It’s only November, but Apple’s 2016 iPhone plans are starting to crystallize slowly but surely. According to a short message posted on the Weibo network by IHS Technology Research Director Kevin Wang, Apple is planning to release a 4-inch iPhone 6c in mid-2016.
Notably, this isn’t the first indication that Apple’s 2016 iPhone lineup may hit store shelves a little bit earlier than usual. Not too long ago, the typically reliable Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities issued a research note indicating that Apple in early 2016 is planning to launch a 4-inch iPhone model with an A9 processor. As it stands now, the only 4-inch iPhone model currently available from Apple is the iPhone 5s, a solid device to be sure, but one that’s more than two years old at this point.
While the iPhone 5c was hardly a stellar device sales wise, Apple arguably has to get a refreshed 4-inch iPhone model out on the market as soon as possible. The iPhone 6s models have garnered great reviews from critics and users alike, but there’s no denying that their large form factors are a bit unwieldy for large segments of the population.
Of course, with Apple enjoying healthier margins on its larger-screened iPhones, it stands to reason that the rumored iPhone 6c won’t come packed with every single feature available on Apple’s flagship devices. One rumor we heard recently indicated that Apple’s 4-inch iPhone model won’t come with 3D Touch, thereby directing users, every so subtly, towards the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.
As a final point, we should point out that Wang this past summer predicted a 4-inch iPhone 6c device would hit store shelves in 2015. Though that prediction seems highly unlikely to pan out, his current note regarding the iPhone 6c is undoubtedly bolstered by a similar report coming from Ming-Chi Kuo.
As to the somewhat delayed launch of a brand new 4-inch iPhone, it’s possible that Apple, perhaps, wanted to give its more profitable iPhone 6s models a bit of breathing room before releasing a lower-margin 4-inch device.