Apple is joining the phablet craze right before sales explode past laptops

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Apple might reveal its first ever phablet next week with the 5.5-inch iPhone 6, and while many Apple fanboys question the need for an iPhone the size of a dinner plate, IDC’s latest market projections reveal Apple is about to get in on the phablet craze at the perfect time.

Over the next four years phablet sales are expected to grow more than any other smartphone, tablet, or PC category. Worldwide phablet shipments are will pass portable PCs by the end of 2014 with 175 million units sold, but that number will to explode to 318 million units in 2015, making smartphones with screen sizes from 5.5 to less than 7 inches more popular than the tablets that spawned them.

Here’s IDC’s projections:

phabletshipmentsIDC

Phablets are still a relatively new device category and only started to command marketshare in 2012, but as consumers move away from small screen tablets, the big screen smartphones are expected to represent 32.2% of the global smartphone market in 2018 with nearly 593 million units sold.

Apple jumping into the space is expected to bring even more attention to the phablet category, making large smartphone screens the norm. The 5.5-inch iPhone 6 will reportedly launch later this fall with sapphire glass for its giant display, as well as new improvements to the camera, TouchID, an A8 processor, and a new mobile payments system.

  • Ivaylo

    I’d argue that Apple is “joining” anything. It will be rather moving it there, although entering on a later point.

  • Barrett Jasper

    And they said it’d never happen. I’ve LOVED the larger smartphones from day 1. Galaxy Note series for me personally and all my friends all said, “that’s way too big” well they all (mostly) have Notes and such.

  • duncanator

    Do we know if there will really be a 5.5″ iPhone? Every “leak” I see is always of the assumed 4.7″.

  • http://batman-news.com Eric Sandoval

    Apple will not release this mythical device. No REAL leaks point to it. No real info, nothing. It’s not happening. Maybe next year but not now…and next year is even a strech. And to think that Apple wil release a 4.7″ now and release a 5.5″ in a couple of months is a complete failure in thinking. How many of us (that want a much bigger phone) will go out and get the 4.7″ model only to be suprised in Nov or Dec by the 5.5″ model? Now how many of us would not be a little pissed off? I might be eating crow in a week but I really don’t think so.

    • Rafterman00

      You will be eating crow. Part photos for the 5.5 have already leaked. But since the 5.5 production allegedly was behind 4.7 production, and will be produced in smaller numbers, part leaks for the 5.5 have be less often.

      • http://batman-news.com Eric Sandoval

        I hope I do, I’d eat that whole damn bird!! Feet and all. I’d LOVE a 5.5″ iphone.

  • Dave Podnar

    http://www.idc.com/about/viewpressrelease.jsp?containerId=prUS22486010 check out the 2014 predictions for os share. symbian for the win. iOS and Windows with almost the same share!! Show me that IDC can do predictions and then i will believe they can.

  • Brandon Franklin

    Boy I hope so! I love apple and won’t stray too far but man their tech is starting to seem a little dated. Androids are going to have 4k screens before apple will have a 1080p screen. And they really need at least one phone that they jack to the hill with power and features even if only to prove they can if they so choose to, or WHAT they can do with top tier mobile technology

    • Grunt_at_the_Point

      Yes, but on balance the iPhone w/IOS is by far the better phone.

    • Tallest Skil

      Yeah, you don’t comprehend this at all.

  • Tallest Skil

    Shipments ≠ sales, remember. Only 10% of phones are larger than 4.7”.

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Buster HeinBuster Hein is Cult of Mac's Senior News Editor and lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Twitter: @bst3r.

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