It is almost impossible for Apple to keep details of its upcoming iPhone under wraps. Part of the challenge is the global supply chain, which includes manufacturers in Asia, Europe, and the U.S. Another challenge is the ravenous interest in details on the iPhone by its fans – even after almost a decade on the market.
For instance, reports of leaked information on the upcoming iPhone 7S raised quite a few eyebrows on Friday. Granted the days before New Year’s tend to be a slow news period. But if you are a regular follower of Apple, then you know that entire careers have been built on tracking developments in the company’s iPhone platform.
As such, Friday’s DigiTimes report was viewed as confirmation that Apple will offer a ‘supersized’ iPhone model in 2017. According to reports, the updated iPhone platform will include three phones – 4.7-inch, 5.5-inch, and a 5.8-inch version. The latter is larger than the existing ‘Plus’ versions of the iPhone which were first introduced with the iPhone 6.
The reports of the larger iPhone 7S are more than just speculation. According to reports from DigiTime, shipments of a 5.8-inch TFT-LCF panels have been clocked from factories. The report also claims that Samsung will be the exclusive manufacturer for the larger iPhone with capacity to deliver nearly 20 million panels per month.
This highlights the curious relationship between Apple and Samsung. While they are largely known for their competition in the smartphone space, Samsung is also one of the leading suppliers of OLED in the world. As such, it makes sense that Apple would tap Samsung as their supply chain partner for this project.
Reports of a larger iPhone are a far cry from the direction taken by Apple when founder Steve Jobs was in charge. Mr. Jobs was known for his derision of the oversized screens, but customers tend to like the larger screens. This is evidenced by the success of larger phone sizes by companies such as Samsung, LG, and the Chinese headset maker, Huawei.
Even though Apple has begrudgingly added larger phones to its repertoire, critics note that the iOS experience has yet to be optimized for the bigger screens. While it is unclear how this would happen, some point to the need for the company to update its developer tools to offer support for the full range of Apple products – from Apple Watch to iPhones and iPads to Macs. This does create challenges for the company and might explain why Apple has been slow to offer multiple screen options for its popular smart phone line.