Apple Harking Back to the Past With 4-Inch iPhone, Rumors Claim

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2015-12-04
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    Apple Harking Back to the Past With 4-Inch iPhone, Rumors Claim
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    Apple Harking Back to the Past With 4-Inch iPhone, Rumors Claim

    Several rumors suggest that—in addition to updates to its flagship smartphone line—Apple will launch a smaller iPhone to appeal to the lower end of the market.
  • Previous
    It'll Come With a 4-Inch Screen
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    It'll Come With a 4-Inch Screen

    All the talk surrounding the putative Apple iPhone 6c (the rumored name we'll use for the sake of consistency) indicates that the device will come with a 4-inch display. At that size, Apple would go back in time to the 4-inch models available before the iPhone 6 launched. The screen size would be notably smaller than the 4.7- and 5.5-inch screens built into the iPhone 6s line.
  • Previous
    It Will Look Like an Updated iPhone 5S, Analysts Say
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    It Will Look Like an Updated iPhone 5S, Analysts Say

    According to several analysts who claim to have checked in with Apple's supply chain, the iPhone 6c will look like a slightly updated iPhone 5S. That would make sense. After all, the iPhone 5s was a relatively cheap device for manufacturers to produce and its design lends itself to the rumored 4-inch screen.
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    Expect It to Run on iOS 9
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    Expect It to Run on iOS 9

    Apple will launch the iPhone 6c with iOS 9, according to the rumors. There is no way Apple would introduce a new iPhone with an earlier version of its mobile operating system, which is actually a frequent occurrence in the Android world. Selling the iPhone 6c with an outdated operating system just wouldn't make sense and would likely turn some consumers away.
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    Surprisingly, Apple Will Offer the A9 Chip
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    Surprisingly, Apple Will Offer the A9 Chip

    In an interesting twist, Apple will offer the A9 processor in the iPhone 6c, according to reports. The A9 is the same chip that powers the iPhone 6s, which suggests that it may be as powerful as its larger cousin. That would go a long way in appealing to developers who have built high-end apps, as well as consumers who want more power but also want to save some cash.
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    Apple Pay and Touch ID Support Are a Given
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    Apple Pay and Touch ID Support Are a Given

    All the rumors are saying that the iPhone 6c will launch with Touch ID, allowing the device to work with the company's Apple Pay mobile payment platform. That rumor makes perfect sense. After all, Apple needs more people to get onto its Apple Pay platform in order to generate real cash from it. The more devices it ships with Touch ID and Apple Pay support, the better.
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    A Camera That Will Get the Job Done
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    A Camera That Will Get the Job Done

    The iPhone 6c will reportedly launch with the same cameras offered in the iPhone 5s: an 8-megapixel rear-facing lens that will be complemented by 1.2-megapixel front-facing sensor. While they may not match some of the nicer devices on store shelves featuring far more megapixels and better picture quality, the iPhone 6c's cameras are in-line with other midrange devices Apple would compete against.
  • Previous
    Plastic or Metal: It's a Tough Call
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    Plastic or Metal: It's a Tough Call

    Debate rages over the final body design in the iPhone 6c. Some reports have said Apple will offer a plastic body. The latest rumors, however, say that Apple will likely go with an all-metal chassis to add a bit more sophistication to the design. The latest bets are being placed on a metal design, but we won't know unless this new model actually materializes.
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    Where It Will Be Offered Remains to Be Seen
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    Where It Will Be Offered Remains to Be Seen

    Another big question mark is exactly where Apple will sell the iPhone 6c. Some analysts say that the device could be Apple's opportunity to appeal to consumers in emerging markets. Meanwhile, others say it will be a universal product offered wherever iPhones are sold. Given Apple's penchant for wanting to maximize sales opportunities, expect the latter rather than the former.
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    Expect Prices Squarely in the Midrange
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    Expect Prices Squarely in the Midrange

    There is some speculation over how much Apple will charge for the iPhone 6c. According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the device will likely sell for $400 to $500, making it up to $249 cheaper than the iPhone 6s. At that price, Apple would be comfortably sitting toward the midrange of the market, and with carrier subsidies, it's possible the smartphone could be offered for as little as $99 on a two-year agreement.
  • Previous
    Rumors Suggest an Early-2016 Release
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    Rumors Suggest an Early-2016 Release

    This is another area where debate rages, but most of the rumors say that the iPhone 6c, if it's released, will reach the market early in 2016, rather than in the fall when the company usually releases its latest handsets. Other reports have said that Apple wouldn't launch the device until late 2016. However, most rumors suggest that the device will launch in early 2016 so it doesn't conflict with the iPhone 7. That seems to be a more likely scenario right now. But as anyone who follows Apple knows, things can change.
 

Over nearly a decade, Apple hasn't missed an opportunity to launch new iPhone models, and there is no reason to believe 2016 will be different. That said, several rumors suggest that, in addition to updates to its flagship smartphone line, Apple will also launch a smaller iPhone model. While it's unknown whether that device would be called the iPhone 6c, the iPhone Mini or something else, rumors are accumulating that Apple wants to offer a smaller handset to appeal to the lower end of the smartphone market. As history has shown, Apple product rumors don't necessarily turn into fact. But given the number of reports circulating, it seems more likely that Apple is getting ready to release a handset with a screen size that harks back to the iPhone's early days. This slide show covers what features the market chatter is predicting will show up in this downsized iPhone. As usual however, Apple itself hasn't breathed a word about any of its smartphone plans for 2016. So all the market rumors should be taken with a proverbial grain of salt.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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