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Why the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 May Face Uphill Battle to Successful Release



The rumored iPhone 6 with a 5.5-inch display will reportedly be very thin, but issues are getting in the way of a timely iPhone 6 release. In Addition new reports suggest Apple could see consumer buying habits shift away from the iPad mini and changing carrier prices could throw a wrench in rumored plans to increase the iPhone 6 price.

Apple typically releases a new iPhone every year, and a new design for the iPhone every two years. In 2014 rumors point to two new iPhone 6 models. Rumors suggest both of these iPhone 6 models will feature new larger screens and a higher resolution. The resolution varies but many rumors agree on a 4.7-inch and a 5.5-inch model.

With a bump in size to two models Apple will be able to compete in screen size areas that the company previously left untouched. An iPhone 6 with a 4.7-inch display would go head-to-head with the Samsung Galaxy S5, LG G3 and HTC One M8 this year. A 5.5-inch iPhone 6 would allow Apple to better compete with the larger Galaxy Note 3 and upcoming Galaxy Note 4 devices. The Galaxy Note series feature 5.7-inch screens or larger and include a small stylus to interact with the display.

A 5.5-inch iPhone 6 release faces challenges that could force a delay between a 4.7-inch and a 5.5-inch model.

A 5.5-inch iPhone 6 release faces challenges that could force a delay between a 4.7-inch and a 5.5-inch model.

Recently reports started to roll in that suggest Apple is experiencing manufacturing issues with the larger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 which may bump the release back from the rumored iPhone 6 release date of September, for a 4.7-inch model. This week a new rumor surfaced suggesting Apple will not be able to ship the larger iPhone 6 at the same time as the 4.7-inch model, suggesting the delay might stretch until 2015.

The Commercial Times of Taiwan shared by GForGames recently reported that the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 could see a delay due to Apple’s demands for a thinner battery which will allow the company to make a much thinner iPhone 6. The rumor suggests Apple wants an iPhone 6 battery that measures 2mm thick or less, a significant drop from the 3mm thick batteries found in most smartphones.

This report suggests suppliers are not able to meet yield demands from Apple at this time, due to challenges in manufacturing the thinner battery. The Commercial Times suggests the iPhone 6 release date for this large model is delayed until 2015.

Because of a larger screen and overall size of the iPhone 6 with a 5.5-inch display Apple could make the battery wider and taller, and still offer good battery life. A report from Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst with a good track record on Apple rumors, suggested a 50-70% increase in watt-hours over the iPhone 5s in this larger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 model.

Numerous reports suggest Apple will not be ready to release two iPhone 6 models on the same date, but this is the first report to suggest a delay into 2015. The report also suggests that this delay is only until suppliers can meet Apple’s demands for a thinner battery, which could still line up for a 2014 release date.

This is not a timeline from Apple, but from supply chain sources. Similar reports suggest a 5.5-inch iPhone 6 release date in late 2014. Reuters points to a delay due to screen technology, EMSOne suggests a small window between a 4.7-inch and a 5.5-inch iPhone 6 and Steve Milunovich of UBS believes the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 release may see a small pushback as well.

Even though the reason for the delay switches from display panels to batteries, there is a lot of chatter about a window between two iPhone 6 release dates in 2014. If Apple is able to get the window down to weeks it would be possible to announce the two phones at the same event.

If the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 release date does arrive in 2014 it could push some consumers to skip the iPad mini, due to similar screen sizes. Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray believes this is possible, but in a note published on CNet, he suggests the buyers will simply look at the larger iPad Air, instead of settling for one device. As Apple expands offerings and device sizes there is likely to be a shift in buying habits as consumers find and buy a smartphone or tablet that best fits their needs and lifestyle.

On additional factor that will play into whether consumers use a 5.5-inch iPhone 6 as a single device or pair it up with an iPad Air is the price. Peter Misek, an analyst with Jeffries, believes Apple is negotiating a price increase with carriers that could push the price of a new iPhone up $100 this year.

If Apple plans to charge more for the iPhone 6 it could be in for another challenge as The Wall Street Journal warns sticker shock may soon set in for iPhone buyers drawn to the monthly payment plans for new smartphones that T-Mobile kicked off and Verizon, AT&T and Sprint followed up on with similar options. While T-Mobile no longer offers contracts, the other carriers still sell a subsidized iPhone for $199 on a contract.

The iPhone 6 release date for at least one of these devices is rumored for fall, and it looks like this device will feature a new Apple A8 processor, faster RAM and a possibly optical image stabilization for the camera. Along with a larger display we expect to see a new design accompany the larger device.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Jamie

    04/22/2014 at 3:06 pm

    I will wait for the 5.5 it looks great. Apple makes a great Iphone. I have always bought a I phone from iPhone 3 to date. I love my iPhone 5s GREAT phone. Can’t wait for the iPhone 5.5 inch

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