Should Apple Make an iPhablet? Here’s Why (and Why Not)

There are rumors flying around that Apple will be releasing a cheaper version of the iPhone later this year, but that’s not all.  According to Digitimes, which in the past proved to be quite unreliable, the said cheaper iPhone would also be a phablet.

If you don’t know what a phablet is, it is a device that’s a cross between a smartphone and a tablet, with a screen size between five to seven inches.

If you notice the trend, phone manufacturers are making smartphones bigger and bigger, but Apple has yet to jump on the bandwagon.  Sure, the iPhone 5 is bigger than the rest of the iPhones, but it’s still too small to be considered a phablet.  Analysts have already deemed 2013 as “The Year of the Phablet,”  the year when people finally realize that an almost 5-inch screen phone is not that big a deal.  And while Apple has the iPad mini in its line-up, the world’s wondering if Apple will make a smartphone even bigger than the iPhone 5.

So, should a phablet be in Apple’s future?

Yes! Yes! Yes!


Here are three reasons why a phablet might be good for Apple:

1.  It is the trend.  

Everyone’s making it, why shouldn’t they?  And because Apple’s known to make a product and spin things around to make it seem like it was Apple’s idea all along, I’m sure the iPhone maker can figure out a way to make a phablet unique to its brand.

2.  Samsung’s Galaxy Note and Note II were a huge success.  

Samsung is Apple’s biggest competitor at the moment, and if making a phablet would take a bite out of Samsung’s success, then Apple should consider a phablet all its own.  Do everything to get ahead, right?

3.  There’s a new man in charge.  

Apple’s new CEO Tim Cook has been living in Steve Jobs’ shadow for quite a while.  Every decision he makes is questioned as if the world is trying to say, “Would Jobs even do that?”  Producing a phablet may be his way to step out of the shadows and prove that he can take matters into his own hands, and be successful at that.

Oh, Hell No!


Now, here are three reasons why Apple shouldn’t make a phablet:

1.  Apple is known as a trendsetter, not a follower.  

For so long, Apple stuck with a device that had a 3.5-inch screen, even as the world moved on to 4-inches or bigger, yet Apple still managed to sell millions of iPhones.  And even if the design of the iPhone pretty much stays the same with every new version, people are still anxious to buy the popular handsets.

2.  Too much variation could disrupt Apple’s ecosystem.   

The screen size of the iPhone has stayed pretty much the same all these years for good reason–it makes things significantly easier for developers to create apps.  Of course, apps have become the differentiating factor for smartphones, with Apple providing the most expansive ecosystem for developers and mobile service providers.  While Android is plagued by a fragmented market of staggered OS updates and varied device screen sizes, Apple simplifies the developer and user experience with a unified OS and UI.

3.  Apple dictates what people should want.

Apple’s known to go against the grain, often setting the standard for consumer electronics.  Instead of jumping on the phablet bandwagon, Apple should focus on launching another revolutionary device, which we haven’t seen since the introduction of the iPhone and subsequent iPad.  Apple’s losing its lead in the mobile space as Samsung and others catch up in terms of device specs and cloud services.  Perhaps its time to see something completely fresh from Apple.

Here with more analysis on the potential problems with an Apple phablet is contributing editor John Casaretto, who notes that Apple could risk pushing the limits of what’s ergonomically reasonable for smartphone design, given the relatively stagnant size of human hands in relation to the ever-growing size of smartphone screens these days.  See his full segment from this morning’s NewsDesk show with Kristin Feledy below.