By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
February 26, 2013

FORTUNE — Although it never attends, Apple (AAPL) is always a presence at Mobile World Congress, the big cellphone conference held every year since 2009 in Barcelona.

In past years Apple’s iPhone platform has set the bar by which other smartphone vendors measured themselves. (See, for example, Now everybody has an App Store.)

Not so this year, according to Jefferies’ Peter Misek, not a particularly strong Apple supporter (he rates the stock a “hold” and his $500 price target is one of the lowest on Wall Street).

According to Misek’s Day 1 “flash note” to clients, 4.7″ to 5.5″ is becoming the new standard screen size for mobile devices. He writes:

“Most of the flagship phones have much larger screens this year: Huawei Ascend P2 4.7″, Huawei Ascend D2 5″, LG Optimus G Pro 5.5″, Sony Xperia Z 5″, and HTC One 4.7”. Samsung’s Galaxy S4 is expected to be announced on 3/14 and have a 5″ screen.

“We think this demonstrates how badly Apple is losing the screen-size war. And while this has primarily been a high-end trend so far, we think that it could be even more pronounced as it moves to the low end and consumers do not have the money to buy a smartphone and a tablet so they migrate to the phablet form factor.”

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