Apple’s rumored 4-inch iPhone would fill an oddly empty niche; does anyone really want a tiny iPhone?

“When does a form factor die? When Adele shut her flip phone in ‘Hello,’ it was supposed to be a symbol of the past. Phones with physical QWERTY keyboards also seem to have mostly bitten the dust,” Sascha Segan writes for PC Magazine. “Now we can ask the question about smaller smartphones, too, and we may see Apple offer up the answer early next year.”

It’s rumored that “Apple intends to replace the iPhone 5c with a small, A9-powered ‘6c’ or ‘7c’ in [early 2016],” Segan writes. “As phones get bigger, I’ve been hearing complaints from many readers and friends—primarily women in urban areas, who want to use their phones in one, smaller-sized hand—that current premium Android phones are just too big. Those people flock to Apple’s iPhone 6 line, which at 2.64 inches is the narrowest premium smartphone out there right now.”

“A $499 iPhone would indeed create pressure on a burgeoning new category of competing semi-premium, mid-sized smartphones, probably limiting them to $400 or lower,” Segan writes. “But more than a pricing game, I’m interested in seeing this as a real test to see if there’s still a market for high-quality, smaller smartphones. While there are still a whole bunch of 4 to 4.5-inch smartphones in the market—especially globally—they’re generally super cheap, and bought because of price rather than quality. An Apple phone changes that equation.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Well, we know that an unapologetically plastic 4-inch iPhone with old technology didn’t exactly take the market by storm (but it was no “flop,” either), but there might be a decent enough market for a high-quality, state-of-the-art 4-incher from Apple.

If KGI Securities’ analyst Ming-Chi Kuoo is correct about this 4-inch “iPhone 6c” lacking 3D Touch it could temper response to the device. Of course, such a situation could also spur potential buyers to simply upgrade to the iPhone 6s to get 3D Touch (and a better camera and a larger screen), depending on how the pricing is structured.

In March, we ran the following poll regarding a 4-inch iPhone and found:

4-inch iPhone MacDailyNews poll

SEE ALSO:
Rumor: Apple will be unveiling the 4-inch iPhone 7c next September, not an ‘iPhone 6c’ in February – December 4, 2015
Analyst: Apple’s new 4-inch iPhone will feature state-of-the-art A9 chip, launch in early 2016 – December 3, 2015
Rumor: Apple to launch 4-inch iPhone 6c with colorful metal cases in February 2016 – December 1, 2015
Apple’s forthcoming 4-inch iPhone to be powered by Apple A8 SoC, sources say – November 17, 2015
KGI: Apple to release new 4-inch iPhone in early 2016; A9-powered, but no 3D Touch – November 4, 2015
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

40 Comments

  1. Only for 69.69 or 200.00 with 2 year unlimited plan included. Let’s be clear, 200 dollar for a 4 inch iPhone and unlimited phone calls and unlimited data and unlimited text.

    Otherwise don’t waste the money thinking about it.

      1. The niche for 4″ iPhone is hundreds of millions of 3.5″/4″ iPhone owners who did not upgrade and unwilling to upgrade to bigger iPhones. So whole premise of the cited article is ridiculous.

        1. By the way, 3D Touch is UI paradigm of the future, it will be available on all touch devices. Our children will some day wonder: “REALLY? There was a time in the past when phones could not understand if I touch the screen or press it harder?!”

          So no, I am strictly against the new 4″ iPhone without 3D Touch, I hope the analyst is wrong about it. If he is not wrong (then it would be another dumb Apple’s decision), though, then I will be forced to go to 4.7″ size since I want to be in the modern UI paradigm, not stuck in the past.

        2. I want an iPhone that has the new features but fits into my pockets like my 5S does. I’ve skipped the 6 and 6S because they’re both too big to fit in a standard shirt pocket.

      2. To me, these enormous iPhones 6 where the saddest news of all. What i need IS a TINY iPhone! This has NOTHING to do with “Samsung Marketing”… I need a smartphone, a good organizer and communication device, not a movie theatre, fitting well in a standard pocket!

