Apple extended its iPhone screen sizes from 3.5 inches to 4 inches in 2012, but its 2014 gadget lineup could see a much more drastic jump. The iPhone maker is likely to join the phablet fad by launching smartphones in 4.7-inch and 5.7-inch variants, according to research from NPD DisplaySearch.
Based on supply chain data obtained from Asia, the firm predicts that the iPhone 6 could feature a 4.7-inch display with a 1280 x 720 resolution or a 5.7-inch screen with a 1920 x 1080 resolution. The bump to 4.7 inches would be a sizable upgrade from the current iPhone 5s’ 4-inch 1136 x 640 resolution display, but on paper it would still fall behind the Galaxy S4 (5 inches, 1920 x 1080) and the HTC One (4.7 inches, 1920 x 1080).
As for the phablets, Apple’s display size and resolution would line up directly with that of the Galaxy Note 3 (5.7 inches, 1920 x 1080) and LG Optimus G Pro (5.5 inches, 1920 x 1080).
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard that Apple could have a phablet in its pipeline. Back in June Reuters reported that Apple was testing 4.7 and 5.7 inch displays, although the report didn’t mention when or if these would come to market.
NPD Display Search’s David Hsieh notes that such a move could be crucial for Apple to keep up with the competition.
“Over the past several years, Apple has been an early adapter of display technology as well as a critical part of the supply chain,” he wrote. “However, rapid developments in technology and manufacturing of LCD and OLED displays have challenged Apple’s leadership in display adoption.”
Additionally, a survey conducted by Gazelle in August said that a larger screen would be the top motivator for consumers to upgrade to a new iPhone. But even still, Apple reigns supreme when it comes to the U.S. smartphone market. The latest data from comScore shows that Apple commanded 40.7 percent of the North American market as of August 2013, while Samsung placed second with 24.3 percent of the market.
NPD DisplaySearch’s findings also provide further insight as to what Apple might have in store for its 2014 product roadmap. New additions to the iPad family could include a 9.7-inch variant and 7.9 inch iPad Mini successor, both with 2048 x 1536 resolution displays. The rumored 12.9-inch iPad also made an appearance in NPD DisplaySearch’s chart, which will supposedly boast a 2732 x 2040 resolution display. A 1.3-inch or 1.63-inch iWatch with a resolution of 320 x 320 and a Retina Display MacBook Air are also reportedly on tap for next year.
Apple is expected to hold an event on Oct. 22 that will focus on its rumored iPad 5 and iPad Mini 2, so we’re hoping to hear more by the end of the month.