The iPhone 6 screen size will likely grow in 2014 as Apple pushes to compete with growing smartphone sizes in the U.S. and looks to offer an iPhone with a larger screen in China.
This week the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c launched on China Mobile, bringing orders in the multi-millions and spawning lines around buildings at China Mobile stores, including one where Tim Cook was on hand to sign autographs.
The iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c both feature a 4-inch Retina display with an 1136 x 640 resolution, while competing smartphones range from 4.7-inches to 5.9-inches with 1280 x 720 and 1920 x 1080 resolution displays.
A 4-inch iPhone remains popular in the U.S. and appears to be an early hit on China Mobile, but as Apple goes Global and consumers across the world experience the benefits of larger screens there is more pressure for an iPhone 6 with a bigger screen.
When asked about an iPhone 6 with a larger screen at the China Mobile iPhone launch event Cook, issued the company line of not discussing future products, but teased Bloomberg, saying, “We have great things we are working on but we want to keep them secret. That way you will be so much happier when you see it.”
Even though Cook is not going to tell the world that Apple is working on an iPhone 6 with a bigger display, the move into China is good news for U.S. consumers who want to see an iPhone 6 with a 4.7-inch to 5-inch display. Here’s why.
Chinese Consumers Prefer Larger Phones
According to Bloomberg, Apple’s marketshare fell in China as consumers shifted to cheaper phones, but large screen phones are also a factor to consider.
China Mobile could sell 10 million iPhones this year reports Bloomberg, citing analysts Tucker Grinnan of HSBC Holdings Plc and James Yan of IDC, but that is a drop in the bucket compared to the 190 million to 220 million phones China Mobile plans to sell this year according to the China Post.
HTC is aiming to sell over 20 million units in China this year with the help of four to six new smartphone models which could include a HTC m8 (HTC One 2) with a 5-inch display and the likely tag along of a HTC One Max 2. The HTC One Max already earned a spot on the best seller list in China as supplies ran short due to high demand, though the source did not reveal specific sales numbers.
According to China Internet Watch, Chinese consumer interest in large screen smartphones is on the rise with the majority of consumers preferring a smartphone screen 4.6-inches or larger.
When it comes down to the iPhone 6 screen size, there are many rumors and leaks which point to a larger display. From one of the first leaks which talked about an iPhone 6 prototype with a 4.8-inch display in December 2012 to a Wall Street Journal claim that Apple was experimenting with screens from 4.8-inches to 6-inches in size, the rumor mill is focused on a larger screen. Rumors don’t equal facts, but with an entry to China there is more pressure to deliver an iPhone 6 with a bigger display.
For consumers in the U.S. this is also good news. The iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c that Apple is selling in China are essentially the same phones sold in the U.S. which means if Apple announces an iPhone 6 with a bigger screen, it should come to the U.S. as well.