I think that plays into another key difference between Google‘s (GOOG) Android and Apple’s iOS. While the difference is no longer so stark as it was in 2010 (when 73% of Android users were male), there is still a gender gap between Android and iOS. Even today, Android still skews male, while the iPhone skews slightly female.
Jezebel just published an article titled “Smartphones Are Made for Giant Man Hands” that helps to illustrate why Apple might be reluctant to potentially annoy a key demographic by making the iPhone too big. If you think that seems far fetched, Business Insider suggested that the greatly hyped iOS 7 employs pastel colors in what many people have interpreted as an open appeal to that female demographic. The gold iPhone 5S could also be interpreted as such.
If you are forced to adopt a physically bigger display, employing curved glass is a way to make the device more easily gripped by a smaller hand. So while curved glass might result in engineering challenges and potentially a higher cost for Apple, having the iPhone 6 as a 4.5-inch or larger model with a curved form factor satisfies the general demand for a bigger display without making it so large that women find it unwieldy to use.
Of course, Apple could also simply release an iPhone phablet and keep the iPhone 5S or iPhone 5C as an option for those who prefer smaller devices, but that strategy has its own risk. Namely, that its flagship iPhone might not be seen as its flagship iPhone anymore.
Whatever Apple is up to, it needs to move fast. It’s not just late to the big smartphone game — it’s not even there at all. When BlackBerry can get its ducks in a row and beat you to the market with a smartphone that meets consumer demand, you’re seriously behind. In the year between the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S, Apple ceded another two percentage points of smartphone market share. Another year at that rate puts it dangerously close to single-digit territory — a place it does not want to be.
Look for the iPhone 6 next fall to be bigger, with Apple heavily promoting a curved form factor that supports one-handed use without compromising on pixels.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.