Should Apple make a state-of-the-art 4-inch iPhone?

“Something has been troubling me since my review of the sixth generation iPod Touch last week. It’s the smaller form factor,” Ewan Spence reports for Forbes. “I’m really enjoying having a mobile device that fits comfortably in my hand, that is easy to use with just a single thumb over the whole screen, and doesn’t require any gym-work to be able to lift it.”

“There are times when I want my smartphone to be a phone and the iPod Touch has reminded me of that,” Spence reports. “Of course it only connects over Wi-Fi, but the use of FaceTime and iMessage allows for phone-like communications and with it running iOS 8 it is clear to see what a ‘small’ iPhone 6 would be like… There’s every chance that the iPod Touch is a precursor to a smaller-screened smartphone to be announced in September.”

“If the iPhone 6 had been available in a 4-inch screened format, that would have been my first choice for the family… and the first choice for myself as well,” Spence reports. “People want the option of a small-screened smartphone. There should not be a performance penalty just because someone would rather a phone fits in their hand rather than a monster phablet that looks like a comedy prop from the nineties… I doubt the iPhone 6C will match the iPhone 6S specifications, but at the very least I hope it matches the iPhone 6 both in hardware used, but also in storage options. The iPod Touch pushed up to 128GB, I can only hope that a four-inch iPhone 6C will do the same. If it does, expect it to be one of the most popular iPhones of all time.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Reports lately say that there will be no new 4-inch iPhone. While the reports could be wrong, as we wrote yesterday:

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.

SEE ALSO:
No new 4-inch iPhone? Is Apple making a mistake? – July 29, 2015
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

42 Comments

    1. I have the 6 plus for personal use and the 5s for work. I am seriously considering going out and personally buying a bigger phone for work. The 5s is uncomfortably small, both as a smart phone and as a plain phone. I much prefer the larger 6+. Even the 6 is smaller than I would like, but I’d still take it in a heart beat over the 5s.

  1. Jobs thought the 4 inch was the perfect form factor. After many years of having the entire Apple customer base use it and love it, it it’s dropped like a hot potato by Cook.

    I had to return my 6 as it’s too wide for my hand to comfortably hold, and especially to type on.

  2. So, just for fun I went to the junk drawer and found my trusty 5. Wow, I was amazed at how great it still felt in my hand. Did not seem all that diminutive. It must be said that I am an Apple Watch user and as most like me will tell you I use my 6 far less than I did before the watch. Maybe a smaller iPhone would work for me.

  3. That ship has sailed… The sales of the iPhone 6 clearly show that most users prefer the larger screen.. While there is always going to be someone that wants something smaller or were satisfied with the 4″ form factor, there are increasing short comings, the least of which is battery life which cannot be adequately compensated for in smaller form factors.

    1. Sales of the 6 do not show anything about user preference.
      IF, they had rolled out 3 sizes last fall and made them all the same specs inside, then you could have actual hard numbers for user size prefs.
      Instead anyone who had a 4S thru 5S and wants a 4″ iPhone, has waited and not bought.

      1. 100% agree. I’m still carrying a 4S simply because the 6/6s are too big. I’m not going to defer an update indefinitely. If iPhones no longer meet my needs then I’m going to have to hold my nose and cross the fence to The Dark Place™.

        1. I prefer the 3.5″ screen size. I thought the 4″ size was a bit big, but tolerable. I was so excited when I saw the keynote, and got the iPhone 6 as soon as it came out. Unfortunately, I knew as soon as I held it that I didn’t like the size, and returned it a week later.

          I like when there are options, but there’s a reason the original iPhone size was 3.5″ – the size of the average hand. That reason is stil relevant today.

      2. “User Preference”: It changes over time for lots of reasons.

        Once in the distant past, “everyone” wanted a big Caddy. Times change when we find out ‘size’ is not an end-all be-all.

        With the Apple Watch, maybe consumers will start to want a smaller iPhone at some point.

  4. “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.”

    Nope.

    Wife and daughter both have 4.7 inch 6’s, and I still like my 4 inch 5s better.

  5. Turns out my had is exactly the average length of the american male hand (7.4″), base of palm to tip of middle finger. The iPhone 4s was the PERFECT phone for my avg size hand. The iPhone 6 is too big. The iPhone 5 is long for my taste, but I can still grip it and use it 1-handed without fear of dropping it. Impossible with the iPhone 6. I can still use it with 1 hand, but I have the “let go” of it and balance in my palm. Very frustrating. So I have the avg hand size for a male. So there are say, 1/4 of the adult population with this size or smaller. The avg female hand size is 6.8″. So let’s say, 75% of the female adult population is in this demo. The doesn’t include all the kids (<18 yrs old) that all have smart phones now. Even down to the elementary school ages! Come on apple. We use the smartphone phone, as a population, dozens of times every day, for work and play. It should be exactly what we need. We'll spend the money because it's now so important. Own this market and make tons of free money. Put out a 4" phone and lead again instead of following Samsung.

  6. The author is delusional. No way would a 4″ iPhone 6 whatever outsell the 4.7″ and 5.5″ models. Definitely a minority of people would choose a 4″ screen model. Evidence of that exists in the fact that 52% of all USA iPhone users have already moved up to the 6 models in less than a year. Probably no more than 20% of iPhone owners would prefer a smaller 4″ screen smaller battery model.

  7. Apple driven by Samsung agenda. Same text again, MDN? Trying to convince 4″ users they don’t know what they want? MDN already made its opinion clear. iPhone 6 is AMAZING, no doubt. But there are people who wants 4″. Just that.

  8. I’m 6’2″, and the 6 is just borderline too big for my front pocket. I currently have the 5S, and it’s just right. I also hate the new sleep button location on the 6. I can live with the new 6 size, but would consider the smaller 5S size as long as it’s the same processor, etc..

  9. I’d buy a fully specced 4 inch “6”. I won’t buy one of the bigger ones. They are just too big for my needs. So if they won’t sell the the phone I want, I may have to consider Android or WinPhone. Of course, I don’t know if they sell what I want either….

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