Apple finally caught up with the rest of the mobile industry this week -- the first phablet was launched way back in 2011 -- and announced its new "iPhone6 Plus" phablet with a 5.5-inch screen, 1080p HD resolution and 401 ppi.
Our WDS (Devices) research service forecasts Apple iPhone6 Plus is now entering a huge global phablet market that will reach 300 million shipments in 2014.
The iPhone6 Plus will launch commercially worldwide in September 2014. We expect North America, Western Europe, Japan and China to be its largest markets. Its worldwide pricing will be in the premium-tier.
The iPhone6 Plus will have a slightly better camera / HD video (hardware and software) and be powered by Apple's A8 chip (faster graphics, enhanced battery life) and M8 coprocessor.
As expected, the iPhone6 range contains LTE Cat 4. This will enable faster data access for advanced apps, such as real-time gaming. There will also be VOLTE for crisper voice calls (but it may hit battery life), quicker 802.11ac WiFi data access, and the ability to make voice calls over the WiFi network (many mobile carriers will dislike that feature).
There are now 1.3 million apps available in the Apple App Store, so the ecosystem for Apple iPhone remains strong. Apple is partnering with developers, like Gameloft and Disney, to deliver console-quality mobile games. Apple deserves credit for pushing ahead with its mobile gaming strategy, because our research indicates games are the world's most popular mobile app.
Health apps now play a key role in iOS 8. For example, the iPhone6 portfolio will measure physical activity, like your number of steps. There is also a barometer for height sensoring. None of these are new features, and plenty of other vendors, like Samsung, already have similar features in their smartphone portfolios. In the bigger scheme of things, Apple today is no doubt optimizing its iPhone portfolio for the upcoming wearables industry that is emerging tomorrow.
Overall, the iPhone6 Plus is "as expected" and there are few surprises (most of the features and apps were already leaked). The iPhone6 Plus is a solid phablet that will quickly sell tens of millions units worldwide during the rest of this year. Rivals, like Samsung, LG, Motorola and others, will be getting a few restless nights of sleep in the coming months.