A news report out this morning points to smartphones trending toward larger displays and quad-core applications in 2013. Both Consumer Electronics Show ES and World Mobile Congress trade shows are going to be demonstrating smartphones with displays that are 5 inch and larger. Specifically, Samsung's upcoming Galaxy Grand will be 5" or larger and their Galaxy Note III will sport a 6.3" display later this year. The question today is, will Apple follow or pass on this year's trend towards larger displays?
During Apple's September 2012 special iPhone-5 event, senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller downplayed Samsung's recent debut of smartphones with larger displays. Schiller stated: "What is the design center for a Phone? It's this: it's your hand. A phone should feel great in your hand and more importantly it should be easy to use with a magical device we all carry called the horizontally opposed thumb. It does most of the hard work for us. So when you carry your phone it should feel beautiful in your hand."
Schiller continued by stating that "it should be easy to send messages, type emails, surf the web – and it's just how we designed iPhone 5. And all of the software that comes on the iPhone 5 was updated to take advantage of the [taller] display."
Schiller's big keynote line came early on when he took a swipe at the larger Samsung display by stating that it's "really easy to make a new product that's bigger. Everyone does that. The challenge is to make it better and smaller."
Yet Apple's philosophy as expressed by Phil Schiller put's Apple at odds with industry trends for 2013. It's just a fact that other companies like Samsung are unable to create specialized software or unique apps like Apple can for the iPhone and so they're only means of advancing their smartphones is through the hardware side of the equation. Samsung owns their own display plant and they take advantage of that.
Now that smartphones with larger displays will be the industry's hottest trend, how will Apple respond to that going forward? Schiller put Apple in a box with his keynote emphasis on keeping the iPhone to a limited size for hand comfort. Will future iPhone displays be stuck in the 4 to 4.5" range? Will Apple create some kind of a spinoff iPhone design to compete with the Galaxy Note line-up so as to justify the introduction of a larger retina display? I know that I'd like a larger display and I doubt that I'm alone on that point.
Yes, the industry trends for smartphones in 2013 will include quad core processors and larger displays. Although that's a little limiting, will Apple follow this trend or will they rely on new technology again? Will they introduce a hybrid e-paper/video display or a hybrid display focused on saving energy? Will they finally introduce their iWallet with advanced biometrics? Will they waterproof the iPhone? And lastly, could they introduce an option to display the next iteration of iOS in an advanced 3D state?
Apple has the power to drive true innovation far beyond the mere action of introducing a larger display. In the big picture, Apple has the power to integrate great new applications and advance iOS in new ways that will continue to demonstrate their true leadership. Yet that aside, will Apple find a way to give us an iPhone with a significantly larger display in 2013? Time will tell.
Until then, is a larger display something on your wish list for the iPhone in 2013? Send in your comments.