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Tim Cook On Larger-Screen iPhones: Don’t Expect Them Any Time Soon

Posted in Apple, iPhone, News on 24/04/2013 by J. Glenn Künzler

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Among the many topics address by Tim Cook during yesterday’s quarterly results conference call, Cook took a moment to discuss rumors that Apple may be working on a larger version of the iPhone. In a world where 5 inch, and even 6-inch smartphones, dubbed “phablets,” are becoming more common, Cook was quick to squash rumors that Apple would head in that direction, noting that there are still to many quality trade-offs in such displays.

Image via designer Peter Zigich

Image via designer Peter Zigich

From Cook’s comments:

My view continues to be that iPhone 5 has the best display in the industry. We always strive to create the very best display. Some customers value large screen size. Others value other factors such as resolution, color quality, white balance, reflectivity, power consumption, compatibility of apps, portability. Our competitors have made some significant tradeoffs in many of these areas to ship a larger display. We would not ship a larger display iPhone while these tradeoffs exist.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that we’ll never see an iPhone with a larger screen. Apple has never been quick to jump on the latest bandwagon – and the trend toward larger smartphones is no exception. When and if Apple sees the opportunity to product a larger iPhone without compromising quality, battery life, design, or the user experience, they’ll likely do so – but as for when that might happen, one guess is as good as any other.

Apple has made similarly negative comments towards 7-inch tablets, and the inclusion of 4G LTE in mobile devices – but as technology progressed, and those features became more feasible and more demanded, Apple eventually delivered on both of those.

As Tim Cook notes, deciding what direction to take the iPhone in is all about what trade-offs each possibility would require – and that’s been one of Apple’s core ideas for as long as I can recount. Personally, I agree with Tim Cook on this wholeheartedly. It’s better to do something right than to be the fastest to jump on the bandwagon.



  • csislive

    I think you are wrong on this. Larger screens on phones with the screen tradeoff are more than acceptable given in buying the apple environment. I would happily trade off pixel density for phone size to keep apple. Heck – I did it with the ipad mini.

    • http://twitter.com/UlrichDesign Travis Ulrich

      Agreed. I love my iPad Mini, even if it doesn’t have Retina Display.

  • http://twitter.com/UlrichDesign Travis Ulrich

    Make an iPhone the size of the Galaxy Note and call it the ‘Newton’.

  • Mark

    This is exactly why I switched from my iPhone to the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. I’ve loved Apple for as long as I can remember, but they’ve got it wrong this time.

  • http://twitter.com/EODeezy Brian James

    I was never a fan of the larger phones until I owned one.! iPhone 4 is so small now. If Apple made an 4.7 – 5 inch iPhone, I would happily come back. Until then, I love my Samsung Galaxy S3 and soon the S4.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Sirvick Victor Augustus Franceschi

    The size of the iPhone 5 display is the perfect example that Apple went the right way. It has a great amplitude without sacrificing comfort. As always pointed by not only Apple but many more specialists on the market, by only increasing the height and not the width they’ve kept it perfect for one-hand usage.

    Try to use your S3 or S4 with just one hand and not touching the sides of the display, if you say you can, you either have ogre-sized hands or you’re blatantly lying.

    • Austin Miller

      Victor, the fact that Samsung’s (and several other companies’) larger screen phones are doing so well is clearly an indication that a lot of people are just fine with those trade-offs. Larger screens bring new possibilities in terms of UI. I hated the large phones, and then I decided to purchase a Lumia 920, and I love the size of it. It’s 4.5-inch display is gorgeous, both in size and pixel density. I can also usually use it with one hand, no problem. Though the ability to constantly use it with one hand is miniscule to me; I’d go to a larger screen if i could. I’d be fine using both hands on occasion, but Windows tops out at 4.5. Also, this isn’t biase against iOS. I still love iOS as well, i regularly use my iPad Mini. But I think iOS functions better as a tablet (or maybe a larger screen phone) interface. It feels cramped on that tiny iPhone screen.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Sirvick Victor Augustus Franceschi

    Oh And holding a ridiculously big phone while talking and putting a gigantic tray on my jeans pocket doesn’t seem any appealing at all. This is what Apple consumers value, Fashion in design, you don’t look ridiculous using an iPhone 5. Now a galaxy note…. well, I’ll leave that one to you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Sirvick Victor Augustus Franceschi

    Galaxy note = late 80’s cellphones size…

  • http://twitter.com/RoninM MRonin ⚜

    Thank the baby jeebus Apple isn’t giving in to this phablet BS. I know people with these ungainly devices and between using it as a phone without a headset looking utterly ridiculous, they all have issues which I’ve never encountered on my iPhone. I long ago decided I wouldn’t even be considering something like them in the highly unlikely event I switched to Android. So no thanks, I think I’ll continue to think for myself and not be one of the sheeple and pass on these gigantic screen size “phones”. If I want something to substitute as a small tablet there is an iPad mini, if I want an actual tablet I have my iPad 2.

J. Glenn Künzler

Author

J. Glenn Künzler

Glenn is Managing Editor at MacTrast, and has been using a Mac since he bought his first MacBook Pro in 2006. Now he's up to his neck in Apple, and owns an old iBook, a 2012 iMac with an extra Thunderbolt display for good measure, a 4th-generation iPad, an iPad mini, 2 iPhones, and a Mac Mini that lives at the neighbor's house. He lives in a small town in Utah, enjoys bacon more than you can possibly imagine, and is severely addicted to pie.