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Apple predictions: The iPhone in 2014

Martyn Casserly | Dec. 18, 2013
2013 was the year of the iPhone 5c and 5s. Will 2014 bring the iPhone 6?

It's by no means certain that the size will increase, though, as this quote from Apple CEO Tim Cook at a recent investors call illustrates.

"Some customers value large screen size," said Cook, "others value other factors such as resolution, colour quality, white balance, brightness, reflectivity, screen longevity, power consumption, portability, compatibility with apps and many things. Our competitors had made some significant trade-offs in many of these areas in order to ship a larger display. We would not ship a larger display iPhone while these trade-offs exist."

This doesn't mean that a bigger iPhone won't happen, but it does suggest that it will wait until Apple have solved the challenges outlined by Cook. Another issue to consider is that changing the size of the screen would be problematic for developers. The more differing screen layouts you have in an eco-system, the more iterations of apps developers have to build. This variety of operating systems and display sizes has been a problem Android has faced, and would be an uncomfortable fit for the exacting nature of Apple. Difficulties aside, we think it's inevitable that Apple will need to release a larger handset, exactly how large is another matter.

A larger iPhone?
One interesting theory we've seen is that Apple will continue to make the iPhone in its current size, but also introduce a larger unit that will be more in line with phablets such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and HTC One Max. It's something of an outlier, but we can't help feeling that a lot of people would find the productivity possibilities worth the extra encumberance. It could also follow the iPad's lead and be called the iPhone Air.

Curved glass screens are also beginning to appear, and this is an area that traditionally Apple have had interest in, albeit in the construction of its stores and headquarters rather than products. At the moment the curved displays that we've seen have felt more like gimmicks than serious products, but if that could transition into flexible screens then the use case would be far more obvious.

Tougher, more scratch-resistant displays, would be an immediate benefit to smartphone users, and a recent investment by Apple could see this become a reality. Techcrunch reported that the company has invested $578 million in the building of a factory that will produce sapphire crystals. Apple already uses the material on its fingerprint sensor and camera cover, but could this investment signal that it will soon be fitting the iPhone with a ultra-tough surface? Production is at an early stage now, but this is definitely an area to watch in the coming months.

 

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