Could the world use an Apple iPhablet?

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| Published: June 13, 2013

The recent announcement of iOS 7 during the keynote of WWDC 2013 certainly hasn’t slowed down speculation in the rumor mill as talks of cheap, colorful, and larger iPhones continue. With iOS 7 being the first major change to come to iOS since its release in 2007, could speculation really be that far off base? Is iOS 7 the first step to Apple branching out its options?

According to a report at Reuters, Apple is laying a lot of options on the table for possible iPhones in the future: a cheaper model, more color options, and a larger screen size to potentially compete with phablets on the market. Fellow PhoneDog Contributing Editor Evan Selleck talked about his support for iPhones that would come in multiple colors. In previous articles I’ve touched based on my thoughts about cheaper iPhones. Today I want to talk about the possibilities that a potential “iPhablet” could hold.

Why do people like the so-called ‘phablet’? A phablet is an appropriately named smartphone because it’s a phone that’s cutting very close in size to our small tablets. Although there’s no official definition on what a phablet is, if you trust Wikipedia as a valid source it’s described as a “smartphone class featuring screen sizes from 5.0 to 6.9 inches”. We’ve seen an increase in demand for phones of larger sizes since Samsung shook the world with its Galaxy Note device, which may not have been the first phablet to be introduced to the industry, but it has certainly become one of the most iconic. Samsung continues to push the envelope they themselves have created by making even larger devices than the original Galaxy Note (5.3-inches), such as the Galaxy Note II (5.5-inches) and more recently the Samsung Galaxy Mega (6.3-inches). If you want to get technical, the largest ‘phone’ Samsung has actually comes in the form of an 8-inch tablet – the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 (International).

Other notable manufacturers are also in direct competition with these devices by creating their own phablets, such as the Sony Xperia Z, the rumored HTC T6, LG Optimus G Pro, and more.

But not everybody has seemed interested in participating in this phablet “fad”. One particular company, despite the popularity the Note has sparked throughout the industry, has decided not to participate in the race to see who can create the biggest, baddest phone: Apple. At least, they’ve decided not to participate so far.

But what if the rumors are true about Apple wanting to create a larger phone? Phablets are nothing new anymore, so why would Apple suddenly be interested in creating a phablet, if at all?

Perhaps because phablets aren’t as much of a “fad” anymore. Many people claimed that phablets are simply a fad. I myself have questioned how the sometimes ridiculously gigantic devices have gained so much popularity and attention; however, the more I compare the benefits between using my 3.5-inch iPhone to a larger device, the more I realize that having such a large screen isn’t always necessarily a bad thing. Many functions of a smartphone nowadays can greatly benefit from having larger screens. That being said, smaller smartphones aren’t completely useless either.

And that’s where Apple could benefit from releasing a phablet of their own. The iPhone has notoriously been sized at 3.5-inches for years until the most recent generation of the iPhone, the iPhone 5, emerged with a 4-inch screen – which is still an inch smaller than it “needs” to be in order to fit the Wikipedia definition of a phablet. Apple seemed to be testing the waters with the iPhone 5 to see how crowds reacted to the larger size. For those of us who like smaller phones, the .5-inch increase wasn’t a bad move – but those who prefer larger devices probably thought the slight increase was a laughable offense.

So what do you do when you have two types of consumers to cater to when it comes to smartphones?

The easiest solution is to make two types of smartphones.

Apple seems to be more open about branching out lately, and I feel that if they were to ever release a larger sized smartphone the time to do so would be soon. With a brand new revamped version of iOS rolling out in the fall, it’s the perfect time to revamp how we see the hardware aspect of the iPhone as well. Make two different sizes, and add different colors. It’s time to give the overall look and feel of the iPhone a breath of fresh air – maybe two breaths, if you’re interested in extending your consumer base to those who now prefer larger smartphones.

Simply put, creating two different sizes of iPhones on the market may be the only true way to cater to the demands of the consumers. Trying to find that perfect “sweet spot” between phablet and smaller smartphones is a nearly impossible feat. I feel like Apple creating a larger iPhone would be perfectly acceptable given the popularity phablets have generated. As long as they don’t pull a Samsung and release every size and possible gimmick there is to offer in a device, I feel like they’re on safe grounds to branch out a little bit and offer more sizes and colors. I would welcome the change, anyway.

Readers, what are your thoughts on a potential iPhablet? Would you be interested in such a device? Share your thoughts with me in the comments below!

Image via Orange County Register