The iPhone rumor mill continues to create lofty expectations for future iPhone models, in spite of new Apple chief Tim Cook’s best efforts to manage reasonable consumer expectations and curtail the damaging effect to iPhone sales that rumor and buzz causes Cupertino each year. Just a few days after Cook admitted in an interview that the prospect of increasing the size of the iPhone’s display is unlikely in the near future, Jeffries analyst Peter Misek has publicly stated today in a memo that the iPhone 6 will arrive in June of 2014, and will indeed include a larger display.
Who should we believe — Cook or Misek?
Because Tim Cook’s recent comments delivered some bad news for Apple enthusiasts — that Apple is unlikely to release any new significant hardware until the fall of 2013, and that the iPhone 5S or iPhone 6 are unlikely to see a significant change in display size — people who frequent rumor blogs are disbelieving his comments, shrugging them off as little more than mollification for uneasy investors. However, if you look back at what Cook said, he seemed pretty earnest his comments:
“My view continues to be that the iPhone 5 has the absolute best display in the industry, and we always strive to create the very best display for our customers. Some customers value large screen size, others value other factors such as resolution, colour quality, white balance, brightness, reflectivity, screen longevity, power consumption, portability, compatibility with apps and many things.
“Our competitors had made some significant trade-offs in many of these areas in order to ship a larger display. We would not ship a larger display iPhone while these trade-offs exist.”
It isn’t hard to parse Cook’s comments: he’s clearly a big believer in the iPhone’s current screen dimensions, and believes that, in spite of Appledom’s consternation over the fact that Cupertino hasn’t adopted the wide, Android-like phablet display, that the “average Joe” user — the one that comprises the largest segment of iPhone sales — is perfectly happy with the iPhone’s current screen set-up.
Misek, however, isn’t buying it. He’s basing his opinion off of not what Tim Cook had to say, but rather on what he is hearing from the production side of things coming out of Asia. According to BGR: “According to a research note sent to clients on Tuesday, Jefferies analyst Peter Misek says Apple is already prepping an iPhone 6 with a larger display . . . as it turns out, Cook may have just been setting expectations for the upcoming iPhone 5S launch because according to a new report, Apple has already found a way to work a larger display into the iPhone 6 without the “tradeoffs” seen in current phablets, and it’s set to launch next year.”
So, who to believe?
Unfortunately for us, both men have a vested interest in trying to control the narrative about the iPhone 6′s screen size. Whether Tim Cook is being totally truthful and the likelihood is that the iPhone 6 won’t offer a phablet-style screen, then what he’s doing is trying to get out in front of that expectation ahead of time so that iPhone enthusiasts aren’t all the more frustrated if said iPhone 6 ends up with the same screen specs as the 5 and 5S. Or, as the BGR post suggests, he could be setting us up for a big surprise. However, nothing that Tim Cook has done in the media to date has registered as quite that interesting — those kinds of moves were much more Mr. Jobs’ domain.
At the same time, Mr. Misek is a headline hound. His job is to tug and tease the rumor mill so that it nudges and shifts around investors’ money. And he has proven to be a master at this: note how his name and proclamation of an iPhone 6 with a big screen is plastered all over the web today, overshadowing Tim Cook’s earlier comments? It’s because Misek is giving the rumor mill red meat; people want to hear about larger screens, not the status quo.
I for one am more inclined to take Tim Cook at his word. To be sure, he did leave the door open to enlarge the iPhone 6′s screen should those “trade-offs” get figured out. However, given Apple’s unwillingness to increase the iPhone’s screen size for so long, then having done it in limited fashion, and for the more mundane, muted approach to controlling iPhone rumor buzz as we’ve seen out of Tim Cook over the past year or so, he’s probably giving us a sober foreshadowing of what to expect — or not expect — from the iPhone 6 in 2014.