPhone 5, released in September, comes in at 4 inches. That particular phone broke with a six-year tradition of 3.5-inch screen iPhones – “the perfect size for consumers,” in the words of Steve Jobs, when he first introduced the device in 2007.

Sources at Apple’s Asian suppliers said that their client is studying the possibility of producing two new models

Despite that increase from 3.5 to 4 inches, the iPhone 5 remains one of the smallest best-selling phones in the market. The HTC One, for instance, already boasts 4.7 inches; the Galaxy S4, 5 inches; the Nokia Lumia 920 features 4.5 inches; and Huawei’s Ascend P2 and D2 have 4.7 and 5 inches, respectively. And that’s without even taking into account the so-called phablets (phone and tablet hybrids) such as Samsung’s Note, which has a 5.5-inch screen (and a 6.3-inch one in the pipeline) or Huawei’s Ascend Mate, with 6.1 inches.It’s certain that Apple will be announcing new phone models in September-October, although likely none of them will be this big. The really pressing issue right now is filling the gap in emerging markets, such as India and China, with cheap smartphones. These iPhones would have a plastic case (as Samsung models do), which, ironically, has been a traditional criticism lobbed by Apple at its competitors. According to Reuters, that inexpensive phone would come in colors other than black and white, and it would cost 99 dollars.

After six years, the iPhone is the only Apple product that does not come in a range of models; not even the iPad shares this feature, since it was released three years after the iPhone and has had a mini version out since October. Meanwhile the iPod, which represented the first big boom in Apple’s rebirth, has diversified into small models (Nano), models with a touch screen (Touch), and comes in a series of colors and with a variety of memory capacity.

Following tradition, Apple is keeping its plans under wraps, but Reuters reports that Sharp and LG will supply the screens for the aluminum iPhone 5S and the plastic iPhone, while Hon Hai Precision Industry and Pegatron will be in charge of assembling the devices.

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