Tech Industry

Tim Cook leaves door open for larger iPhone

The Apple chief disses competitors who sacrifice screen quality for larger size, and hints that his company can do better.

James Martin/CNET

While Apple maintains that the iPhone 5's 4-inch display is the best around, the company hasn't totally ruled out making a device with a larger screen.

When questioned Tuesday about Apple's stance on a 5-inch screen, CEO Tim Cook didn't exactly expound on the virtues of a larger screen -- in fact, he did just the opposite -- but he never wholly rejected the idea of going bigger either.

"My view continues to be that iPhone 5 has the absolute best display in the industry," Cook said on a postearnings call with investors. "Our competitors have made trade-offs to ship a larger display. We will not ship a larger display iPhone while these trade-offs exist."

In Cook's world, iPhone customers appreciate screen resolution, color, white balance, reflectivity, and compatibility with applications over a larger display. Larger screens produced by competitors, he insinuated, sacrifice these elements. Still, his reasoning seems to leave room for a bigger iPhone, so long as Apple can solve for the associated display shortcomings and best competitors like Samsung.

At least one analyst seems to believe that Apple has a multi-display-size strategy already in the works. Topeka analyst Brian White thinks Apple will unveil an iPhone 5S in at least two, but possibly three, different screen sizes.

Apple finished its second quarter of fiscal 2013 with $9.5 billion in profit on $43.6 billion in sales. The company sold 37.4 million iPhones and 19.5 million iPads during the quarter.