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Is Apple Wrong About This Major Tech Trend?

Evan Niu, CFA
November 26, 2012

When Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) launched its latest and greatest iPhone 5 a couple months ago, one of the biggest changes to the device was that it opted to change the size of the display for the first time in the product's lifetime. The iPhone maker took a slightly different route with how it made the screen bigger, keeping the same width but making it taller and changing the aspect ratio.

Source: Apple.

Apple took it a step farther and preemptively addressed criticism it knew it would get, arguing that keeping the same width made the device more usable with one hand while much of the Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android army has been encroaching "phablet" (the single worst portmanteau ever known to man) territory.

Is Apple wrong?
Archenemy Samsung has now announced that its Galaxy Note 2 device has shipped 5 million units, less than one month after it crossed the 3-million-unit threshold. The South Korean conglomerate's Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 are among its best-selling devices right now, and each feature displays much larger than the iPhone 5.


Display Size


iPhone 5


1,136 x 640

Galaxy S3


1,280 x 720

Galaxy Note 2


1,280 x 720

Sources: Apple and Samsung.

Samsung's not the only Android OEM pushing display size, either. HTC's One X has a 4.7-inch display and its Droid DNA went up to a 5-incher. There's a 4.7-inch screen on LG's Optimus G, the device that Google's own Nexus 4 is based on (so it has the same display).

A study released in September by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech showed that Android adoption is being led by smartphones with larger screens. In the three months covered by the study, 29% of Android devices had a display size of 4.5 inch