Trouble reading on that tiny iPhone? Apple experiments with XL screens for tablet, smartphone

Apple may be supersizing its iPad and iPhone,  exploring a larger variety of screen sizes to diversify the mobile device market.

The Cupertino company said its Asian suppliers are testing a 13-inch iPad and smartphones measuring larger than four inches, according to the Wall Street Journal.

With the grande iPad, Apple reverses direction from its most recent iPad invention — the 7.9-inch Mini, which was released in November and touted as the first tablet that could fit easily into a pocket or purse. Even before the tablet hit stores, retailers were selling cases, purses and totes designed for the smaller design.

The larger iPad is roughly 34 percent larger than the original Apple tablet, which has a 9.7-inch screen. If the design goes to market — and it’s still unclear if it will, as Apple routinely tests designs that are changed prior to and during development — it would strengthen Apple’s grip on the tablet market and fits the broader trend of diversifying size options of mobile devices.

It would also open the door for a new line of 13-inch cases, messenger bags and totes.

Apple is also bringing the XL size to its iPhone to compete with South Korean electronics rival Samsung, which took screen size to a new level and won over a healthy chunk of the Android market. Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones, which can measure 5.3 inches up to 6.3 inches,  trailblazed the “phablet” market — essentially an oversized phone but not big enough to count as a tablet.

Sources told Reuters that Apple is looking at introducing at least two bigger iPhones next year – one with a 4.7-inch screen and one with a 5.7-inch screen. Apple currently offers a single phone model across all of its markets.

It’s not longer a one-size-fits-all mobile device world, and Apple is looking to hit the sweet spot for every customer.

 

Photo courtesy AP Photo/Eric Risberg. An Apple specialist holds the new Apple iPad mini, right, next to an iPad, left, at an Apple store Friday, Nov. 2, 2012 in San Francisco.

Heather Somerville Heather Somerville (210 Posts)

Heather Somerville is a business reporter covering venture capital and startups for the Bay Area News Group.