KGI: Apple to release new 4-inch iPhone in early 2016; A9-powered, but no 3D Touch

“Generally reliable KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has today shared an investment note in which he breaks down what Apple will do in terms of its smartphones come 2016,” Chance Miller reports for 9to5Mac. “In the note, Kuo claims that Apple is still working on a refreshed 4-inch iPhone model.”

“Kuo says that the 4-inch iPhone ‘resembles an upgraded iPhone 5s’ and features an A9 processor,” Miller reports. “The design of the device is somewhat unclear from Kuo’s report, but he hints that it will feature a metal casing as opposed to the plastic design featured on the iPhone 5c. Furthermore, Kuo anticipates that Apple’s 4-inch iPhone will not feature 3D Touch in an effort on the company’s part to clearly differentiate it from the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.”

“Regarding the next major iPhone refresh, Kuo says Apple will keep on track with its normal third-quarter unveil and subsequent release of the device,” Miller reports. “Kuo anticipates that both the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models of the iPhone 7 will feature Apple’s A10 chip. The analyst also does not provide color on rumors that the device will move away from metal in favor of a new casing material.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: There is definitely a market for a 4-inch iPhone – made the right way. In March, we ran the following poll and found:

4-inch iPhone MacDailyNews poll

Would the lack of 3D Touch be a deal-breaker for you? After using 3D Touch with our iPhone 6s Plus units, it would be for us.

Also, a new casing material that’s not “metal?” Bulk metallic glass, perhaps?

Why Apple might launch a new 4-inch iPhone in early 2016 – October 15, 2015
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. No.
    Identical to the other phones. Only the size differs.
    Somehow, some Apple pinhead is ignoring the first 6 years of the screen size that Apple and Steve said was the perfect size.

      1. All those phones have the same width — this defines perfect size much more than how tall the device is. Besides, with iPhone 5/s, Apple has made the phone noticeable thinner, what has partially compensated its bigger height, easing the grip and reachability of upper corners.

        That said, 3D touch is the future, it is critical. I would hate if Apple would release 4″ phone without it.

        1. There were many who talked about shimmying the iPhone 5 in their hands to reach the upper left corner. Height is just as relevant a dimension.

          Regardless, it took me less than a week to adjust to both my first 4″ phone (the 5s) and my first 4.7″ phone (the 6s), so it hasn’t been that big of a deal for this sample size of one.

  2. Since I just bought a 6s, I don’t face this choice, but if I had to choose between my 6s and a 4-inch phone with all its features except 3D Touch, it wouldn’t even be close. After days of practice, I still can’t use my phone one-handed. I would miss force-clicking, but I currently miss being able to reliably type an “A” even more.

  3. A 4″ iPhone would be perfect for me, but it would need to have complete feature compatibility including 3D Touch. It makes no sense to me that Apple can fit 3D Touch in a watch, but not in a 4″ iPhone.

    I understand the desire to differentiate models, but 3D Touch is not a whimsical bell or whistle that could be regarded as optional, it’s going to be a fundamental aspect of future IOS devices. It’s fair enough that things like 4x slow motion, image stabilisation or maybe wireless charging might only be available in the largest iPhones, they are not core features. All iPhones should operate in the same manner.

  4. 3D Touch is now part of Apples interface…removing that is not typical of Apples consistency across their product lineup. Though understandable as to why, lack of Image stabilization already gets enough complaints.

  5. Gee, in a few more years iPhones with their different screen sizes, and some have this Bluetooth and some don’t, and some have this screen feature and some don’t they’ll be just as fragmented as Android. Good job!

  6. I think 3D Touch will be included with all new iPhones no matter what the size. It is the feature that blows Android and MS out of the water. Tech people, like me, know care about 64bit and security; however you can’t see it or feel it. 3D Touch is easy to demonstrate and doesn’t need a lot of explaining. I like the size of my 5s, and I have heard some complaints from people with a 6/6s plus. The better camera is the big sell. A great 4″ would also give them a size advantage that others don’t have. It would make great headlines and debates.

  7. I think the most beautiful iPhone externally is iPhone 4/4S. It has “symmetry” in all direction, top to bottom, left to right, and even front to back (with the glass). I think Apple should reproduce THAT design with a 4″ (instead of 3.5″) screen, using the latest ultra-tough glass for the front and back that is half as thick as in the original. Call it “iPhone Classic.”

    1. I too think they could go all the way back down to 3.5″, which was found from endless trial and error at Apple to be the best size for a one-handed touch *phone*. They could market it as iPhone mini or whatever but it would sell a motza. I have the 6 but since I don’t watch or edit movies etc. on it, really wish it were smaller.

      1. With a smaller bezel, you can fit a slightly larger display in the same form factor.

        I strongly suspect that the two primary iPhone display considerations from Apple’s standpoint are the pixel ratio (maintain ~1.78 to enable display scaling across the existing iPhone product line) and the Retina display resolution (ppi) to maintain approximately the same relative feature size. Based on those drivers, any future 4″ iPhone will be like the existing iPhone 5s…

        iPhone 6s Plus is 5.5″, 1920×1080, 401 ppi
        iPhone 6s is 4.7″, 1334×750, 326 ppi
        Theoretical iPhone “Classic” would be 4″, 1136×640, 326 ppi just like the current iPhone 5s

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