KGI: 4-inch iPhone ‘unlikely’ this fall

“In a new report from KGI’s Ming-Chi Kuo, the analyst claims that a new four inch iPhone is unlikely for 2015,” Benjamin Mayo reports for 9to5Mac. “This contradicts some recent reports and supposed 4-inch ‘6C’ case leaks, but KGI is generally more reliable than other analysts. We would still be wary of any such predictions however, given that mass production of iPhone models will not be started for a few months giving plenty of time for Apple to change plans.”

Mayo reports, “KGI also notes that whilst the next-generation 4.7 and 5.5 inch iPhones will feature pressure-sensitive Force Touch technology, it will work differently to what customers will see in the Apple Watch, new MacBook and updated 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote on December 5, 2014:

In general, the only people who still think they want a 4-inch iPhone are those who do not yet own a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 or 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus.

After iPhone 5s and 5c go the way of the dodo, the 4.7-inch display should, and likely will, be Apple’s smallest iPhone display going forward.

13 Comments

  1. Too bad; even MDN’s own poll suggest that demand for new honest 4″ flagman is only slightly behind of demand for 5.5″ size.

    4.7″ is whole 38 mm taller than my iPhone 4S, and it is huge difference. iPhone 5/5S is only 23 mm taller, is maximum size I can stand.

    But yes, unfortunately, Apple releasing actual 4″ flagman is unlikely.

  2. The iPhone 5S will still be in the next lineup as the “free” (with contract) option. And it’s still better than any smartphone that does not an Apple logo. The 2016 lineup is where Apple needs to decide if a smaller iPhone should continue as a NEW iPhone model (that is not an older iPhone model).

    Personally, I’d like to see Apple “do the unexpected” and go in the opposite direction. Create a separate iPhone model that is an exercise in how SMALL a full-featured smartphone can be. Surely, there is a sizable market for people who mostly use a “phone” as communication device, and do their “computing” on a Mac or iPad; they want the phone that’s always in their pocket to be as “mobile” as possible, so that it can go anywhere without being a burden.

    It should also work with Apple Watch… If Apple Watch evolves as it should, people will be taking out their “big” iPhone (from wherever it is being carried) less and less over time. And if they are not needing to take it out very often, why not make that portion of watch/phone duo as small and light as possible.

    1. Nobody wants a smaller smartphone. The screen is too difficult to read/use, you wind up with the microphone far away from your mouth when making phone calls (which is why flip phones were so popular), and there is no advantage gained because your battery has to be necessarily smaller, thus creating a smartphone that is only good for about 1/3 of a day’s use.

      Besides, Apple just did this with the Watch.

      1. I’m not saying the phone should be the size of an iPod nano. 🙂 iPhone 4 is significantly smaller, and it is very easy to use. The the screen is easy to read. The logic board today would be smaller and more efficient, so it can have a larger battery (by proportion) and have BETTER battery life compared to larger phones that are much less efficient (because they have a huge screen that uses 4X the power). It would be able to go for week, not “1/3 of a day.”

        As I said, it would be a smartphone for people who like doing most of the computing tasks on a Mac or iPad. They want the phone to be more of a “communicator,” and less of a “computer.” They don’t need their phone to have an extra large screen and bulge out of their pocket. This group of customers should be sizable. After all, those “flip phones” were popular because their folded physical size was smaller compared to “candy bar” phones. Even today, for many customers, smaller is better… 🙂

        > Besides, Apple just did this with the Watch.

        That’s precisely my point. Within a few years, there will be another group of customers who like doing MUCH more from the Apple Watch’s screen; developers will make this possible and convenient. But they still need to carry an iPhone because iPhone provides Apple Watch with processing power (the “brains”), the Internet connection, and local data storage. A smaller and lighter iPhone that can perform those functions for Apple Watch, without being a physical burden, would also be attractive to this group of customers.

        1. Ken1w, your points are right on the money.

          About the only one I disagree with is the comment about not needing an iPod nano-sized phone. I think an iPod nano phone would be great! 🙂

          1. Previously (a few years ago when the current iPod nano was new), I was advocating an ultra-small “Apple Phone” (that is not an iPhone). It would be “smart,” but like an iPod nano, all of its “apps” are built-in features. It would use the iPod nano’s touch-based interface (not iOS), upgraded with the phone features. It would be Apple’s true “low-cost” phone. Something like that seems unlikely.

            The iOS mobile interface is fairly flexible. The iPad mini was the original-size iPad, scaled down by about 20% (with the side bezel area minimized). Here’s my “concept”… Take the current iPhone 5S Retina Display and scale it down by about 20%. Same number of pixels, so it does not contribute to platform fragmentation. Have the screen’s glass go “edge-to-edge” (along the long sides), providing the illusion that the LCD has no side borders. Make the phone’s length about the same as the original (3.5-inc screen) iPhone, with noticeably narrower width. Make it as thin as possible, but with a great camera and one-week (“with typical use”) battery life.

            1. What people seem to be missing is that an iPhone 6’s electronics, with the new Force Touch screen, Touch ID, NFC chip, and a larger battery would probably fit in an iPhone 4 or 5 case, with the smaller screen. It’s substantially thicker because it doesn’t have the rounded sides, giving it more volume for a battery that would last longer. This would give people the smaller, but up to date, iPhone, to meet their needs, support a paired Apple Watch, and work independently when they occasionally wanted to use it for general purpose computing (apps).

              I wouldn’t expect this iPhone to be substantially less expensive, since it would be comparable to the latest larger screen model, since miniaturization costs something, but it would fill the increasing niche for a smaller iPhone.

  3. There are many that want/need a small phone. Not everyone wants to surf the web on their phone. Many just want a good mobile phone, camera, the ability to text and use Apple Pay.

    I realize it is counter-intuitive given the trends in phone size, capabilities and number of apps/features, but I believe there is a niche for a very small phone – smaller even than a 4 inch screen – that offers only a few of the Apple essentials and yet is highly mobile, i.e., small.

    There should be two versions: 1) ruggedized phone nearly impossible to break and 2) sleek luxury gold version perfect for carrying in your elegant, tiny party purse.

  4. Respect to kgi, but that doesn’t make any sense. There will be an updated plastic iPhone 5s/6c with Apple Pay and newer chipset.
    Makes no sense to canabalize the 6 sales at lower margins and keep it along with the 6s. I fully expect a repeat of the 5s introduction without the 5.
    An updated plastic 5/6 makes not only the most financial sense, but would move consumers forward so Apple doesn’t have to support legacy too long on the tooth.

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