The world wants a bigger iPhone and big smartphones in general
The launch of a bigger iPhone 6 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 phablet are just days away, and multiple surveys say supersized phone screens are exactly what the public craves.
Say it with me: "Phablets are fabulous after all." Don't believe it? Read on.
Within two weeks, the smartphone landscape will have changed drastically from where it stands today, with the likely introduction of at least one iPhone 6, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and perhaps a few new models from Motorola, including the rumored Moto x+1.
What these upcoming flagship phones all have in common is that they're expected to be either big or bigger than their predecessors. The Galaxy Note 4 will likely stay with the huge 5.7-inch display size now on the Note 3, while the new iPhone will grow to 4.7 inches and the Moto X+1 is rumored to be larger than 5 inches. Of course, there's also speculation that a larger, 5.5-inch iPhone 6 could also be introduced.
A few years ago, "phablet"-size phones, with screens that creep near or beyond the 5-inch (diagonal) threshold, were chastised for being overgrown, but now any overgrowth seems to be in the worldwide demand for such big-screen phones. Even Apple -- once notorious for creating and leading markets because hey, Steve Jobs just knows what you want better than you do -- seems ready to capitulate to the trend and supply that demand.
Yes, I know you all have friends and family who love their little phones and bemoan the coming of bigger screens, but increasingly they're swimming against the current of global smartphone fanatics. Let's review the growing mountain of recent survey data, shall we?
A survey by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech of 20,000 volunteers who purchased a smartphone during the first quarter of this year found that the top design consideration for consumers was screen size, with 42 percent mentioning it as a key part of selecting a new phone.
"Our data clearly shows that bigger is better for most consumers," the report reads.
In June, RBC Capital Markets surveyed 4,000 consumers and found that 35 percent of people who have no plans to buy an iPhone would change their mind if the iPhone 6 increased its screen size from the current stature of the iPhone 5S.
Also earlier this year, Accenture conducted on online survey of 23,000 consumers in 23 countries and found that nearly half (48 percent) of those who plan to buy a smartphone this year prefer a phablet to a smaller phone.
"The phablet screen size is hitting a sweet spot," said David Sovie, managing director of Accenture's Communications, Media and Technology group.
Bigger isn't just a thing in Texas and the rest of the US, either. Earlier this month, CNET reported on a survey that found even folks in emerging economies like Brazil, India, Kenya and Mexico want taller phones.
Oh, and if you're one of those people who feels like a five-inch phone screen is already too much of a handful -- literally! -- another summer survey, from UK-based Netbiscuits, found that six-inch and larger screens are the smartphone category seeing the most growth and that 5- to 5.9-inch screen phones "will increase dramatically" in the US.
Forget Sharknadoes, "Attack of the Monster Phablets" could be coming to a theater or Netflix queue near you.
It also seems that even iPhone fans, who've held strong to their smaller displays as the Samsung Galaxys of the world have gone bigger, crave a little more screen real estate. Phone buyback site Glyde surveyed 500 people who have recently bought or sold an iPhone on the site about which feature was most important in their next phone purchase.
"23 percent said a larger screen size," a Glyde representative told me in an e-mail. "This is up from 12 percent of people ranking screen size as most important when asked the same question last year."
So, bigger is clearly the direction the smartphone world is going, but if you still don't believe that bigger is also better, there might be one man who can convince you. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak recently said that even he would like to see an iPhone with a bigger screen.
Fortunately for Woz, it seems like Tim Cook and others are listening.