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Apple's iPhone 6 'phablet' may be delayed to 2015, smaller screen this fall

It's being reported that Apple's larger 5.5-inch iPhone 6, nicknamed a "phablet," may not be introduced this fall as had been planned. It may only be the first half of summer, but the buzz over Apple's next great thing is already causing a stir. Apple's smaller screen 4.7-inch iPhone 6 is still expected to debut this fall however.

Insiders say Apple's larger 5.5-inch 'Phablet' may not debut this fall as planned, as production problems may see it pushed back to 2015.
Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The production problems apparently center on the new technology for the two devices' in-cell touch panel, according to AppleInsider on July 13. While also a problem for the smaller iPhone, it's supposedly even worse for the larger-screened device.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a "respectable track record" in reporting on Apple's future product roll outs, issued a note with this latest news on Sunday. According to Kuo, Apple is not only facing production bottlenecks on the 4.7-inch model related to the new technology for the in-cell touch panel, but also color unevenness on the redesigned iPhone 6 metal casing.

Those problems are said to be even more exaggerated with the larger 5.5-inch model. Kuo noted that in particular, the new in-cell touch panels might cause issues related to touch sensitivity on the edges of the panel as displays grow larger in size. This may make the 5.5-inch model a much greater technical accomplishment for Apple to achieve.

Additionally, Kuo said he doesn't foresee that a new scratch-resistant 5.5-inch sapphire front panel will easily pass the drop test near term. That technical issue alone could also cause delays, he said.

But just last week, a video showed a 4.7-inch version of what was purported to be a sapphire screen from the next generation iPhone being stabbed, scratched and bent. Video producer Marques Brownlee found that in the end, the worst mark on the screen's surface was his fingerprints, according to CBS News.

Kuo said that even in the most conservative scenario, it's likely Apple will push off the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 model to 2015. That being the case, he expects the already larger 4.7-inch model, along with the more affordable iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c models, to bolster sales growth in the holiday quarter.

That being said, delaying the 5.5-inch phone-tablet hybrid model likely won't have much of a negative effect on Apple's bottom line this year. However, Kuo did say there's still a chance the larger iPhone 6 device could still launch in 2014.

But even if that happens, Kuo said it's likely to occur after mid-fourth-quarter, meaning after mid-November. This would still be a much later time frame than Apple has launched new iPhone models in past years.

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