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Apple may finally be caving to consumers who want a phablet

Fans of phones with bigger screens may soon have cause to rejoice. (Judging by sales of Samsung’s surprise hit phablet, the Galaxy Note, there are more than ten million of those fans worldwide.) Reuters is reporting that Apple is in discussion with suppliers to source 4.7 inch and/or 5.7 inch screens for forthcoming iPhones, putting Apple in direct competition the Galaxy Note. Call it an iPhablet. For reference, the original iPhone had a screen just 3.5 inches diagonally, which Steve Jobs once called the “perfect” size for consumers.

Since this is still just just a rumor and Apple is known for changing parts specifications up until the last minute, there’s no guarantee that Apple will create this device, and CEO Tim Cook has previously denied that one is in the works. However, it would make perfect sense, given the company’s apparent shift toward gaining market share against competitor Samsung, and against Android in general, and especially in emerging markets.

One reason is simply that consumers in some markets would prefer to have a single device with a single data plan, rather than lugging around both a phone and a tablet. Meanwhile, consumers in rich countries are opting for bigger and bigger screens, Steve Jobs’ admonishments be damned. Indeed, it may be the case that the often-maligned phablet, or something like it, will become the personal computer of the next decade.

Samsung is on track to sell 10 million of its Galaxy Note II phablets in the first half of 2013 alone. If Apple can tap into phablet demand with its own design-friendly version, then why not?

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