Rumors Continue About Apple's Expected 4-Inch iPhone

Now the device will reportedly be called an iPhone 5se, not an iPhone 6c, as had been rumored earlier. It will reportedly debut in March or April.

Apple, iPhone 5se, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, smartphones, next iPhone

The smaller iPhone reportedly coming from Apple in March or April has been the subject of plenty of rumors in the last few months but the latest round of rumors gives the device a different name and possibly rounded edges.

Instead of being called an iPhone 6c as reported in December, the smaller device will be called an iPhone 5se, according to recent reports by

The iPhone 5se is being "described in two ways by Apple employees: as a 'special edition' variation of the vintage 4-inch iPhone screen size and as an 'enhanced' version of the iPhone 5s," the article reported. The handset won't be a smaller version of Apple's iPhone 6s (pictured), but is instead being built as an upgrade of the company's iPhone 5s that debuted in the fall of 2013, according to the story. The code name for the new handset is reportedly N69.

According to sources, the rumored iPhone 5se will include upgrades in hardware and software as well as curved edges like those on the latest iPhone 6 and 6s devices, while the handset will retain the same 8-megapixel rear camera and 1.2-megapixel front camera systems used on the iPhone 6, the report continued. A near-field communication (NFC) chip will be incorporated to allow the phone to use Apple Pay, and it will also include camera support for larger panoramas and autofocus for video recording. Also included will be faster and more powerful Apple A8 and M8 chips from the iPhone 6 and Bluetooth 4.2, voice over LTE (VoLTE), and 802.11ac WiFi chips from the iPhone 6s, the article reported.

Apple is planning to debut the smaller, more feature-laden phone to attract new buyers to a handset that won't take away sales from its larger flagship phones, while also encouraging iPhone 5 users to upgrade without having to move to one of the company's larger phones if they choose to carry a smaller phone, the story said. "The current 5s will likely be discontinued, per sources, and the '5se' will take its price point."

The upcoming phone is already being built and will likely be introduced in March with a March or April release, the article reported.

The 4-inch iPhone 5se would be smaller than the company's existing 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone smartphones, giving customers more options.

Rumors about the smaller 4-inch iPhone began in earnest in December 2015, according to an earlier eWEEK report, when a KGI Securities analyst wrote in a research report about the possibilities of such a device.

Apple's latest iPhone 6s and 6s Plus flagship smartphones went on sale in September 2015. The iPhone 6s includes a 4.7-inch display, while the 6s Plus has a 5.5-inch display, both of which are wrapped in a new stronger cover glass. Both new phones are built around Apple's fastest smartphone chip, the A9, which is a third-generation 64-bit chip. The cameras on the latest devices received a major upgrade with the addition of a new 12MP iSight camera that has 50 percent more pixels than earlier devices. Both phones also are now capable of 4K video, run on iOS 9 and include new 5MP FaceTime HD front cameras.

Earlier in January, reports surfaced that Apple is preparing to trim production of its iPhone 6 smartphones by about 30 percent through March due to growing stocks of unsold iPhone 6 smartphones around the world.

Earlier in December, reports surfaced that Apple could be looking at dropping the long-established 3.5mm headphone jack on its next iPhones and replacing it with a thinner Lightning connector or Bluetooth to help make the phones even thinner, according to another eWEEK story. Even if Apple does delete the headphone jack, the company's patent application to seal iPhone ports could still be useful.