First came the iPad minis. Now, Apple might give its newest iPhones a bigger screen, slowly bringing their phones and tablets into perfect harmony. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the next phones, rumored for release later this year, would give iPhone users the options of screens larger than 4.5 inches and 5 inches, compared to the current 4-inch screen on the iPhone 5. In other words, Apple might finally offer something akin to the dreaded "phablet."
This makes perfect sense, as any expert on Rick Moranis's iconic "Honey I ____ the Kids" trilogy would know. First, you shrink something down — in Apple's case, the iPad — then you blow something up big. And although a phablet pretty much goes against everything Steve Jobs ever did or believed in, there is a significant market demand for them. Apple arch enemy Samsung does well with its 5-plus inch phones, and Apple likely doesn't want to get shut out of that market completely. As the Journal points out, the large screen phones are extremely popular in Apple's newest market: China.
"Phablet" may still sound like a terrible, made-up word, but the actual product seems to be catching on. Worldwide, about 20 million phablets shipped in 2013, and a recent report estimated that phablet shipments would hit 120 million by 2018. The Juniper study defined a phablet as any phone with a screen larger than 5.6 inches, meaning that the new rumored iPhone wouldn't technically qualify as a phablet, by their definition.
Rumors of an Apple phablet have been circling for months, as the company reportedly looked into offering a phone with a screen as big as 6 inches. Of course, the Journal's report cautions that the company hasn't made a final decision on the next iPhone release, meaning that they could delay its entrance into the phablet market for a little bit longer. A few completely unconfirmed images of what that new phone might look like have also circulated for months. Here's one example:
The Journal's report also notes two other developments in Apple's plans: the new iPhone won't follow its competitors and come with a curved screen. And, it looks like Apple will get rid of its experiment with plastic casings as seen in the iPhone C, and use a metal one for its next release.