Early iPhone 5 buyers were already asking for bigger screens, reveals confidential document


Patent trials generally aren’t the most exciting of events, but documents revealed through the second Apple vs Samsung case are certainly providing a lot of fascinating glimpses behind the scenes.

The latest is the above summary of research Apple carried out among early buyers of the iPhone 5 to find out what they thought of the phone and what improvements they wanted to see, tweeted by Jay Yarow. While longer battery-life and better maps will surprise no-one, it’s interesting that even at the beginning of last year, bigger screens was third on the list … 

With consistent reports that Apple plans both a 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch version of the iPhone 6 each with sapphire screens, and the reports now backed by internal slides from Apple revealed yesterday, we’ve been seeing a whole range of concept images, some more persuasive than others.


Another interesting snippet spotted by Yarow was that Apple’s senior VP of marketing Phil Schiller considered it “nuts” to pay for social media monitoring, observing that all the tools needed to do this area already “built right into the social networking sites, all free.”

The email was in response to senior director Arthur Rangel who referenced a Fortune article on Samsung in suggesting using a monitoring service offered by Networked Insights. The full exchange appears below.

It’s interesting because you might think that someone of Schiller’s seniority in a company as rich as Apple might be happy just to farm out the work to an external agency and get back the pretty slides, but Schiller commented that he did it himself, every day.


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  1. Jaromír Miko - 9 years ago

    Just hope they will already do something with that awkward, funny battery life instead of making the phone “thinner & lighter”

  2. PMZanetti - 9 years ago

    1. Improve Battery Life – iPhone 5 had the best battery of any smartphone on the market. While thats nothing to brag about, as it still feels like 5 years ago, there is no competitor on battery.

    2. Improve built-in Maps – This what overblown news stories do to people’s psyche. Even in the very beginning there was very little wrong with maps. But they read an article saying so. So they rehashed it.

    3. Bigger screen – Uh…if you were buying an iPhone 5, chances are you came from a smaller screen. Actually the odds that your former phone was smaller than iPhone 5 is about 99%. I doubt 4″+ phones had penetrated the real market at all prior to iPhone 5 launch….certainly not far enough prior for people to get them and then switch to iPhone 5.

    4. Unhappy with Switch to Lightning – Boohoo. Let’s keep using an outdated connector that is fragile, inefficient, and starting to compromise the design of devices, because a few existing users want to use their cables or POS overpriced Boombox accessories. Apple was brilliant to revamp the connector with Lightning…not only is it infinitely more convenient in real world use, but it refreshed the entire industry around MFI accessories.

    5. Ability to customize – This has to be made up. Who is answering this survey?

    6. Improve Siri – thankfully some of this came in iOS 7, but yes she still has a long way to go.

    7. More durable/less fragile – THIS does not surprise me. Apple bloggers slobber over the shiny diamond cut chamfered edges and the inset glass and stainless band and blah blah blah. The thing is still a bar of soap that looks like it was attacked by a cheese grater if dropped from knee down onto anything but carpet. You can’t use it without a case, because its like carrying around a $600 Egg with no protection.

    This is why I thought the iPhone 5c was actually the first brilliant design since the 3GS…..durable molded plastic is so much more comfortable in the hand, durable and scratch/dent resistant when dropped, and basically serves as its own case, displacing the need for a case at all.

    • Very detailed comment. Gotta agree most of the points and disagree just one – the second one: it’s understandable that in 2 years time, Apple has been doing hard to improve Maps, but countries including China and Hong Kong haven’t got Maps right yet (some provinces even get their whole area blank), so there are still rooms to catch up with the modern-day maps. Also Apple still gotta improve the efficiency of responding user-reported problems. My friends and I have tried to report so many times regarding a never-existed train station appearing on the map, but after 2 years, it’s still there.

    • Jaromír Miko - 9 years ago

      I have a Nokia Lumia 520 at home. I must admit Nokia isn’t as thin as light as iPhone, but in fact, I’m charging it every 3 days. However, I’m charging my iPhone every single day. Sometimes even 2 times a day.

      But you’re right – iPhone 5c has a brilliant design. Perfectly fits to hand.

    • Martin Robertson - 9 years ago

      This must have taken a long time to write. I’m glad you were able to vent.

      However, most of your rebuttals are anecdotal and/or straw men.

      1 – iPhone 5 having the best battery life on the market (arguably – and mostly because I don’t feel like looking up the actual stats) doesn’t mean that an end user can’t want more battery life. Not everything is about Apple vs. competitor.

