Since rumors erupted that Apple is preparing to unveil two variants of the forthcoming iPhone 6 – a 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models – questions began to linger around the impetus for such a move by the tech giant. And yes, it might be that the upcoming release of two iPhones at the same time could be Apple’s largest launch of a smartphone product ever.
There have been various speculations as to why Apple is introducing two iPhones with different screen sizes. But none of these rumors nailed it. Until recently, when Apple disclosed in an earnings conference call for the last quarter that the iPad is losing market footprint, that is to say, it is performing poorly on sales.
In the second quarter of its fiscal year 2014, Apple said its iPad shipment declined from 16.4 million in the previous quarter to only a little more than 13 million. On the other hand, the iPhone and Mac families have seen significant hikes in sales, 13 percent and 18 percent year on year, respectively. Furthermore, iPhone is seeing continued rise in revenue flow for Apple. In fact, according to Tim Cook who spoke to investors, the iPhone 5C – the low-end version of the iPhone 5S – has outsold its Android competitors such as the Samsung Galaxy S4.
Apple now wants to leverage previous success with market fragmentation of the iPhone by carrying on that strategy. Which just makes sense after all. According to unconfirmed reports, Apple has ordered up to 80 million units from its unidentified supplier. Indeed a great number to behold. During the second quarter of 2014 also, the iPad tablet sales suffered from a drop of 9 percent year on year. This is what most analysts see as the driving force behind the larger screen sizes of the upcoming new iPhone products.
In mounting such large-screen smartphones, which border on the category of tablets in what has been known as the phablet category, Apple hopes to edge out all Android flagships, including the Samsung Galaxy families and HTC One line of products, to mention only a few.
But that does not mean in any way that the 4-inch models are going to see the sun setting on them. If Apple wants to differentiate the smartphone product line, then it makes sense to offer them in varying degrees of screen sizes. The more options, the better for the business strategy.
It has already tested the waters when it differentiated the iPhone 5 line. Now Apple could be confident another market differentiation with the iPhone 6 will also work the same way.