Apple is working on iPhones and tablets with larger screens, according to a Wall Street Journal report citing officials at the company’s suppliers.
"In recent months, Apple has asked for prototype smartphone screens larger than 4 inches and has also asked for screen designs for a new tablet device measuring slightly less than 13 inches diagonally, [the officials] said. The current iPhone 5 has a four-inch screen, while the iPad has a 9.7-inch screen. The iPad Mini, a stripped-down version of its tablet computer, has a 7.9-inch screen," WSJ reports.
The report adds: "Whether the designs will make their way to market is unclear. The Cupertino, Calif., company routinely tests different designs for its products as it refines them during development. The company also changed its offerings of the iPhone and iPod last year to include larger screens, while adding a variant of the iPad with a smaller display."
A spokeswoman for Apple declined to comment for the story.
WSJ adds: "The tests with suppliers seem to suggest that Apple is exploring ways to capture diversifying customer needs when many mobile device makers offer smartphones and tablets in various sizes. Its biggest rival in the tablet and smartphone markets, South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co., has an ‘all things to all people’ strategy, covering many different product sizes to capture as many customers as possible. The move has allowed Samsung to leapfrog Apple in the smartphone market even though Apple still leads in tablets."
Said IDC analyst Helen Chiang: "In the long run, we will see touch screens in all sizes as the future vision of the technology industry is to offer the same user experience across all screens. The key is to bring down the cost and introduce compelling applications for large-screen devices."
The report notes: "Apple’s move, if adopted, fits into a broader trend of mobile device makers offering many size options. Competitors including Samsung, Sony Corp. and Huawei Technologies Co. have launched smartphones with displays larger than 5 inches. The category is called ‘phablets’ to refer to devices that cross over between a smartphone and tablet."