Is Apple going big with the iPhone while others go small?

Is Apple going big with the iPhone while others go small?

Summary: Rumors always fly around before Apple announces their new iPhone line. Latest indications state that Apple may launch an iPhone with a 4.7-inch or 5.7-inch display, but I am not convinced that's their strategy.

SHARE:
Is Apple going big with the iPhone while others go small?
(Image: Apple)

After a photo and more details of the HTC One Mini appeared last night, I posted some thoughts on these new small Androids and speculated that we might be seeing a trend to people using a smaller phone and a compact tablet. A short time later, Reuters posted that Apple could be considering 4.7-inch and 5.7-inch displays for the next iPhone.

Before an actual iPhone announcement, there will be a ton of speculation, and it is not unexpected that Apple is looking at all sorts of different sizes and designs. The iPhone 5 has a 4-inch display and I personally find the size nearly perfect for one-handed use while still being large enough for apps to be very usable.

I do like large phones and would probably purchase a larger iPhone, but there is still something to be said for having a device small enough to use with one hand and fit into the pocket of any person. I am not convinced that Apple will jump from 4 inches all the way up to 4.7 or 5.7 inches.

Apple already has a solution for those looking to spend more time browsing the Internet and enjoying video content on a larger display in the iPad Mini. If Apple decides to launch a large display iPhone, I think they need to still offer a 4-inch model.

I personally would like to see improvements in the camera (better low-light performance), longer battery life, NFC, and continued metal construction. Actually, it is tough for me to come up with too many improvements in the iPhone, but I would love to hear what else people think can be done to improve Apple's smartphone.

Topics: Mobility, Apple, iPhone, Smartphones

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

35 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • "Is Apple going big with the iPhone while others go small?"

    Most likely. How else can Apple COPY others' designs? They need a good road map first.
    It'sNotMe
    • yes, because we know the iPhone didn't set the pace for everyone else in

      2007. The iPhone must have just copied Martin Cooper's brick phone or something.
      Mac_PC_FenceSitter
      • That

        is a long way in the past.
        Still banging the same drum?
        Suppose it's one of the few you have left now.........
        Boothy_p
  • I really don't have problems

    Using a 4.7 inch phone with one hand. Silly story.

    I don't know if there is a trend toward smaller phones, since smaller phones have always been available. Just companies providing different specs to give their customers choices, as opposed to one particular company that only offers a one size fits all approach.
    marque2
  • the size of the screen shouldn't dictate how usable the phone is.

    That is determined by the UI. Saying big phones are hard to use is like saying "the manufacturer slapped a small phone UI on a big device and left it up to me to work out the problems that causes".
    mrefuman
    • Partly disagree

      Tried multiple screen sizes before settling on S3. Small screen sony (forget the model) - useless for the majority of things. Reason being, you have to have it so much closer for, be more precise on selections and basically forget about viewing media unless you strap it to your head so it's an inch from your eye.
      I fully admit I chose it because it was small, it looked good and thought it would fit my pocket better. As it turns out, the S3 goes in the pocket better (thinner) and for me, the sony was unusable. All the phones I tried were running the same OS version. Maybe I could trim my fingers a little, thin them down a bit but the whole viewing thing just made it a phone for phonecalls and texts, not media or anything screen based basically.
      Little Old Man
      • or maybe

        Just try phone with a different OS? That might not require being bigger to be usable.
        And, as a bonus you won't have to trim your fingers.
        danbi
        • itards just don't get it

          they will understand it when Apple gets it.
          warboat
        • What don't you get danbi

          In fact you do get it danbi your just being deliberately stupid.

          I can't believe anyone would say a different OS will overcome the shortcomings of a 2" screen.
          Little Old Man
          • it's the Apple thumb rule

            any screen bigger than an iphone is a waste because your eyes can only see as far as your thumb can reach.
            warboat
          • @warboat

            To me iPhone itself is a waste :-)
            spicycheeks
          • @Little Old Man

            It's true that no OS can cover the shortcomings of a 2" screen now. But a OS can cover the shortcomings if the difference in screen size is just less than an inch.
            spicycheeks
      • @Little Old Man

        S3 is a great phone to have. I agree. But I might say there are many other alternatives, that might have smaller screen than S3 but will work better.

        Say, try an iPhone 5. Screen is smaller. But it is lot more responsive than Android(or at least S3), better readability(even though it is just 4 inch).

        Or take my route. Get a Lumia. Easy navigation with tiles(you can even have tiles bigger than icons so you can even keep the phone even far away than S3), clear text display so fonts are lots more visible, better sun light readability, super sensitive touch(which my Lumia doesn't have).

        Or get a tablet with sim slot and always carry a Bluetooth headset with you. Nexus 7 is a great choice, if you are worried about price.

        Just because a small size Sony phone is not good doesn't mean than any small size phone is not good. Just my thoughts.
        spicycheeks
  • iPhone size is fine

    I have an iPad and i have an iPhone 5. I think the size is fine and anything bigger stops becoming a phone and starts becoming a tablet. I don't want to carry around a huge clunker in my pocket all day.
    StevenEJr
    • How do you know

      that anything bigger than the iphone is clunky when in daily use? Without intending offence, I reserve that for others on here, it is reminiscent of the typical itard argument - my phone is perfect, anything bigger is just clunky. See that was the argument pre-4" as well.
      To avoid an argument, all I'll say is just because an S3 looks bigger than your iphone, until you work with one every day, you can't appreciate just how unobtrusive it is. I don't wear skinny jeans, have modest pockets and yet don't need to remove my S3 when driving, sitting, walking etc.
      Little Old Man
    • don't want huge phone in pocket

      but cart around ipad mini everywhere
      yeh...ok
      warboat
  • Convergence

    Depending upon the cell carriers, I think it is more likely that we will see an iPad Mini offering cell connections, creating two formats for those who want to communicate. As many people now use head sets and many others use VOIP/Skype etc. already with their tablets, a line-up of a traditional iPhone handset, 10" tablets and a mid-size unit such as the mini which can offer both would expand the product offering nicely.
    sthayes
    • Apple made money out of convergence

      but now they want to avoid too much convergence
      no phone pads until they get desperate
      5.7inch iphone? I'll bet against it.
      warboat
  • I think 4.3" to 4.7" screens are the ideal...

    I ditched my 3.5" iPhone 4 for a 4.3" Windows Phone last year. At 4.3", even the iPhone 5 looks small. I would actually like a little bigger, but getting up to 5.7" might be too much for a phone. But there is a market for these larger phones and Apple should make different size phones. Phone size was one of the reasons I decided not to get another iPhone, among many others.
    toph36
  • Only a little larger

    Personally, I don't want a huge phone. That said, they could go slightly larger without becoming cumbersome.

    I do agree that they need to address low light performance of their camera. In fact, any camera improvements would be welcome, considering more photos are supposedly taken with an iPhone than any other camera.

    I personally don't see the appeal of NFC. It creates a vulnerable vector of attack for cell phone hackers. The security sacrifice isn't worth the benefits, in my book. If they include it, they had better let us disable it when we don't want it active.
    BillDem