The lower-than-expected iPhone sales Apple reported last quarter predictably led to a series of panicky demands from analysts that Apple release an iPhone with a bigger screen to stave off the grave threat of Samsung and its Galaxy Note phablets. InfoWorld’s Galen Gruman, however, doesn’t think that releasing a phablet will guarantee a major iPhone sales boost and he’s got some data to back it up.
Despite all the hype surrounding phablets, Gruman finds that they’re essentially a niche market, even for phablet pioneer Samsung.
“Even in the Android world, the big-screen smartphone is not the red-hot seller you might think,” he writes. “Neither Samsung nor Apple reveals the breakdown for each model, but by triangulating various market researchers reports for the final quarter of 2014, when both the iPhone 5s and the Galaxy Note 3 were on sale, I come up with about 32 million iPhone 5s units (despite constrained supplies), 13 million iPhone 5c units, 20 million Galaxy S 4 units, and 11 million Note 3 units sold over that period.”
What’s more, it looks as though the Galaxy Note is the only real runaway success when it comes to phablet sales. HTC, LG and Nokia have all tried their hands at making phablets and they’re not showing up anywhere on the map.
So while Apple is very likely to release a larger version of its iPhone, we should expect it to supplement and not replace its traditional iPhone model. And we certainly shouldn’t expect it to propel the iPhone’s sales growth back to where it was five years ago.