The Apple Phablet Rumor Just Got Real

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Going against Apple's previous touchscreen strategy, the rumormongers insist that Apple is looking to bring bigger screens to both the iPhone and the iPad, essentially following Samsung by peddling an assortment of screen-sizes for its products. This phablet and giant-tablet rumor first popped up in June, when it sounded as believable as every Apple rumor. (Not very.) When Apple bumped its iPhone up to 4 inches, CEO Tim Cook pretty much put the kibosh on ever going any bigger. "It [the iPhone 5] also provides a larger screen size without sacrificing the one-handed ease of use that our customers love," he has before said. But, today, The Wall Street Journal has sources again saying Apple might go bigger. "In recent months, Apple has asked for prototype smartphone screens larger than 4 inches and has also asked for screen designs for a new tablet device measuring slightly less than 13 inches diagonally," sources told the Journal's Lorraine Luk. 

While the future proliferation of phablets cannot be denied, Apple was never one to follow trends. The article makes sure to hedge its unlikely bet with the following huge disclaimer:

Whether the designs will make their way to market is unclear. The Cupertino, Calif., company routinely tests different designs for its products as it refines them during development.

Yet, all the tech-nerds have taken this report as near-fact. "I guess the big news is that the new Apple doesn’t stick to its old values. Market wants a bigger screen, market gets a bigger screen," ace Apple rumor reporter Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac tweeted. TechCrunch's Darrell Fetherington called it a "sensible course." Digits, another Journal blog, riffs on Luk's scoop to remind readers that Samsung has caught up to the elite phone seller with its a-phone-for-everyone-of-every-size strategy. "After gaining a dominant position in the most profitable high-end segment, it makes sense [for Apple] to expand their product portfolio to tap into the other largely underserved segments," said one analyst.

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Rarely does Apple do the things that analysts say make sense. Then again, Steve Jobs never liked the idea of an iPad mini, and it's the favorite iPad among gadget nerds. So, perhaps Gurman's right, the new Apple doesn't care about its former morals, it cares about making money. Consumers want a phablet. Still: think how ridiculous a giant phone as big as your face would look with an Apple insignia on the back. 

Meanwhile, in other Apple rumors, The Journal reiterates the upcoming line-up of iPhones that will go to market this fall. Come September, or thereabouts, Cook will introduce a cheap device, probably in the $300-$400 range, alongside a refreshed iPhone 5. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.