Apple iPhone 6 Plus Arrives Late to the Screen Size Competition

NEWS ANALYSIS: Apple clearly did not understand the level of pent-up demand for larger iPhones, but is that part of a larger problem that Apple is chasing the market instead of leading it?

iPhone 6 Plus2

Apple is finding out that its soon-to-be-shipped iPhone 6 Plus is in even higher demand than the company thought it might be. The new phone, which is being offered at a higher price than the standard iPhone 6, has still sold out well in advance.

Reports are coming in from all over the United States about month-long delays in promised delivery times for the 6 Plus. Meanwhile, the regular iPhone 6 can still be ordered for delivery on the first day of availability.

The reasons for this lack of availability seem to be complex. Apparently, the company had supply problems in the larger size, which meant that fewer were made in advance of the Sept. 19 release date. In addition, it's possible that the company simply didn't realize how many people wanted the larger, phablet-sized iPhone.

And make no mistake, the iPhone 6 Plus is a phablet. Its screen is only slightly smaller than the Galaxy Note 4 that Samsung is set to ship soon. The Note 4 is marketed as a phablet, just as the earlier iterations of the Note were.

For whatever reason, the iPhone 6 Plus is being marketed simply as a phone. But what's really more important is that Apple has finally caved and offered a screen size that its customers wanted.

It's worth noting that Apple is years behind Samsung in offering larger screen sizes, something that may explain the company's lagging sales numbers, compared with Android devices, many of which have larger screens. So why does Apple seem to be so far behind the curve?

Part of the answer, of course, is that Apple only really launches one phone a year most years. Last year, it was the iPhone 5S, which was physically little different from the previous iPhone 5. It's hard to keep up with the light-speed changes in the phone industry when it takes a company a year to make a substantive change.

Apple's arch-rival Samsung, on the other hand, seems to have an inexhaustible supply of new phone types and launches them to fill any conceivable, and some inconceivable product niches.

But it could also be due to Apple's established culture of doing only what the company believes it needs to do, regardless of what customers may indicate what they want. The concept of limiting customer input into the design of Apple products was part of the legacy of Steve Jobs, who fostered the idea that Apple knew best.

In reality, of course, customers know best about what they want and need, and it seems that Tim Cook recognized this and is taking steps to pay closer attention to what customers demand.

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash is a freelance writer and editor with a 35 year history covering technology. He’s a frequent speaker on business, technology issues and enterprise computing. He covers Washington and...