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Judging from new research data, the iPhone 5s display may soon look quaint and diminutive against a veritable army of new smartphones featuring screens larger than five inches.
Canalys reported Wednesday that over one-third of the 279.4 million smartphones shipped during the first three months of this year featured displays larger than five inches, a potentially ominous sign that consumers want to go big or go home.
Big-screen smartphones particularly made an impression in China and Asia Pacific markets, where they made up 39 and 43 percent of the mix, respectively, compared to 34 percent of shipments worldwide.
Perhaps more troubling for smartphone makers like Apple who have no smartphones with screens above five inches is the growth rate of such shipments: 369 percent, which suggests consumers have a voracious appetite for larger displays.
"Apple plainly needs a larger-screen smart phone to remain competitive, and it will look to address this in the coming months," remarked Canalys analyst Jessica Kwee, noting that Samsung holds a commanding lead with 44 percent of five-inch or larger devices.
"Consumers now expect high-end devices to have large displays, and Apple’s absence in this market will clearly not last long," Kwee elaborated.
Apple is expected to introduce a 4.7-inch version of the iPhone 6 later this year, and a rumored 5.5-inch could debut at the same time, although manufacturing issues reportedly could prevent the larger version from shipping until early next year.
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter