No new 4-inch iPhone? Is Apple making a mistake?

“Unfortunately, the latest reports state that Apple is not planning on launching a 4-inch smartphone in the next couple of months,” Bill Maurer writes for Seeking Alpha. “Cowen and Company analyst Timothy Arcuri stated that evidence of the rumored low-cost iPhone 6C has disappeared since around March.”

“For Apple, this seems to be a debate over pricing and margins versus market share. Since the 4-inch model would be cheaper than its larger screen counterparts, it would likely be priced a bit lower. In this case, the smaller screen model would probably not be capable of achieving as high margins,” Maurer writes. “In the end, Apple would see this basically as the 5C, version two, a strategy which I don’t think the company is interested in currently.”

“On the other hand, if the company is truly concerned with increasing its global market share, then it definitely makes sense to have three phones. Giving consumers the most potential options should get you the most possible customers. With a sizable upgrade base that may not want a giant phone, the 4-inch would fit that need,” Maurer writes. “Even if only a few percent of current holders would stay with the 4-inch, you’re talking about millions of iPhones annually. Does Apple really want to pass up say 10 or 15 million potential customers just so it can maintain super high pricing or margins?”

Maurer writes, “I think the company may be making a mistake if it decides against a 4-inch smartphone this year.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If they’re going to make a 4-inch iPhone, it should be on par (as much as possible) with the flagship iPhones – same processor, same amount of RAM, same storage options, very similar camera capabilities, etc. In other words, a high-margin premium device designed specifically for premium customers who are looking for a world-class 4-inch smartphone. Still:

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.MacDailyNews Take, December 5, 2014

That said, there certainly are times now, with Apple Watches on our wrists, where we’d appreciate a smaller iPhone that we could just tuck away in a pocket and forget — at least while Watch is so dependent on iPhone. But, watch OS 2, coming soon, will begin to lessen the dependence, so whatever desire we had developed over the past months months for a small iPhone to support Apple Watch has diminished since watchOS 2 was unveiled. It’s likely Apple is thinking this way, too. Even with Apple Watch and watch OS 1.0, we almost always want a larger iPhone* for the times when we actually use the iPhone anyway. So, we’re back to thinking the 4.7-inch display is the smallest iPhone Apple should make.

*The one major exception would be toting around an iPhone on a run for GPS mapping, but, even then, the iPhone 6 is plenty small and light enough to suffice.

Analyst: Apple has scrapped plans for a 4-inch iPhone 6c – July 27, 2015
Analyst: No 4-inch iPhone coming – May 12, 2015
KGI: 4-inch iPhone ‘unlikely’ this fall – April 22, 2015
Five reasons Apple won’t make any more 4-inch iPhones – December 9, 2014


    1. I’m surprised Apple updated the iPod internals but did not increase the size to 4.7″. It would seem easy to make an updated iPhone based off the iPod. Plus this 4″ phone would be a good option for the kids, though, I do not want the plastic like on the 5c.

    2. For people like me who mostly do the basics (not using it as an iPad or laptop), the 5S size is great for carrying and handling with a single hand.

      It could easily be that Apple sees so much demand that they don’t want to slow down the introduction of larger size iPhones for now and that they might reintroduce the smaller size later.

      1. Why should we be forced to use the sub par stolen tech that samsung churns out, just because we want a phone in the size Jobs declared as perfect?

        Apple will be missing out on a sizeable market if they don’t come back to a 4″ iphone. Not everyone needs or wants a massive phone.

  1. That would be a mistake, indeed. My wife wants a new phone to replace her iPhone 5. But she does not like the size of my iPhone 6, she tried, but she still wants a 4″ display. Hopefully Apple will do it one day. No Android in my house as long as i live.

    1. Pundits for the Larger Size only are just plain crazy and stupid in this case. My wife has a 6 and she has had it since the introduction date. She wishes she had her 4s size back, if we only had not sold it. She likes her 6 screen size but would trade it for the smaller size.

      Not everyone needs or wants huge, large or bigger. But a 4S / 5 size would probably be 10 to 15% of sales at best. I met a company executive a couple of weeks ago who was still using a flip phone (I was a little shocked, knowing he could afford anything he wanted). And I still see a fair amount of flip phones around. When I DO ask why, the majority of answer is that the smaller size and weight is far more important than the content. Some say the convenience of a smart phone is sure helpful, but the smaller size with ability to connect verbally only – outweigh the benefits of the larger size.

      1. Agree with you guys. I’m getting older, and I have large hands and eyes that are starting to suck, so I will get a 6s when they come out to replace the 5. I like the 5’s size – I can put into most pockets without issue.
        My daughters have 6+’s and I don’t like them. If i had a purse, maybe I’d carry it to as it’s almost an iPad in size. I think there’s a market for many in the ~4″ size. Older professionals seem less likely to carry a 6+ around where younger folks seem to like them. Choices are good, but they do risk having too many models at some point – and I have no idea what point that is…

  2. The motivation for Apple to make the small phone shouldn’t be to fill a low-cost niche. It should be to satisfy the market segment that prefers a smaller piece of hardware.

  3. This new “report” is based on the same evidence as the previous one. It even quotes the previous report as the evidence for this report. I don’t believe it… The only reason the remarkable new 4-inch A8 iPod touch exists is because Apple got it engineered “for free” by using the same technical design for the upcoming 4-inch A8 iPhone 6C.

  4. Lots of stuff has been vanishing with Steve Jobs.

    The mentality of thumb operated phone is one major.
    When you think about it, iOS 7 and 8 are a disaster for thumb operation.

    Besides making the big numbers, Apple doesn’t know much about the vision of an iPhone anymore. They copy what work from the devils out there: Bandroid(OS) and Samswing(size).


  5. GIGANTISM, on lots of subjects: the disease of Apple nowadays. Wide roadmap and good strategy plan ahead but, on other hand, OS updates and apps don’t work promptly, marketing department reigns over creation, long time users left outside and so on. It led other well known company to stagnation.

  6. I have said it before:
    I understand your view on this sensitive subject – it is, after all defining a phone in many ways, and it cowers my own needs too.

    But you fail to respect the fact that there are lots of people with small hands, petite women, etc, used to small Nokia phones(years ago), that are crying for a phone with a smaller “hand print”.
    So, in the spirit of the creator, a smaller phone is required, for a complete portfolio.

  7. They will probably still sell the 5S for all the customers who still want a smaller iPhone at a lower price. Don’t forget that model has fingerprint recognition for ApplePay etc. A great model for countries like India too where wages aren’t so high.

  8. You all know that Apple knows there is a market for a small phone, a phone even smaller than the original iPhone, but for whatever reason they apparently are choosing not to pursue that market. I wish they would, but it is obviously their call.

    I currently own an iPhone 5, my wife a 5s. Neither of us will upgrade to the 6, or 6s due to their size. We will wait, for what, I’m not sure.

    Just to get a sense of what I am looking for I recently bought a Nokia X3 on Amazon for $65. It’s a cool little phone. I like it. It’s an antique but it gives you a sense of the size and weight I’m looking for. Apple could make it better, smaller and thinner, but the old Nokia is still pretty slick.

    If people at Jolla in Helsinki (Hey, Jolla-people, heads up!) were on their toes they would investigate making a “Jolla mini.” Ah, hell, I may just carry around the antique Nokia X3 and route the calls from my iPhone 5 at those times I need the mini. I’d much prefer having it be an Apple mini with all the bells and whistles, but if Apple’s people decide it’s not in their best interest or it’s too hard to make or the margins are not good enough then that is that.

  9. I, too, would like a 5S-sized phone with the latest technology. I don’t like the larger phones, which I will be forced to buy to have that technology, and which I don’t often need given the Apple Watch.

  10. I get really tired of MDN’s arrogance: “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”. I do own an iPhone 6, but still wish to go back to the smaller size. Despite the fact that MDN worships Steve Jobs they must feel that he was completely wrong in thinking that the original size was optimal. Why do they never call him out on that?

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