The internet has been awash with photographs of a leaked prototype of the iPhone 6. Although the iPhone is by no means the first larger-screened phone on the market, it highlights a trend that will provide exciting challenges for digital publishers…
Whether these pictures are genuine or not, it is no secret that Apple’s iPhone screens will be having a growth spurt. About time too: the iphone is lagging behind the screen sizes of its competitors (as pointed out in Samsung’s cheeky advert about screen envy- click here to watch).
Competition aside, Apple’s iPhone 6 plans point towards a general market acknowledgement that consumers want larger, higher-resolution screens.
But is bigger better?
When my faithful old laptop recently whirred its last, I was looking forward to shopping around and seeing how far design and development of laptops had come over the past few years. However, what quickly became evident that afternoon was that laptops are a dying breed. Where the newest, shiniest laptops once filled gleaming displays, now they have been pushed back and replaced by an impressive array of tablets and tablet-laptop hybrids.
These tablets come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, from the classic large iPad to slim Nexus 7’s. Phones are rapidly gaining in size on the lower end of this market, and no doubt it won’t be long until stores are selling plug-in keyboards which can be used on super-sized phones. Aside from the iPhone 6, the rumour mill insists that Apple is looking at launching a ‘Phablet’¹ this autumn: a move which would push the tablet/phone hybrids to a mainstream audience. It seems that the only factor slowing the growth of phone screens is how ridiculous the user is willing to look calling somebody from it.
All this points to the final nail in the coffin for online pdf-replicas. Now, people are curling up with tablets of varying shapes and sizes to watch Netflix, go shopping and, most importantly, read.
So what does this mean for publishers?
Primarily, (and I can’t seem to shout this loud enough), it means you absolutely must invest in making content work across different platforms.
As a digital publisher, we see many exciting new publications come out that look stunning on an iPad, but offer the Android user either a limited or non-existant experience. With Android holding 57.6%² of the market share, gone are the days when you could safely assume the majority of your readership were sitting with large iPads.
If your magazine or publication doesn’t work on Android devices or iPhones, you’re excluding a significant proportion of the market. Investing the time and effort into making a cross-platform publication that gives the reader a fantastic experience whatever their device will futureproof your content. The jury’s still out on whether the demand for Windows devices exists, but Android is a critical area not to overlook.
Even if the rumours surrounding Apple’s iPhone 6 screen upsizing transpire to be true, it’s not a development that will rock the digital publishing world for now. Rather, publishers should be aware of the gradual merging of phones, tablets and laptops, and have strategies to ensure their content is as responsive, engaging and cross-platform-inclusive as possible.