      2 – Do we really need to address this? lol if you think maps was fine at launch, then you’ve never used an actual fully functioning GPS app or device.

      3 – Again, the iPhone 5 being bigger than the iPhone 4 doesn’t mean that the end user couldn’t have desired an even bigger phone. I got the iPhone 5 on launch day, and I am among the number that wanted a bigger screen. To say 4″ phones hadn’t yet penetrated the market is an outright lie. the iPhone 5 came out in 2012 my man. That’s not that long ago. HTC’s Evo 4G came out in 2010 at 4.3″.

      4 – It was an actual inconvenience at first, but yes it was a necessary evil.

      5 – Surprise! There are people out there who want to be able to arrange the icons on their screens however they want–maybe even change the system font *gasp*.

      6 – Your only levelheaded comment.

      7 – I lied, this was your only levelheaded comment.

      And now I’ve spent 5 minutes of my day writing this. *sigh*

  3. rogifan - 9 years ago

    Can someone tell me what any of this has to do with whether Samsung infringed on Apple patents or not? Why is the judge allowing the trial to go off on these tangents?

    • Ben Lovejoy - 9 years ago

      I don’t think the trial is going off on these tangents, these are just things that are being found amidst the mass of documents both sides have had to make public as part of the case.

  4. eldernorm - 9 years ago

    Henry Ford was said to say that if he asked his customers what they wanted before the automobile, they would have asked for a better whip.

    Customers tend to want opposites, better battery life and smaller battery, better screen brightness and better battery life, much improved CPU effort and better battery life. etc.

    How about a huge screen that shrinks / folds to fit in my pocket. ????

    Just saying.

  5. Kevin A (@kevinsky) - 9 years ago

    This doesn’t surprise me, I switched from the 4S to Android over screen size rather than get the 5S. Don’t get excited, I’m writing this surrounded by 4 macs, so I’m not the enemy. Anyways, yes, I wanted a bigger screen on my phone, so I got one, and I’m happy with the screen. My conclusion is that both systems have their strengths and weaknesses, and either would meet most phone users needs if they take the trouble to learn, and that I would definitely still consider both iPhone and Android on my next upgrade, but a larger screen on the iPhone would definitely check an important box for me.
    Also, people on android forums are completely blind to the fact that they have collectively become the very fanboy monster they rail against, and don’t know what to do when I point that out while using my giant samsung as a shield.

  6. László Földvári - 9 years ago

    I have an iPad, my laptop is a MacBook Air and I’m totally happy with them.
    Now off course I also have an iPhone to make the circle finish.

    I bought the iPhone 5 straight when it came out, simlock free.
    Unfortunately I have only problems with it since than.
    The lock button did not work after 3-4 months.
    I can only make calls when I switch of the wifi. (since day 1)
    I can’t make pictures with it because the camera lens is so dirty somehow from the inside. (after half year +-)
    My battery can keep up 4-5 hours, and when it’s cold it shuts down suddenly, even when it’s 50%+ charged.(after 1 year)

    Now I went to the Apple store, to replace it(after 3-4 months). After reading some blogs and forums I was totally sure they are going to replace it. NOT!
    They said it has some water damage, I NEVER DROPPED IT INTO WATER! (indicator near the simcard) (Apple store Hungary)

    I really hope apple is going to make a better iPhone, and do something about there costumer care. Since it’s not a 50 euro phone.

    The experience I have now is just f***ing bad! And I don’t want to by some sh*t samsung (although samsung is much more innovative).

    So apple pleas don’t make me hate you!

  7. Nick Ahern (@TwpDick) - 9 years ago

    Am I the only one that thinks having a larger display on a cell phone is rediculous? I hope apple has plans for an iPhone mini.

    • Nick Ahern (@TwpDick) - 9 years ago


    • Kevin A (@kevinsky) - 9 years ago

      Depends what you use it for. Do you think of it as a phone with some convenient mini-tablet features? Or do you think of it as a mini-tablet with a convenient phone feature?
      For me, the phone is the least-used feature (and I use it for business!) A bigger screen makes it easier to manage all kinds of things, especially visual things like photography and video. A bigger screen makes it possible to show our video work to a potential client on a moment’s notice without having to haul out an iPad or laptop. I’d take a laptop to a formal meeting, but now I don’t have to drag one around at trade shows.

      In other words, the larger screen negates any need I might have for a tablet.


Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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