Here’s Why Apple Should Release an iPhone Phablet
Several analysts and other industry watchers are predicting that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) will finally unveil a large-screen iPhone, or “phablet,” in 2014. Although the global market for oversized smartphones isn’t especially large, the devices are very popular in Asian markets.
According to Juniper Research cited by TheDroidGuy, approximately 20 million mobile devices with screens over 5.6 inches were sold worldwide last year. Market research firm Canalys estimated that smartphones with screen sizes five inches or larger accounted for 22 percent of worldwide smartphone sales in the third quarter of 2013. However, the relatively low percentage of worldwide phablet sales contrasts with the percentage of large-screen devices sold in several Asian markets.
For example, app analytics firm Flurry found that a whopping 41 percent of mobile devices sold in South Korea were smartphones with screens between five inches and 6.9 inches. Similarly, Forrester Research analyst Bryan Wang told Bloomberg that around 40 percent of the Android-based smartphones sold in China have screen sizes of five inches or more.
China Mobile (NYSE:CHL), the world’s largest carrier at over 763 million subscribers, recently began officially offering the iPhone on its network. Analysts have estimated that Apple’s distribution deal with China Mobile could add as many as 24 million additional iPhone sales in 2014. However, Apple’s potential sales could be even greater if the company released a large-screen iPhone this year. According to data from Canalys, Apple was the fifth-largest smartphone vendor in China, with a 6 percent market share in the third quarter of 2013. On the other hand, Samsung (SSNLF.PK) held a 21 percent share, thanks in large part to the popularity of its Galaxy Note phablets.