Why Apple had to craft a pocket-busting 5.5in Plus-sized iPhone 6 (thank LG, Samsung etc)

Cupertino is playing catch up, say analysts

Apple iPhone 6

Apple's two-hour parade, topped off by a performance by ludicrous boy band U2, on Tuesday was a long-winded way of shoring up its size problem. The size of its iPhone touchscreens, specifically.

The Cupertino giant opened its presentation by unveiling a pair of iOS 8 smartphones that boast larger screens: the 4.7in iPhone 6 and the 5.5in iPhone 6 Plus. In doing so, the company moved to eliminate key selling points of its big-screened Android competitors, like the LG G3 and Samsung Galaxy Note 3, we're told.

"The issue is more that Apple had a shortcoming, they have not very effectively addressed the screen size," Gartner research vice-president Van Baker told The Register.

"They have pretty much answered all the objections that have been in the market, they are taking away all the advantages that competitors have."

Baker, who heads up Apple analysis for research house, was also enthusiastic about the prospects for the headliner of the show: the much-anticipated Apple Watch.

Though wristslabs have yet to prove successful in the market, the design flair of Apple combined with the solid developer community the company maintains could help the Apple Watch succeed where others have failed, it's suggested. He told El Reg that the value proposition for Apple will be not in one killer feature for the Watch, but in the large number of small things it does well.

"The big push on smartwatches so far is what is the compelling thing that is going to make you buy the watch," Baker said.

"Apple is showing that it's a collection of things."

Fellow Gartner analyst Michael McGuire noted the huge potential market Apple could be about to enter with its Pay mobile purchase system – which links bank cards to a user's iPhone so when the mobe is tapped against a sales register, the transaction is carried out over wireless NFC. Google is doing similar with its Wallet system.

He explained that the addition of Apple, along with its massive customer base and corporate deals, could benefit the entire mobile payments space, provided the company plays well with others.

"It is going to be interesting to see, because you have a single player controlling so much of the ecosystem, that is what we have been waiting for with NFC," McGuire said.

"Google has a certain approach in that when they come out with these technologies, they enable ecosystems to form. However, Apple already has a prebuilt ecosystem."

Should the clout of Apple ring true with banks and merchants, the company could help finally popularize NFC mobile payments. ®

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