Apple to Release Larger iPhone, Discontinue iPhone 5c

There are lots of rumors hitting the airwaves about Apple’s new iPhone plans…

iphone-6-concept-render

I watched the Ashton Kutcher “Jobs” movie last night, and while I won’t go into a review of that film here, even with its disappointments, it DID do one thing pretty well – it gave many an insight on what Steve Jobs may have been like at the office…what kind of person he may have been to work with…sorta. The movie, unfortunately, left you wanting a great more than it was willing to deliver.

HOWEVER, if there’s one thing that I do know – did know – even before watching that movie, it’s to understand that regardless of what it did or didn’t show us about Steve Jobs as a person, the iPhone 5c would never have seen the light of day if he was still here.  It’s a shadow of what the iPhone 5s is, and it just wouldn’t have made the cut.

green-iphone5cAccording to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Apple is planning on discontinuing the iPhone 5c this year, due in no small part to its dismal sales and demand for the device.  That, and save its colored, plastic backing and lack of Touch Sensor (and a couple other key, internal components) the device is nearly identical to the iPhone 5s. I say good riddance.  From a technical perspective, the device was about 1/2 of the iPhone 5s. Technically, buying an iPhone 5 would have been a better deal. From a product perspective, in my opinion, the device did nothing but cannibalize sales of the iPhone 5s. The 5c may have had a subsidized price of about $100 bucks, but older iPhones – the iPhone 4, the iPhone 4s – I think would have been a better consumer choice if you were looking for an entry into the iOS ecosystem but didn’t have a large budget. Either way, the device is rumored to be discontinued with the release of the iPhone 6…

The iPhone 6 is currently rumored to be announced as early as June of this year.  The big feature for it is thinner and wider. Current rumors include an iPhone 6 (and for lack of a better name) iPhone 6c with a 5+ inch screen and 4.5 inch screen, respectively.  Both devices are rumored to also contain 802.11ac Wi-Fi.

As far as the implementation or desire of these features in the actual device, I know that Apple is going to be very picky about screen size. They have a firm belief that a smartphone should be easily operated with one hand, so the screen can’t be too wide.  I happen to agree.  While most people use two hands to operate their phones, being able to do that with one hand is an important distinction.  The device likely won’t get too much wider than it currently is.  However, the screen could get a little wider, and it wouldn’t hurt too much. Any more than say, another 1/4 to 1/2 inch wider, though and you’re going to risk a sprained thumb…

As with all Apple rumors, this is pure speculation; and while fun to ponder, these rumors are really nothing more than fodder to make your garden grow. Predicting what Apple will actually release is an art, and one that many, if not most to all, don’t excel in, including investor analysts.  Sometimes, they can be the worst of the prognosticating lot, as they have to deliver for the investors they try to prognosticate for. Dollah-dollah bills, y’all…

As far as what else the device may contain, or what else it may do, I have no idea. Apple released the original innovation for the device between 2001 and 2007 (iPod to iPod Touch to iPhone).  Everything that’s happened to the device since then has been evolutionary instead of revolutionary.  Where they can or will go with the device going forward probably won’t come with such a giant step from device model to device model.

Even after almost 2 years with an iPhone 5, there’s nothing really WRONG with my iDevice. I have no real reason to upgrade it other than AT&T says I can, and I may want <this new, incremental feature> or <that new, incremental feature>.  If you want the big, “I gotta have <this new feature>” experience from an upgrade, then you may want to wait more than 2 years.  Based on what’s going on with the iPhone, it may be that I wait until the iPhone 6s (or whatever THAT’S called) before I think about upgrading.

Now that Q1 2014 is firmly out of the gate, you can expect to see more iDevice rumors as well as iOS 7.x or iOS 8 rumors beginning to churn prior to the annual iDevice event everyone is expecting later this year.  What future versions of iOS will do, along with the implementation of any new hardware components, remains to be seen.  So far, iOS 7 is working pretty well. Aside from the security based, lock screen bugs that have come up with the last 2 major releases of iOS, I don’t hear many people clamoring for the implementation of this, that or the other feature.  I also haven’t heard anything definitive coming out of the iOS development community on what Apple will or should implement in future releases of iOS 7.x, let alone, iOS 8.

