Plus or minus 

With the announcements this week, Apple now sells iOS devices at the following sizes:

  • 4″ (iPhone 5c and iPhone 5S)
  • 4.7″ (iPhone 6)
  • 5.5″ (iPhone 6 Plus)
  • 7.9″ (iPad mini with Retina display and iPad mini)
  • 9.7″ (iPad Air and iPad with Retina display)

This graphic — by the wonderful Underscore David Smith — shows all of this visually.

It’s clear Apple’s trying to make a smooth range of device sizes. With rumors of a larger iPad floating around, this trend may only continue.

It creates some interesting decisions for consumers. On last night’s podcast, Myke and Federico both shared that they are thinking about purchasing the 6 Plus, and leaving their iPad minis behind. Federico is considering the iPad Air, and Myke wonders what the future is for his tablet usage in general.

This isn’t new territory for Apple. While it’s taken a while, this is the same track the company took with the iPod. Over time, the original iPod evolved into a family. Although first with the iPod mini, the line eventually bloomed into the Shuffle, Nano, Touch and Classic. Heck, the entire Mac line started with one machine in 1984.

The question is if this is a problem for Apple. Myke isn’t alone in thinking that the iPhone 6 Plus could be his only device. Clearly, there is a segment of the consumer market that may forgo buying an iPad and instead carry just the 5.5″ iPhone.

Tim Cook addressed self-cannibalization back in January 2013:

In terms of cannibalization and how we think about this, I see cannibalization as a huge opportunity for us. One, our base philosophy is to never fear cannibalization. If we do, somebody else will just cannibalize it, and so we never fear it. We know that iPhone has cannibalized some iPod business. It doesn’t worry us that it’s done that. We know that iPad will cannibalize some Macs. That doesn’t worry us. On iPad in particular, we have the mother of all opportunities here because the Windows market is much, much larger than the Mac market is, and I think it is clear that it’s already cannibalizing some.

While Cook couldn’t say it in 2013, I’d imagine that Apple sees a large opportunity (heh) with the iPhone 6 Plus. There are huge groups of people who really do just want one device, and until this week, the only way to go about that was with an Android device like the Samsung Galaxy Note. While I have no idea if this growth opportunity is enough to offset some people not buying iPads, my guess is Apple isn’t too worried about it.