iPhone 6 Rumors: Why Apple Better Jump on the Phablet Bandwagon

Jan 21, 2014 12:34 PM EST | Jordan Ecarma

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Tech giant and innovator Apple is falling behind for once when it comes to the growing phablet market.

Defined as a smartphone with a display larger than 5.6 inches, a phablet is a hybrid between a phone and a tablet. Apple, which started the tablet market with the release of the iPad, has been "woefully slow" in jumping on this tech trend, according to a Forbes report.

Large-screened phablets could give Windows the advantage since Nokia and Samsung are in the lead in the burgeoning market.

A new report from British analyst firm Juniper Research forecasts that the phablet market will grow from 20 million in sales last year to 120 million device sales annually by 2018.

According to Forbes, many households seem to be sharing devices, so the tablet market is slowing down as more people buy phablets so they can have one of each.

Rumors have been flying about a possible Apple phablet release later this year, reportedly in the fall. Some think the iPhone 6, which will debut in September, could be large-screen, but Apple has stayed mum about any phablet plans.

Forbes calls the phablet market "a party that will be in full swing by the time a large screen iPhone 6 launches." Unless Apple gets in the running, the phablet market will be dominated by Windows and Android.

Eastern markets will see the fastest adoption rates for phablets with people in Korea and China being the most likely to buy the devices, InformationWeek reported.

Samsung said it recently shipped 10 million Galaxy Note 3 phablets just to Korea, where gaming is popular. Chinese users like to stream video content, which also calls for a larger screen.

HP has announced 6- and 7-inch devices that are slated to launch exclusively in India next month, The Washington Post reported.

Devices with bigger screens have been popular in Asia and Europe due to the long hours people who live there commonly spend on trains. Phablets appeal to buyers who want a tablet device but don't want to haul both a phone and tablet on long train commutes, the Post said.

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