LOS ANGELES — So just how big is a 6.5-inch smartphone?
That’s the size analyst Daniel Ives of GBH Insights believes Apple will go on a new iPhone in the fall. That would be Apple’s biggest model ever, the size of a “phablet,” which is close to tablet size.
At 6.5 inches, it would be near, but not as large, as the iPad Mini. Apple’s entry-level tablet has a 7.9-inch screen. But it would be significantly larger than any prior iPhone, including the iPhone X, which has a 5.8-inch display.
Bloomberg also reported that Apple plans to go extra large with at least one of its upcoming iPhones. According to the report, the 6.5-inch phone will utilize an OLED display similar to last year’s iPhone X. Apple also plans to bring out two other phones, including a lower-priced option, and may bring back the gold color, said the report.
Apple did not respond to a request for comment.
Apple traditionally announces new phones in September, and analysts speculate year-round on what exactly Apple will do at its launch event in the fall.
The Cupertino, Calif. company tried to go big in 2017 with the iPhone X, a re-designed phone with a higher resolution OLED screen and that 5.8-inch screen, which was technically a little larger than the 5.5-inch iPhone 8 Plus. But when Apple removed the bezels for an edge-to-edge display, the iPhone X seemed actually smaller than the 8 Plus, and for Chinese consumers, that was a negative, says Ives.
“The iPhone X has been a modest success,” Ives says. “The biggest area of disappointment has been China.”
Those consumers want a larger screen, he says and with 60-70 million Chinese consumers looking to upgrade in the next 12 months, Apple is pivoting for that area of the world, where larger screens sell well to premium buyers.
However, analyst Tim Bajarin of Creative Strategies isn’t so sure Apple will embark on this road.
“Phablets traditionally have not sold well. They don’t fit in pockets and you can’t use them with one hand. A larger iPhone is not an assured success,” he said.
Beyond the super-size iPhone, Ives, who says he based his comments on intelligence from Asian suppliers, expects two other models to accompany the super-size edition, ones with a 5.8-inch screen and a 6.1-inch screen.
Here’s how a top of the line new iPhone would compare to other large phones out today:
—Lenovo Phab2 Pro is currently the largest of the major manufacturers, with a 6.4-inch screen.
—Samsung’s Note 8 “Phablet” phone is 6.3 inches. The new S9+ is 6.2 inches.
—At 6 inches, the Google Pixel XL 2, LG V30 and the Chinese brand OnePlus 5T.
—Samsung Galaxy S9+, which was just announced in Barcelona at the Mobile World Congress trade show, and will be in stores later this month, is 5.9 inches. The Galaxy S9’s display is 5.8 inches, the same size as the iPhone X.