A newly published report from Canalys relays that the market for smartphones with screens 5 inches or above increased by a staggering 369% during the first quarter of 2014. Of the 279.4 million smartphones shipped during the quarter, 94.86 million units (about 34% of all shipments) were composed of larger screened smartphones.
'This is still a market segment led by Samsung, but the trend is unmistakably toward larger-screen handsets at the high end of the market. It held a 44% share of devices with displays of 5" and above, and 53% if the view is narrowed to look at 5.5"-plus displays,' said Canalys Analyst Jessica Kwee.
Consumers now expect high-end devices to have large displays, and Apple's absence in this market will clearly not last long. It is notable that 5" and above displays featured on almost half (47%) of smart phones with an unlocked retail price of US$500 or more. Of the remaining 53% of high-end smart phones, 87% were iPhones. Apple plainly needs a larger-screen smart phone to remain competitive, and it will look to address this in the coming months.'
While Apple initially remained beholden to the 3.5-inch display it introduced with the original iPhone, the company shook things up with the release of the larger screened iPhone 5. Looking ahead, there are a bevy of reports, leaks, and rumors suggesting that Apple's next-gen smartphone will feature an even larger screen. Specifically, 4.7 and 5.5-inch form factors are the two models most often mentioned.
While speculation surrounding Apple's future product plans is just that -- speculation -- Apple's recent California trial with Samsung unearthed internal Apple documents indicating that the company was and remains well aware of the booming popularity of larger screened smartphones.