Why Apple might launch a new 4-inch iPhone in early 2016

“When Apple launched the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus last month, the company did not fully discontinue the 5s model. Yes, the 64GB storage model of the 5s was axed, along with the 8GB storage model of the 5c. Given the age of these phones, this might not be a surprise,” Bill Maurer writes for Seeking Alpha. “But Apple has kept production of the 16GB and 32GB storage models of the 5s going. With the street expecting basically no unit sales growth for the iPhone in Apple’s fiscal 2016 period, I believe the key to further growth is the launch of a new upgraded 4-inch phone.”

“The 5s has lasted a lot longer than other phones launched at the same time, and it currently is going up against two larger screen iPhones that have sold extremely well. Based on Apple’s history, it doesn’t appear that the 5s will be on sale much longer,” Maurer writes. “So why is Apple still selling a phone that can’t compare with its current lineup? Well, the best reason seems to be size. Apple went to a larger screen size with the 6 line, and the 6s line has added features that make the 6s Plus more than 70% heavier than the 5s. Some consumers will argue that they don’t need a phone that is larger than a US dollar bill. If you’re putting your device in a pocket, it needs to fit in that pocket.”

“Obviously, there is still a market for the 5s, or Apple would have discontinued more than just the 64GB version already. In my opinion, I think the company is waiting until early 2016 to eliminate the phone because that’s when we’ll start to see production and sales of the current models start to fall off a bit,” Maurer writes. “At that point, Apple can have its suppliers start production on a new phone, let’s call it the 6C, that contains a 4-inch display but has much better specs.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote back in July:

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

No 4-inch ‘iPhone 6c’ at Apple’s September 9 event, iPhone 5c to be discontinued – August 27, 2015
Should Apple make a state-of-the-art 4-inch iPhone? – July 31, 2015
Analyst: Apple has scrapped plans for a 4-inch iPhone 6c – July 27, 2015
Analyst: No 4-inch iPhone coming – May 12, 2015
If Apple makes a next-gen 4-inch iPhone, they should do it right, not make it a second class device – March 26, 2015


    1. Actually, my iPhone 6 plus is still smaller than the cord, and even cordless, phones that are connected to the house phone line. (regular phones) Apple doesn’t make a tablet phone, that’s an Android thing.
      Okay, the iPad with Skype, but that’s a different story.

  1. I bought the 6s plus – but it was not for me and having used it I am still happy to stick with the 4S.
    The 4S is a good size, weight and if a future replacement took on the form of the 1st Gen ( rounded corners, metal back) I’d be even happier.

    1. I love my iPhone 4s. The problem is that iOS has been redesigned for larger screens, which means that the interface for some apps (e.g. Music) looks like a jumbled mess on the 4s screen.

  2. The 5S is exactly where it should be. It’s not playing out any different than prior models.

    Either they will drop the 6+ next year, or they will drop the 6, if and only if they make a 4″ screen. They could make a 6C for color and sell them in place of the 5S, at $449.00. It will have the core specs of the 6, at that price point.

    I can’t see them making a 4″ iPhone 7, with the same specs of a 4.7″ – 7 or a 5.5″ – 7+, only in that the smaller of the two is not on par with the Plus.

    We will never know, but we will be surprised one way or another.

  3. I’m not sure we’ve achieved equilibrium in size preferences yet. There must be a bell-curved shape that probably centers around 4.7-5 inches. It’s probably good to have a phone that covers a big chunk smaller and bigger than that size.

  4. MDN: your quote “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.” is wrong.

    I own a 5s, and with either an iPad or MacBook Pro, I don’t want the extra bulk. For me a phone is a phone with extra added occassional use features. It is NOT an iPad or MBPro replacement.

    Nuff said.

    1. I agree… I just bought a 6s and I miss my 5s. I like using the phone with one hand and I can’t reach the far corners of the screen on my 6s without the phone coming out of my hand. If I need two hands for my phone I may as well use an iPad.

  5. Have tried the 4.7 and I want my 40-in. back. 4.7 is just too big. It fits my hand. It fits my pockets. I can put a heavy duty, Special Needs Classroom Grade cover around it withOUT having to carry around a phone the size of an I-Pad mini. Bigger is NOT always better.

  6. It just kills me how MDN and others talk about hardly ever looking at their iPhone since they have the Apple Watch, yet they still need a bulky 5.5″ phone just hanging there in their pocket. But, anyone preferring a smaller unit is delusional. Yep, that’s sure logical.

  7. I currently have an Apple iPhone 5s, and I did upgrade to the iPhone 6. But, I hated the size, I prefer my phone to fit into my pocket, AND fit comfortably in my hand. So I don’t need an oversized iPhone, and I will never change to any other phone manufacturer. So instead of handing down to my son, which I did for a week, I traded back, giving him the upgrade. My 5s still works great, but to upgrade I’d like a 4″ iPhone!

  8. Both the 4 and 5 series were good size for people with small hands, or didn’t want a big, clunky phone.

    My wife is in that group who would really want to max out at a 5S, or updated version of the same basic size.

    Most important is that there is no need to make a cheap version of the 6S (or 7). There should be the same options on the smaller iPhone.

    That doesn’t mean that Apple should pass up an iPhone 7C as well.

  9. I don’t always agree with the Woz, but I think he’s right that the 4s was the best iPhone to date. I have a friend that still has one, and everytime she hands it to me to look at a picture or something, I need a napkin to mop up the drool. It’s feels damn near perfect to the hand, and is still drop dead gorgeous. But why stop at 3.5 or 4 inches… I wish Apple could fit a phone into the current iPod nano. The sooner I can put one into the watch pocket of my jeans, the happier I’ll be.

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