Now, depending on what Apple decides to do with the iWatch – if and when it releases that piece of highly anticipated wearable technology – I can see a number of different hardware and software based tweaks that might or will be implemented with both the iPhone as well as the iPad.  If it could do most of what the Pebble Steel will do, most of what the Galaxy Gear does,  as well as incorporating what the Fitbit Force, and Nike Fuel Band SE and others do NATIVELY, that device could work with a new, updated and REVOLUTIONARY iPhone very well; and that’s something that I’d like to see and would likely buy as soon as it was released.

What about you?  Do you want a wide(er) screened iPhone?  Are you glad to see the iPhone 5c be set out to pasture?  Are you interested in the iWatch or any other wearable tech?  Why don’t you join us in the discussion area below and tell us what you think.

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  • georgeou

    “but older iPhones – the iPhone 4, the iPhone 4s – I think would have been a better consumer choice if you were looking for an entry into the iOS ecosystem but didn’t have a large budget.”

    Are you kidding me? The iPhone 5c is vastly superior to the 4s much less the 4.

    • Christopher Spera

      Sorry… should have been clearer. From a manufacturing stand point, sticking with the iPhone 4/4S would have been better for Apple. They wouldn’t have to create a whole new product, retool manufacturing lines, engineer new components, etc.

      I am also NOT impressed with the 5c in any way. I don’t like the plastic casing. The colors don’t do much for me. I don’t like that its effectively a lesser version of the 5S. Maybe I’m drinking too much of the Apple Kool Aid, but its not a model I would ever buy, regardless of price.

  • georgeou

    One of the reasons the original iPhone was so successful was because it had a bigger screen. That dynamic never changed but Apple froze in time claiming 3.5″ was the perfect display size and then 4″ was the perfect display size. Now 5+ inches is the perfect display size for smartphones and Apple invented it all along.

    If they go bigger, they’ll be exactly the same size as other premium Android phones. People will have to get used to two-hand operation, but they’ll get more comfortable typing and much larger display sizes. That’s something over 80% of the market wants and it’s amazing that Apple has held off so long. They’ve essentially ceded the majority market segment to its Android competitors.

    • Christopher Spera

      one handed operation is a big deal for Apple. I think they will go with a bigger screen, but they will only go as big as they dare without totally making one handed operation totally out of the question. I’m not sure if that’s 4.5″, or 5″ or larger. I hate having to use two hands to use my phone, but it is becoming more natural to do that, isn’t it?

    • georgeou

      Well Apple proponents have claimed that anything over 3.5″ and now anything over 4″ is too big for one-hand operation. That is true to a certain extent and there is no way of getting around it. But it’s clearly worth the trade-off to 80% of the population.

      There are lots of people who swear they will never buy a larger phone. But as soon as they use the larger phone (a lot of reviewers who normally use iPhones but need to review Android alternatives), they can’t go back to the smaller screen.

    • Christopher Spera

      I can see where that may be the case. Its happened to me, in the exact scenario you have painted. I left the Apple ecosystem for that exact reason (and others) and went with Android. However, Apple is banking on the experience and the ecosystem to save them and either increase or (more likely in this case) to maintain share.

      I will be interested how this plays out. Will it be thinner? Will it be wider? Will it be edge to edge? If not, how big will the bezel be? One handed operation or two?

      As we have said before, truly predicting what Apple will do, isn’t easy. We’ll have to wait and see…

    • georgeou

      That’s precisely my point. Most people value one handed operation, but not as much as they value a bigger screen. It’s just like how people value having a physical keyboard, but not as much as a bigger screen.

      Bezels in smartphones are already extremely small in high end Android phones. Apple has had a very large top and bottom bezel though it’s gotten better since the iPhone 5. Bezels on the side are already as small as they can be so any increase in screen size necessitates an increase in case width.

  • larrymcj

    Nice article, Chris…and I agree with you. I’ve had “one-each” of every iPhone ever produced except the 5c, which I didn’t need because I have the 5s. However, at the Apple Store I’ve held it in my hands and wondered “who would ever buy this…except some 18-year-old girl who wanted it to match her earrings”.

    Apple can probably go a “little bit larger” with an “additional” version of the iPhone, but if they ever drop the current size from their line…I think they’ll lose customers. I’m one of those who wants the latest and greatest, but I also want my phone to slide into my pants pocket and be readily available. I do not want to clip my phone onto my belt, which I’d have to do with something the size of the average Samsung…or an iPhone that was “too large”.

    I’m sure there has been a sufficient hue and cry for a larger iPhone or Apple wouldn’t even consider making one. I just think they’ll keep the current size as well.

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