Is a New 4 Inch iPhone on the Horizon?

24 January 2016

Rumor has it that a new, smaller iPhone will hit shelves during March or April. Right now, the grapevine pegs the curious device as the “iPhone 5se”, although word originally had it would debut as the “iPhone 6c”.

If true, it will be a 4-inch phone with upgraded internals when compared to the original iPhone 5s from 2013.

9to5mac reports an 8MP camera with 1.2MP front-facing camera, a curved glass design like that on the iPhone and 6s, the same A8 and M8 chips as the iPhone 6, and a silver, space gray, gold, and rose gold color pallet.

With these specifications, expect this elusive miniPhone to come with a significantly lower price point than the flagship iPhone 6s and 6s Plus models; probably something around the level of the current iPhone 5s, which will likely be discontinued itself.

How likely is it?

There’s no telling at this point whether or not this information is trust-worthy. Two arguments against the “iPhone 5se” are relatively self-evident.

  1. Apple already tried a similar approach in 2013 with the iPhone 5c, which debuted alongside the flagship iPhone 5s. At the time, the 5c was intended to take the lower-tier spot; traditionally held by a supplanted iPhone from the previous year. The scheme didn’t do terribly, but Apple’s decision to cancel it after only its first year is certainly suggestive. The release of an “iPhone 5se” would be taking it one step further: supplanting a phone from 2.5 generations back, instead of just 1.
  2. March/April is not part of the iPhone release cycle; Apple releases new iPhones around the end of September. As a rule, the company tries to make things as simple as possible for its customers; planting a new iPhone squarely 6 months out of sync with the flagship release would seem a violation of this carefully crafted image. If we are to see an iPhone 5se, it would seem more likely to hit shelves around, or slightly after, the next run of flagship models.

These criticisms aside, the 5se makes sense for one very good reason: size. The increase to a 4.7 inch screen for the iPhone 6 and 6s was the correct move from a general standpoint, but you won’t have trouble finding more than a few Apple fans that are still unhappy about the change.

Bringing in an upgraded version of the iPhone 5s, which is currently the last bastion of the 4 inch iPhone, makes sure that Apple can hang on to those fans of smaller screens for at least a little while longer.



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