iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus – Which do you prefer?

When Apple announced the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, many saw the iPhone 6 Plus as a way for Apple to participate in the somewhat elusive phablet market. The phablet market is basically the no-mans land between the smartphone and the tablet. For many a phablet is big enough to skip the purchase of a tablet and still small enough to make a call. With the phone call giving way to the text message, the decision to go for a smartphone or a phablet comes down to personal preference. Not much is known about the real distribution between the two devices, but it seems certain that the growth rate is much higher for the phablet than it is for the smartphone. Some of the market analysis seems to indicate that phablets have a higher uptake in Asia than in the US or Europe.

Growth rates tell only one side of the story, while a new product may have a 200% growth rate, it may still be outgrown by an established product with a 5% growth rate if the sales basis is high enough for the established product.

This makes the distribution between iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus so interesting. Both are new and the distribution numbers would indicate if we are seeing more of an even distribution or a big brother/little brother distribution in terms of units sold.

As reported by c/net, after the new iPhone 6 models were released, BMO Capital Markets analyst Keith Bachman expected that almost three quarters of the iPhone sales would go to the iPhone 6. This was pretty much in line with what many other analysts were saying and shortly after, news came in that the iPhone 6 Plus was sold out in many locations around the US. The iPhone 6 is also sold out in all locations near NY city.

A similar note came from c/net that quoted Mixpanel’s data of app usage after the first weekend of iPhone 6 sales. The iPhone 6 made up a usage number of 2.12% among all iPhones, with only 0.32% for the iPhone 6 Plus. This would mean 86% of all iPhone 6 models were the iPhone 6.

Recent news puts the percentage of iPhone 6 Plus devices much higher, with many publications stating around 60% of devices being the iPhone 6 Plus. There are also several news reports that Apple is asking its suppliers to shift production towards the iPhone 6 Plus, indicating that the model distribution is not following corporate market planning. This may also have to do with the upcoming release of the iPhone 6 in Asia, especially in China. (If this release will be as successful as the one in the US, I will have to wait quite a little bit longer for my new phone.)

On a similar note, Digitimes reports that smartphones with displays larger than 4.8″ make up more than 80% of Taiwanese manufactured smartphones.

Maybe this is the way of the future and there is something the western world is missing with the phablet. I still believe that there is something to be said about the relationship between phablet and tablet sales. We here all the great news about smartphone and phablet sales, while the tablet sales seem to slow down. Some of these market shifts may be just explainable through the arbitrary market definitions as they are used by market researchers. – Norbert Hildebrand