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iPhone 5 “Plus” – with 5″ screen

February 2, 2013

Several days ago, we discussed Instapaper founder Marco Arment’s speculation about how a retina version of the iPad Mini may be a good idea. Well 15 million iPad-mini sales later, the mini has proven to be a huge success; Surely the advance to retina display would be a logical step.

How can anyone resist the speculation, by taking the next logical step in the progression with the rumored iPhone Plus, Pro, or whatever Apple chooses to name it. It would seem inconsistent for Apple to ignore the sizable demand that has been demonstrated with the Galaxy-III sales; Apparently folks really want a larger 5″ display, self included; Many folks desire Apple’s new iPhone 5 which now sports a 4″ display, which replaced the 3.5″ screen for its iPhone 4 and all prior models. The iPhone 5 is selling at a rate of 3,850,000 units every week.

Apparently Apple could not resist taking the next logical step in the progression (albeit going smaller) with the traditional iPad and its 9.7″ display. Apparently some folks desire a smaller lighter iPad as demonstrated by the sales of competitors 7″ devices. Many iPad users have mentioned to me, including Marilyn, that they wish Apple would come up with a smaller iPad so they don’t have to carry an iPad and a Kindle or Nook… And viola, the iPad mini appears in Apple’s line of iPads.

Now its time to critique the critics. The issue is model fragmentation also known as product cannibalization.

In marketing strategy, cannibalization refers to a reduction in sales volume, sales revenue, or market share of one product as a result of the introduction of a new product by the same Company. While this may seem inherently negative, in the context of a carefully planned strategy, it can be effective, by ultimately growing their market segment, or better meeting consumer demands. Cannibalization is a key consideration in product portfolio analysis.

For example, when Apple introduced iPad in April, 2010, this may have taken sales away from the original MAC and Mac Book laptop products; However, ultimately led to an expanded market segment for the larger consumer computing hardware segment. Perhaps fewer traditionally sized iPads here sold with the introduction of the iPad-mini; However, when looking at how many total Apple iPads were sold, both sizes combined, the sales were record breaking.

Apple is a master in developing lines of products, with stepped features and screen sizes. For example, Mac Book Pro laptop computers are available in three distinct footprints and screen sizes, 13″, 15″ and 17.” Industry analysts dis not appear to criticize Apple for cannibalizing their own Mac Book lines, likely because customer demand supported all three configurations; However, analysts are quick to criticize Apple for cannibalizing its iPad line with its addition of the iPad-mini.

Likewise it hard to imagine that Apple would not introduce a larger screened iPhone, if for no other reason that Samsung’s Galaxy-III with its 5″ smartphone have been very popular; why not get a slice of this market segment.

The bottom line, it is quite logical that Apple’s iPhones would eventually come in three sizes, small, standard, and large; marketing folks will use terms like affordable, mini, maxi, pro, to differentiate the models, for 3″, 4″, and 5″ displays. This same logic as successfully delivered with the iPad mini… If Apple did not deliver an iPad-mini, some iPad aficionados would buy the larger version; however, some would go elsewhere, as a compact foot-print is of primary concern.

Fragmentation and Cannibalization are not necessarily appropriate terms to apply to companies like Apple, as their mission is to deliver “life changing” devices. Its better to make available the iPad-mini, for folks that want smaller and lighter, than to have those folks go to the competition.

Look out for the 12″ iPad-Maxi Pro housed in a clam-shell case with a bluetooth keyboard…

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