5.5-Inch iPhone 6 Release Date Deliberately Delayed to Boost iPad Mini 3, iPad Air 2 Sales – Report

By @ibtimesau on
iPhone 6
iPhone 6 in Sam Beckett's concept video Screenshot from YouTube Video

Apple may have intended to push back its release date plans for the bigger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 in order to soften the iOS phablet's perceived negative impact to the company's 2014 tablet line up - the iPad Mini 3 and the iPad Air 2.

Reports are rife that the tech giant will be forced to delay the commercial debut of the bigger iPhone, which could arrive as late as January 2015, due to complicated production issues. Yet according to MarketWatch, the decision to delay is also strategic in nature.

It appears that Apple is wary that an iPhone 6 that is near-to-tablet in size and functions could potentially cannibalize the already shrinking sales returns of the Air and Mini, added the same report.

And with the latest results from Apple that showed sales figures for the two devices are steadily sinking, such fear by the company was seemingly confirmed.

Globally, tablet sales and shipments are retreating, which is a trend that analysts blamed on the phablet phenomenon started by Samsung's Galaxy Note. So with the entry of an iPhone 6 that boasts of stretched screen and features that practically replicates that of slates, Apple seems worried that its iPads will be rendered irrelevant.

Consumers are likely to shy away from the Air and Mini as they discover that a phablet-size iPhone 6 serves as an all-in-one gadget. More so, marketing and pricing question are likely to come into play, MarketWatch said on its report.

"A 5.5-inch iPhone, subsidized by wireless phone providers, would make consumers think twice before purchasing an unsubsidized iPad Mini," the report added, quoting a note from Strategy Analytics.

So if indeed the larger of the iPhone 6 will not be seen with the 4.7-inch version on September, it could be that the delay is deliberate for Apple to figure out how the device will not hurt the latest and the upcoming iPads.

One possibility too is last minute modifications and one of them, MarketWatch said, is to design an hybrid Apple device that is a tablet when folded out but transforms into a large-screen smartphone when folded in.

But while the device is more convenient to use and budget-friendly, "no company has invented that yet," tech expert Jeff Kagan told MarketWatch.

Still, the 5.5-inch iPhone release date remains a looming reality, according to G4Games, adding that Apple cannot ignore the fact that more than 30 per cent of smartphones currently in circulation are labelled as phablets. It is only a matter of when.

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