Apple didn't announce a new iPhone at its Worldwide Developer Conference this week, but the company may be making plans for larger devices with bigger touchscreens.
Reuters reported Thursday that Apple is exploring the launch of larger iPhone models with 4.7-inch and 5.7-inch displays. The report, citing sources with knowledge of Apple's plans, claimed Apple could have the larger smartphones or "phablets" introduced sometime next year, though sources said it's unclear if Apple will actually launch the proposed designs.
While other smartphone manufacturers like Samsung, Huawei and Asus have recently released larger smartphone models or phablets (devices between 5 and 7 inches), Apple's iPhone dimensions haven't changed much since its introduction in 2007. The iPhone 5 saw a significant increase in the device's touchscreen display, upping it from 3.5 inches to 4 inches, but Apple has yet to release a larger spin-off of its popular smartphone.
However, Apple is entirely opposed to new form factors; Apple released the 7.9-inch iPad Mini last November in response to the grower market for smaller tablets.
Meanwhile, Samsung -- which has emerged as Apple's toughest rival in the mobile device market -- has released a number of different form factors for its mobile devices, such as the Samsung Galaxy Note and Samsung Galaxy Mega. The pressure from Samsung and other Android devices makers has led to speculation that Apple will alter its iPhone strategy.
The Reuters report follows months of rumors regarding a discount iPhone model. Numerous outlets have reported that Apple is planning to launch a cheaper iPhone later this year that will cost significantly less than the standard iPhone 5 price.
If Apple does release a larger iPhone or phablet model, it may not have as big an impact in the commercial market as the consumer market. Brian Griesler, president of Kadimac in Exton, Pa., said in the commercial market, mobile software matters more than the hardware form factor. In the case of making larger iPhones or phablets, Griesler said it depends on the software.
"It comes down to the software developers and what they can do on the devices," he said. "If the developers want to make software for new devices, then Apple will make them."
PUBLISHED JUNE 13, 2013