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Will Apple Offer a 'Phablet' iPhone?

Will Apple Offer a 'Phablet' iPhone?
By Jennifer LeClaire

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Analyst Zeus Kerravala said he is sure Apple looks into many different opportunities. "What Apple actually builds has very little relationship to what is rumored that they are looking into," he said. "There's no question that Apple does due diligence on all form factors and products but that doesn't mean we are actually getting it."
 


Even with a myriad of new products and upgrades, the rumor mill around Apple doesn't seem to ever stop churning out new story lines. According to a Reuters report, Cupertino is exploring opportunities for larger iPhones with bigger screens.

Reuters also cited "four people with knowledge of the matter" as saying Apple is also exploring cheaper models in a range of colors. If the rumors are true, Apple would be taking a page from a company that it has claimed takes pages from it: Samsung.

"Apple is looking at introducing at least two bigger iPhones next year -- one with a 4.7-inch screen and one with a 5.7-inch screen -- said the sources, including those in the supply chain in Asia," Reuters reports. "They said suppliers have been approached with plans for the larger screens, but noted it is still unclear whether Apple will actually launch its flagship product in the larger sizes."

The 'Phablet' Market

It's unclear whether Apple will actually enter what many call the "Phablet" market -- part phone, part tablet. The iPhone 5 was the first model to veer toward a larger screen size. The iPhone 5 was also the thinnest, lightest model ever, with its 4-inch retina display.

The results were strong out of the gate: Pre-orders topped 2 million in just 24 hours. That pace more than doubled Apple's old record of 1 million pre-orders in 24 hours. The iPhone 4S held that honor.

Samsung, meanwhile, has seen strong success with smartphones of all sizes. But its recent move brought to market a smaller device in the Samsung Galaxy S 4 Mini. Could Apple be going bigger at a time when Samsung is going smaller?

Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research, told us he is sure Apple looks into many different opportunities. That, he said, doesn't mean a product is in the works.

"What Apple actually builds has very little relationship to what is rumored that they are looking into," he said. "There's no question that Apple does due diligence on all form factors and products but that doesn't mean we are actually getting it."

Smart Connected Devices

Samsung is leading the pack, but Apple is pulling closer to Samsung on the mobile device front, which includes tablets, as worldwide shipments of smart connected devices grew 29.1 percent year over year in 2012, crossing 1 billion units that shipped with a value of $576.9 billion. So says IDC's Smart Connected Device Tracker.

But the battle is hardly over and there's plenty to gain -- and to lose. By the end of year 2017, IDC predicts that the tablet and smartphone markets will have a huge growth potential in the emerging markets. Looking forward, IDC predicts the worldwide smart connected device space will continue to surge, with shipments surpassing 2.2 billion units and revenues reaching $814.3 billion in 2017.
 

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