Why You Shouldn't Expect the 5.5-Inch iPhone 6 This Year

Why You Shouldn't Expect the 5.5-Inch iPhone 6 This Year
You Can Blame It Partially on the 4.7-Inch Model
There Is Trouble With the Metal
Expect It to Be Uneven Around the Edges
That Scratch-Resistant Panel Isn't So Scratch-Resistant Yet
The Problems Add Up to Slow Production of the 4.7-Inch Model
There's a Demand Problem Apple Needs to Address
The 5.5-Inch Phablet Might Arrive in Limited Quantities
The iWatch Might Also Be Playing a Role
Are There Complications for App Developers?
Apple Expects Perfection
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Why You Shouldn't Expect the 5.5-Inch iPhone 6 This Year

By Don Reisinger

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You Can Blame It Partially on the 4.7-Inch Model

According to Kuo, some of the trouble Apple's having with the 5.5-inch model is due to the 4.7-inch version it's also producing. Kuo reports that suppliers have encountered snags in the assembly of the 4.7-inch version, which has put production behind schedule and prompted Apple to place production of the 5.5-inch version on hold.

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There Is Trouble With the Metal

Kuo also claims that sources within Apple's supply chain informed him that the next iPhone will come with a metal chassis. However, the redesigned chassis is coming out uneven in some areas when it comes off the production line, Kuo wrote in his report, and it's believed that that unevenness could be an even greater problem with the larger model, according to Kuo.

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Expect It to Be Uneven Around the Edges

Apple is using in-cell touch technology for its display, according to Kuo. While that is supposed to deliver better overall visual quality, the leaks from Apple's supply chain indicate that the displays are showing uneven colors around the edges. These imperfections would only be magnified in the 5.5-inch version. That needs to be worked out first, as Apple doesn't want to deliver a product that's defective.

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That Scratch-Resistant Panel Isn't So Scratch-Resistant Yet

Over the last couple of weeks, some videos have popped up on the Web showing a larger sapphire-based iPhone display that's extremely scratch-resistant. However, according to Kuo's contacts in Apple's supply chain, when the phone gets dropped, the display gets damaged. Since the 4.7-inch model is at the top of Apple's production priority list, the company is working on fixing the problem for that screen size before moving forward with the larger option.

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The Problems Add Up to Slow Production of the 4.7-Inch Model

So far, iPhone production isn't going as quickly as Apple had anticipated, according to Kuo. Apple's inspectors have been spending an inordinate amount of time trying to fix the aforementioned issues, and the company is seeing little progress. It's unlikely that Apple could meet the demand for a 5.5-inch model anytime this year because of that.

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There's a Demand Problem Apple Needs to Address

Speaking of demand, Apple is concerned that it can't address supply needs for the 4.7-inch version of the iPhone 6. As the company continues to produce more units, it's finding that the issues are slowing down its yield. Apple reportedly wants to satisfy expected high demand for the 4.7-inch model before worrying about the 5.5-inch version. That means the 4.7-inch version could be in short supply until later this year.

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The 5.5-Inch Phablet Might Arrive in Limited Quantities

According to Kuo, a "conservative" estimate puts the Apple phablet at a 2015 launch. If Apple were able to handle all of its current production woes as quickly as humanly possible though, there's a slight possibility the 5.5-inch model could be available at the very end of 2014. There's just one issue: If that happens, it'll be available in extremely limited quantities.

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The iWatch Might Also Be Playing a Role

As if all of these problems weren't enough, Kuo reports that there is also trouble with iWatch production. Apple has every intention to get the iWatch out to stores this year and wants all of those production problems fixed as soon as possible. Until that happens, all other production across the Apple supply chain could be held up.

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Are There Complications for App Developers?

There has always been some concern that Apple launching two new screen sizes while keeping its older 4-inch models in production would cause some issues for developers. Apple has been very careful with its screen choices to this point to ensure an easy transition for developers, and on the smartphone side, everything has been consistent. By going with multiple screen sizes, however, Apple would place some additional pressure on developers that they're not accustomed to in the iOS ecosystem. And that could prove initially troublesome for Apple before the company gets more people to buy its next-generation products.

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Apple Expects Perfection

All of the data shared by Kuo indicates something very important and telling: Product perfection still matters greatly at Apple. While it might have been possible for Apple to get around some of the issues in the iPhone by sidestepping the problems, the truth is that it's cheaper and—from a PR perspective—smarter to fix the issues before they reach the market and disappoint customers.

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