  2. Henry Ford was once famously quoted as saying “Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black.”

    It’s time for Apple to stop listening to Ford and make the small iPhone.
    Everyone is different.

    1. The Other Steve is correct. There are smartphone size-sensitive segments in the market.

      Make a first-rate, small iPhone and there will be buyers. My wife and I will be two of them, trading in our 5 and 5s when that option is available. Until then, we struggle on with what we have.

      1. What do you mean “struggle”? Perhaps you’re just being facetious. I think the 5/5S is a great form factor if people really want a smaller iPhone, but it’d be too simple for Apple to upgrade the internals. If Apple does actually release something like this I hope they’d retain 3D touch, but if that was the only thing left out I don’t think it’d be a dealbreaker for those committed to getting a smaller phone.

        1. The 5s has a really classic nice and timeless design and it would be worth to upgrade it, the way we recently read articles about a 5s Mark II. Newer processor, newer camera for 4k Video and it has my interest.
          3D is nothing, I would be interested in. The manufactoring line still works, would be easy to replace logicboard and camera. All the 5c and todays 6 models are not for me.

  3. I’ve seen some rumors of Samsung and others working on an updated flip phone. If made with two AMOLED touch screens I could see this being a viable product.

    Let’s face it, there’s always someone wanting a changeup from the same old thing, and if done right I could see myself going for one. Of course I still reminisce over my old Motorola StarTac flipper.

  4. Apple’s MO is to squeeze the competition from the top down. A lower cost 4 inch screen with most of the features of the 6S will put more pressure on other vendors. Time put the knife in.

    1. Do you have a bulky case? I don’t use a case (defeats the utility of a thin phone), so my 6 fits just fine in my jeans and shirt pocket. I’m 5’9..

      That said, my 3GS, which still works wonderfully (because I didn’t update the OS), is an awesome phone and a great size ..for a phone. Thing is, this is more than a phone to most people, and the bigger screen really comes in handy. For those who want more of a phone and less computer, I imagine a 4 incher would be a great compromise.

      1. You’re right about screen size, but that explains why phablets are popular in the 3rd world (especially with women who carry purses) but not in North America. Pushing beyond 4″ forced Apple to make software tweaks so users could tap the top of the screen etc. That shows you just how inappropriate big phones are. Even the almighty John Gruber has said flatly, he would do anything for a powerful 4″ iPhone.

    2. You don’t have tiny hands, but you must have tiny pants. I carry the 6+ with me all the time and it fits fine. It’s a little snug in skinnier jeans, but it’s not a problem at all. Like the Apple Watch it takes a little time to adjust to and then you forget about the way you did things before. Unless you’ve owned a larger-screened phone you can’t know that 4″ is the perfect size for you. I couldn’t wait to go from the 4S to the 6+, not a tall/skinny 5S.

  5. I’m still using a 3.5inch iPhone 4, and it’s a good size for me. A 4inch screen would also be ideal. The larger screen is beginning to be too big for me as I carry my phone in my pocket all day at work (at a factory where I’m carrying heavy furniture and working with machinery).

    So yes… this new 4inch iPhone is the one that I’m waiting for.

      1. I think just the idea of the large screen is too big for him 😉 Yes it’s a nonsensical post. If you can carry heavy furniture and work with machinery, a 6oz phone in your pocket all day is nothing.

    1. Agreed. I have an iP6 that is in under insurance with a cracked screen and have borrowed an el cheapo 3.2″ Samsung. It’s a plastic phone with a crappy screen but it’s exactly the right size for a cell phone – it fits securely in your hand or top pocket with no overhang. Yes, I’d trade the iP6 for lightweight 3.5 or 4″-er.

  6. The 5s I had was the perfect size. The new 6s is too big (not by much). But the difference is enough to mean I can’t use the phone with one hand anymore. My thumb won’t reach the lower left corner where buttons often are.

    I need a one-handed cell phone !!

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