If Apple makes a next-gen 4-inch iPhone, they should do it right, not make it a second class device

“According to a report from DigiTimes, Apple will finally release a 4-inch version of the iPhone 6 later this year. It will use the same A8 chipset as the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus and integrate NFC to enable support for Apple Pay,” Gordon Kelly writes for Forbes. “So far so good, but unfortunately there are two stupid flaws: It will launch alongside the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus in September putting it a generation behind [A8 processor vs. the as-yet-unreleased Apple A9]; [and] It will ditch the aluminium unibody for a plastic chassis.”

“For crying out loud Apple!” Kelly writes. “Going down this route makes the same mistake as so many Android handset makers (Sony aside): treating small phones as second class phones. There’s no logic to this, phone size is merely personal preference.”

“A 4-inch iPhone 6 requires less materials and a smaller battery than larger models, but if it were given the same premium build materials there is no reason it should not be priced in the same bracket as the standard iPhone 6. That would mean greater margins,” Kelly writes. “What would the range be called? How about: iPhone Mini, iPhone, iPhone Plus. The perfect small, medium and large combination to suit all needs.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We’ll see how accurate DigiTimes‘ report turns out to be.

Related article:
Apple to release 3 iPhone models, including iPhone 6c with 4-inch display – March 26, 2015


    1. Make it color, and call it the iPhone Sport. More rugged construction. I LOVE the iPhone 5c’s colors. I’d love it more if it were colored anodized aluminum.

  1. DigiTimes is right, phone size is merely personal preference. As wonderful as the new iPhone 6 is, I prefer the size of the iPhone 4s, even with my big hands.

    So Apple, make a quality 4″ phone, please.

      1. This; I did not upgrade to iPhone 6 since I want 4″ iPhone, but not last year’s innards model.

        Call it iPhone 6 mini or iPhone 6s mini or whatever, but do not try to sell me A8 and other old story technology in there.

        I only want absolute flagman. Of course, it can not possibly as thin as bigger devices, but iPhone 5/5s thickness is only 0.7 mm bigger than that of iPhone 6 (let alone protruding camera). But in everything else it has to be the best device, on equal footing with iPhone 6s/6s Plus.

        1. For me it all depends on what features are withheld and what new unknown functions come with the next iteration. With the 5s/5c the 64 bit processor and touchID were significant upgrades. Between the Air 2 and mini 3 the processor/ ram difference is not as significant since the forms serve such different functions. (I did get the Air 2, but I see no need to update my original mini which I still love)
          If the 6 and 6c are only differentiated by a spec figures, I might try out a smaller plastic phone this time around. It would be terrific if the whole line got optical image stabilization.

    1. I agree.

      However I can also see a future where the iPhone becomes the Apple watch. Processor, cellular radio, Mifi, storage all on the watch. And thinner and lighter that its current form. The iPad/current iPhone end up becoming dumb terminals / wireless heads.

      The Apple watch continues to provide on your wrist interface capabilities, but task intensive uses require the iPad. Just throwing out one potential future that would make a small iPhone meaningless.

  2. Nail on the Head. Make the phone but make it right. I had a 6 & returned it cause it was simply too wide for my hands.

    I’m willing to pay for the latest tech form Apple and always have. Steve Jobs thought the old form factor was ideal and so do I. I shouldn’t have to settle for a second class product from Apple.

      1. The issue is that making 4″ with A8 means that basically whole thing inside will be last years’ technology.

        But people want flagman 4″ device, which has to be absolutely best as well as bigger iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus devices.

        I will not buy just smaller screen version of last year’s iPhone 6.

  3. Nearly had to buy a new phone this weekend. (Short version of that long story: Find My iPhone rocks!!!!) I was already dreading the size upgrade. Wouldn’t have wanted the plastic body. I’ve tried the 6 Plus in the pocket, and it isn’t too bad there, but it is still big in the hand. The regular 6? I don’t know – I haven’t had my hand on one yet, but the point about a quality non-plastic 4″ model is valid. I would be okay with the “old” processor at $100 savings, but why? I’d rather have the 5s as the cheaper option and the 6- (not a good name, for sure!) as a same priced (or maybe $50 discounted) option. I would go there for the latest and greatest.

  4. How’s that not the specs for a great phone?

    Processor – I’ve been using a 5S for about a year, and have yet to experience “slow” with its processor. The only speed limits that are at all perceptible when using my phone is the network speed and my own reaction speed. And this A9 processor is even faster than that! That sounds like a great processor!

    You really need an A10 processor? That doesn’t even exist yet! How can you already need it! This phone doesn’t even have an extra large screen requiring more processor power, or an extra large battery space to feed that extra power consumption – so going “overkill” with processor power hardly seems like a smart / necessary / useful / or would even make any positive change to the phone experience.

    Plastic case – Really, guys? With a protective case around it, it doesn’t matter if it’s plastic or aluminum underneath. And because that usually makes all difference between being able to survive a fall and breaking on impact, it’s stupid not to put a case around.

  5. I do not think it is possible to pack all the features of the iPhone 6 into a package smaller than the iPhone 4. At the very least, battery life would be significantly less. Some of the speciality chips would have to be eliminated. A smaller iPhone with a little less capability would be fine for many people if the price were right. It could expand the market for Apple iPhones.

  6. The iPhone mini should be just as good as the larger model. If battery life is a problem then make it 2mm thicker.

    Seriously, Apple, work on a very small phone. There is a market for a SMALL 3.5 inch phone. Two models: A) for the princess than needs a beautiful, luxury item, light weight phone for her party purse and B) for joe the construction guy that needs a small tough phone that can take a bullet and still work.

  7. Wow! Thanks, Gordon! I had SO been thinking Apple should make a 2nd class device until I read your brilliant article. Now I’ve changed my mind.

    By the way, don’t you know anything about the history of “pundits” and “analysts” with regards to Apple tech. Two rules:
    1. Don’t do it.
    2. If you just HAVE to do it, don’t use such a bombastic, over-the-top tone. Just GIMME a break with the “For crying out loud” and “Going down this route”. You don’t have the stone tablets; you have one fantasy from DigiTimes.

  8. I completely agree. Have the same tech, just different screen size to taste.

    I like the 5s size, absolutely don’t want bigger, but i also don’t want last year’s tech, I want the better camera, better chip, better battery.

    Don’t punish me cause I don’t want the bigger screen.

      1. I know a lot of people love it, for me, it’s more of a at home tablet size.

        I’m begging Apple to not leave me the only choice of a plastic bright colored children’s phone or an Android the right size and shape for me.

        Please give me an option other than one that looks like a Zune.

  9. My take is the build should be like the iPhone 4s which is in my opinion probably the most complete mobile handset design, maybe make the screen 4″ wont make much of a difference. Same thickness as the 4s maybe slightly more to accomodate a bigger battery for better battery life, and lastly only two models of the phone 64Gb and 128GB, because 8GB,16GB, 32GB makes apple look like cheap androids.

    No plastic iphone ‘C’ models, you can stick it where you know.

  10. Don’t see the problem as long as it looks the part. A8 is perfectly good for a smaller phone and allows Apple to make savings by extending the life of its chips which is probably their only motive for producing a new 4inch phone in the first place. In other respects yes it should match the capabilities of the other phones but like it or not for enough of the market that this phone will address price will be a deciding factor equal or in excess of practicality and as such to ensure its success it needs to be cheaper than the larger phones. Without such factors the overall cost of producing a smaller phone is probably negligible over the larger model certainly in the final sale price. Its just common sense that savings have to be made somewhere just hopefully not at the expense of the performance to any great degree.

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