2Tim Cook Doesn’t Like Phablets
So why won’t Apple invest in a phablet? Blame it on CEO Tim Cook. During a conference call with investors last year, Cook said that he was pleased with the design of the iPhone 5S, saying that its 4-inch display was more comfortable in a pocket or a person’s hand. He also took aim at competing phablets, saying that they were too big for the average user. If Tim Cook is against it, what makes anyone think Apple’s policy will change?
3Phone Screens Are Already Too Big
There’s an arms race going on right now among Android vendors looking to deliver bigger and bigger screens to customers. Companies are now pushing into the 6-inch space for smartphone screens, thinking that people want to hold what is essentially a tablet against their ears to talk on the phone. Although 5-inch screens have proven popular to some degree, according to several analyst studies, it’s not immediately apparent that buyers would take to smartphones with 6-inch displays. The sweet spot is still in the 4- to-5-inch range that Apple is already in.
4Apple Doesn’t Want to Support Too Many Product Lines
When Steve Jobs came back to Apple in the late 1990s, he immediately cut down on the company’s product lines, leaving Apple to focus solely on computers. Jobs understood that while it’s tempting in the tech industry to be a provider of anything and everything, the best move is to keep it simple and elegant. Apple has done so by offering smartphones that are stark contrasts to tablets. To bring a phablet into the fold could see unnecessary cannibalization of its iPad Mini or smaller iPhones.
5More Patent Trouble?
If we’ve learned anything in the last several years, it’s that device makers will file patent-infringement suits against each other at the drop of a hat. Apple is already fighting its share of patent suits. If Apple gets into the phablet space, its design, patent lawyers for Samsung and other makers would no doubt scrutinize its screen size, technology and who knows what else. This is another reason Apple might pass on phablets.
6There’s Something About One-Handed Convenience
When Tim Cook made his argument for the smaller iPhone screen, he said that customers liked being able to hold their smartphones in a single hand and get around the screen. He’s right. As someone who has used both phablets and the iPhone 5, I can say that when dialing phone numbers, clicking on a browser, or simply playing with apps, having the ability to hold the handset in one hand is preferable to being forced to use two. Again, simplicity matters.
7What About the iPad Mini?
The iPad Mini could find itself in a difficult position if Apple were to launch a phablet with a screen in excess of 5 or 6 inches. Apple’s iPad Mini comes with a 7.9-inch display, putting it in the sweet spot between smartphones and large-screen tablets. But if a phablet comes along, wouldn’t some iPad Mini customers just as soon pick a device that bridges the gap between small tablets and smartphones? Granted, a phablet wouldn’t have the same screen size as the iPad Mini, but if a larger iPhone featured the same software, the same apps and a big screen, all while allowing users to place calls, there is a good chance it will take away some sales from the iPad Mini.
8The iPad Could Use an Upsized Screen
The most important thing Apple can do now if it’s decided to increase screen sizes is focus on the iPad. Competitors like Samsung, Microsoft and others have devices with screen sizes in excess of 10, 11 and, even in some cases, 12 inches. Apple’s iPad has stubbornly stuck to the 9.7-inch display. Perhaps it’s time for Apple to focus on an iPad with a bigger screen, rather than an iPhone with an oversize display.
9Wearable Tech Is More Important
Apple might have more cash than it needs, but that doesn’t mean that it should invest in products at breakneck speed. Apple must be smart and see where the future is. Although there might appear to be a financial upside in the marketplace to going with phablets, wearable tech is far bigger. In fact, the wearable tech market is expected to hit $19 billion by 2018. If Apple actually introduces an iWatch and its sales take off, there’s a chance Apple could win a generous share of the wearable market, which is the one Apple should focus on, not phablets.
10App Developers Might Turn Their Noses Up at It
Developers might have a real issue with Apple launching a phablet. The trouble for developers is that they need to get their apps to squeeze into different screen sizes. The migration to the iPad took some time for some companies, as did the support for the 4-inch iPhone 5. If Apple brings yet another screen size into the mix, developers will need to catch up. That means few apps might be available for the device at launch.
11Is There a Compelling Reason?
When you come right down to it, there simply isn’t a compelling reason for Apple to invest in phablets. The company’s smartphone and tablet sales are higher than ever, it’s reportedly working to branch out into other product categories like wearable tech, and it continues to be the gold standard in mobile product design. Why should Apple follow the design lead of firms that are trying to catch up with Apple in its core markets?