updated 01:10 am EDT, Wed June 18, 2014
Notes that alleged 5.5-inch future iPhone noticeably taller than Galaxy Note 3
A new YouTube video uses "dummy" mock-ups of the alleged 4.7- and 5.5-inch "iPhone 6" models to compare the sizes in context to the current iPhone 5s, which offers a four-inch screen. While the mockup models have been frequently seen elsewhere, only rarely have they been shown next to other existing iPhone or competitor models to give a proper sense of size. The video compares the alleged "future" iPhones both to the existing iPhone 5s, as well as some of the larger phones' competitors.
The video was created by TechSmartt, and notes that the 5.5-inch iPhone dummy is larger -- mostly due to the design of the iPhone 5s, which has just been made bigger for the mockups -- than either the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 or LG's G3, both of which are considered to be on the upper end of phablet sizes. Though it is quite possible (and not unprecedented) for the dummies to be inaccurate -- made by case manufacturers to try and get a jump on competitors by best-guessing the likely dimensions of the next iPhone models -- if one assumes that the mockups are indeed genuine, then Apple would move to the top of the class in oversize phones. Rumors have the company allegedly planning to bring out the 5.5-inch model shortly after the initial 4.7-inch version, but still ahead of the holiday buying season.
Even the video makers themselves express doubt that the 5.5-inch model is legitimate, noting that it is too large to be used with one hand, even for larger-handed people -- a selling point for the iPhone that Apple has repeatedly brought up when defending its decision not to produce "phablets." While there is "wiggle room" for a future iPhone to be somewhat wider and taller, a truly oversized iPhone like the 5.5-inch model would draw considerable criticism unless there was a compelling reason or feature that gave Apple cover for reversing its view on oversized phones.
The video also appears to show that the mockups (which are identical to each other apart from size) are slightly thinner than the curved LG G3 or Galaxy Note 3, but the larger of the dummy iPhones appears to take up a great deal of height to accommodate the Touch ID bezel (since it is just a scaled-larger version of the 4.7-inch model), which seems to be unlikely for Apple to actually do. Skeptics have also pointed out that the iPhone mockups have rear cameras that jut out slightly, and that the bevels on the top and bottom of the device are asymmetrical, and that no internal parts for a 5.5-inch iPhone have yet leaked -- all of which seems out of character for a forthcoming Apple device.
The host of the video notes that in his opinion, the 5.5-inch model would require a stylus to operate smoothly, just as most other phablets do -- making this even less likely to come to market, as Apple (and in particular former CEO Steve Jobs) has frequently pointed to the need for styluses as evidence of bad UI design. Although Apple itself sells third-party styluses for the iPhone and iPad on its online store, they are intended for use with apps where the benefit is obvious, such as drawing programs, rather than for general use. The company would have to make a considerable PR effort to successfully backtrack from its staked-out position that if a smartphone requires a stylus, it is a failure.