Now that the ink is drying on Apple's deal with China Mobile, supply chain rumors are emerging about Apple’s next significant product releases. Digitimes reports that according to “sources from the upstream supply chain,” Apple is planning to release a 5-inch iPhone 6 “phablet” this coming May and a large tablet in October.
The immediacy for a larger-screen iPhone comes partially from the Asian market where Samsung’s phablets have made significant inroads. Assuming that Apple’s agreement with China Mobile includes these upcoming products, the pricing adjustments that normally occur with new iPhones could make the iPhone 5C significantly more affordable and attractive to the Chinese market. This would begin to make sense of the 5C, which so far seems to be a sales disappointment for Apple. Perhaps the important thing about the 5C is that it is not the 5S, so that down the road it can be discounted without putting price pressure on Apple’s flagship.
According to the Digitimes source, the larger iPhone 6 will use “a 20nm processor manufactured by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC).” Previous reports have pegged the screen size at just under the 5 inches of Samsung’s Galaxy 4.
The source also reports that Apple will releases a 12.9 inch “targeting North America’s educational market [and]… manufactured by Quanta Computer,” in October. Samsung is also reported to be working on a 12 to 13-inch tablet, and it seems evident that “these large-size tablets will greatly impact ultrabook demand.” This “iPad Max” will be a defacto laptop with the addition of new cases with integrated keyboards and batteries and could well become a mainstay for high schools and college students who need better content creation tools than thos offers on existing iPads and iPad Minis.
These larger screen sizes will put additional strain on iOS 7 and developers who will need to figure out how to adapt their apps to even more configurations. These additional formats will provide some exciting opportunities for applications as well, and we can anticipate that iOS 8 will contain many features designed to accommodate multi-screen design.
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