By Adam Doud | August 21, 2013 7:00 AM
Apple is set to announce it’s new device(s) early next month. Cheap iPhone, iPhone Phablet, iPhone 5C, 5 S, 5 ASAP, etc. Speculation, rumors, and leaks all point to colorful and/or cheap new iPhones. This is good news if you’re looking to adopt into iOS, but haven’t pulled the trigger just yet, for whatever reason. Except for one thing.
Apple has been doing cheap iPhones for years.
I’m not going to beat this point to death any more than it’s already been beaten by pretty much every person who has ever put hands to keyboard to write about mobile technology. Apple’s yearly product model has always included price reductions for previous generations of hardware to service those who want in, but don’t want to pay full price. The hardware and OS has always been good enough to make yesterday’s phones kick the pants off of today’s mid and low end phones.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
The only way Apple will be able effectively reduce the price of their hardware is to reduce the specifications and responsiveness of their hardware. I’m not so sure that’s a price the Apple is willing to pay. Or at least in the past with Steve at the helm. Nowadays it’s open to speculation. I just hope Apple puts that on the back burner, and forgets to put the stove on simmer, and ends up burning the pot and the idea while cooking the potatoes.
Instead Apple should focus on an aspect of mobile technology that has proven time and time again to be an extremely in-demand feature – screen size. Or more to the point, big screen size. A bigger iPhone, even one approaching phablet size should be brought to market, because it would be huge, in more ways than one.
Taller is not bigger
Apple already did increase their screen size once, vertically. But the horizontal measurement remained the same. Essentially, they added an extra row of icons to the home screen. This was pretty much universally praised as a needed feature on the platform. But while Apple has grown up, other OEMs have grown up and out. So much so, that even Nokia and Windows Phone are looking at becoming phabulous themselves.
Apple has seen a lot of declining share of late. Or it should be said they have not kept up with the growing worldwide market. And a lot of that market is going to Android who offers, among other things, bigger screens. The iPhone 5′s screen, though it is larger than it’s older brothers, is laughably small next to even a Samsung GSIII, or even a Lumia 920. Apple can show all the commercials it wants about thumb pointing but the fact remains, people want more biggerness, and Apple is leaving those dollars on the table.
Realistically, Apple doesn’t even have to approach the Note II’s size. So maybe “Apple phablet” is a bit of a misnomer. I’m not even positive the GS4 falls into “phablet” territory – it depends on who you talk to. So Apple doesn’t even necessarily have to go to a 6” or bigger screen.
Horizontal screen space is another important aspect in terms of screen size. When phones started going bigger years ago, they took Apple’s approach. They went up only. But you can only go up so far before things start getting ridiculous and you’re fighting yourself to keep a useable aspect ratio. Horizontal width needs to follow if height is to be added. That is if you want to maintain the 16:9 ratio that is quickly becoming standard.
Otherwise you’re going to end up with an extremely tall iPhone, the top corners of which you can n o longer reach with your thumbs, but which will display videos with side black bars – eliminating the point of the extra screen space in the first place. Unless of course another extra line of icons is buring a hole in your cell phone, in which case you’d be in for a treat.
Bigger is better. Cheaper has been done
Bottom line, the cheap iPhone angle has been covered by yesterday’s hardware. If you don’t want to drop $199 or more on iPhone newness, then the iPhone 5 and 4S both are very viable options even by today’s standards. But there is no device out there that runs iOS and offers even close to the real estate that the iPhone’s biggest (See what I did there?) competitor offers. That’s a hole that needs to be filled. If it’s not to be filled in this product cycle, then it might already be too late, since the next big thing will arrive on it’s heels, and it will giggle like school girls at your tiny, tiny unit.
Oh yeah. I just said that.
Leader image source: concept-phones.com