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Whopper: Apple testing out iPhone screens as big as 6 inches, report says

Although Apple is expected to unveil two new handsets next week – the iPhone 5S and cheaper iPhone 5C – its research and development boffins never rest, and have long been working and experimenting with plenty of designs for possible future handsets and other iDevices.

Indeed, news emerged Thursday that the tech giant is looking into the possibility launching an iPhone Jumbo. OK, that’s just our made-up name for it, but considering the Wall Street Journal’s report claims Apple is “evaluating a plan” to offer a smartphone sporting a display of up to 6 inches, iPhone Jumbo sounds about right. Apple’s current handset has a 4-inch display and the two phones launching next week are expected to keep to this size.

Of course, Thursday’s report is just the latest in a series of many over the last couple of years suggesting the company is trying out bigger screens, though this is the first to mention such a whopper.


If the Journal’s unnamed source turns out to be right, Apple’s interest in launching a so-called ‘phablet’ somewhere down the road will have no doubt been influenced in part by the success of Samsung’s Galaxy Note, a device whose screen has expanded in size with every iteration since it first launched in 2011. The latest Note, shown off for the first time at IFA in Berlin earlier this week, has a finger-stretching 5.7-inch display.

While Apple has up to now stuck with a single handset, Samsung has done extraordinarily well out of launching a wide range of phones – some would say too many – with all sorts of screen sizes, specs and prices for consumers to choose from.

It’s unlikely Apple would ever offer such a vast range of devices, although the expected launch of the budget 5C hints that it is at least interested in offering new kinds of handsets in a bid to open up new channels of revenue in an increasingly competitive mobile market.

People “familiar with the company’s internal deliberations and plans” told the Journal the tech giant is particularly interested in offering a phone with a 4.8-inch display, a size it has apparently been testing out this year. It’s not clear if the Cupertino company will ultimately offer the iPhone to consumers in a variety of sizes – from 4.2 inches up to around 6 – or simply bring to market a single model with a larger screen.

Many popular handsets on the market today come with larger displays, suggesting an iPhone with a 4.8-screen would prove a hit with consumers. And with recent IDC research showing phablets – devices generally considered as having screens larger than 5 inches and smaller than 7 – as the most popular kind of handset for consumers in the Asia-Pacific region, it’s feasible Apple could in the near future replace the current 4-inch model with a 4.8-inch version and add a phablet to its range similar in size to the Note.

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