If This Is the Next iPhone, Apple Inc. (AAPL) Shareholders Should be Worried

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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)-centric blog MacRumors posted images of what appears to be Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s next iPhone. Although they remain unverified, if they are legitimate, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) shareholders should be concerned.

The images show a phone identical in size and shape to the iPhone 5. And, despite whatever other features Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) plans to implement, such a phone could fall far short of sales expectations.

Apple Inc. (AAPL)

The iPhone’s screen

In recent months, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has received a great deal of criticism for its decision to go with a 4-inch screen on the iPhone 5. With the success of phones running Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s Android operating system like the Galaxy SIII, Galaxy SIV, HTC One, Droid DNA, Nexus 4, and Xperia Z (among others), 4.5-5-inches has become the new standard in terms of flagship phone screen sizes.

While these larger phones may be somewhat awkward in terms of one-handed operation, the larger screen lends itself better to using apps, browsing the Internet and watching video — increasingly popular functions, especially given the rise of high-speed, 4G networks.

On numerous occasions, such as Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s last earnings call, CEO Tim Cook has been asked to defend the iPhone 5’s screen. In response, Cook has argued that other factors are more important than size, like energy efficiency and color quality.

Cook has never explicitly ruled out a larger iPhone, which is likely why some analysts have continued to argue that a bigger phone is just around the corner.

But if the MacRumors’ images are real, a bigger iPhone might not appear until 2014. Of course, that wouldn’t be too surprising, given that the Cupertino tech giant stuck with the same body for the iPhone 4 and 4S.

Samsung’s disappointing S4 sales

As I’ve written in the past, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is more or less an iPhone company. Although it makes numerous other products, the vast majority of the company’s revenue and profit comes from the iPhone.

Apple’s biggest competitor, Samsung, saw its shares plummet earlier in June after an analyst said that its latest flagship phone, the Galaxy SIV, was seeing declining demand. While the SIV had a solid launch, demand looked to be falling off.

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