- 905 words -
I didn’t want to miss out because of this little hiatus I’m on, mostly because I might be in the market for something like this.
A forum thread on One More Thing features photos of what looks to be an iPhone 6c, a 4” iPhone with a 6/6s-like design, beside an iPhone 5. It seems to be almost exactly the size of a 5 from the front view, but what’s interesting is that the screen is still 4.7”, the same size as the 6/6s.
I think this is what those holding off on the 6/6s design are looking for. From what I’ve heard from switchers to the 6/6s design from the 5/5s design, screen size matters.
It’s important to note that this is different from the size of the device. I believe there’s still a market for an iPhone 5s that’s simply been upgraded internally, but perhaps the reason why they’re reluctant to go larger in the first place is due to the increase in size of the device, not necessarily the increase in size of the screen. In fact, I believe that the same market would easily adapt to, if not enjoy, using a 4.7” screen.
I’m almost sure that the iPhone 6c would sell like hotcakes, given significant improvements in either battery life, processing power, price, etc. from the 5s. It would probably sell more than an internally-improved 5s.
This rumoured device could effectively act as a lower tier to the larger 6/6s models in the same way the 6/6s is a lower tier to the 6/6s Plus, in that what model you’ll want to buy will depend more on how you intend to use your phone personally rather than which phone is objectively better than the others. If that were the case, the majority of new iPhone users would be on the 6s Plus, which I’d wager isn’t the reality of it.
In this hypothetical scenario, I’d imagine that choosing the 6s over the 6c would buy a bit more battery and processing power.
Although personally, I can’t help but think that the 6c is a 6s replacement. We’ve only seen a “c” model once before - the iPhone 5c - which was designed as a repackaging of the 5 that came before it. In the near future, we could be having a 6c model doing just that for the 6s.
The rumour appears to have some legitimacy, as well. Even from just the pictures, you can tell that the build-quality of the prototype is quite good. Scroll further down the thread you’ll find a commenter pointing out that the pictures might be coming from the same guy who accurately leaked photos of an iPad Air in 2013.
Although, the reputable Mark Gurman refutes this on 9to5Mac:
"That purported 4-inch “iPhone 6c” floating around the web yesterday? It’s fake, according to sources who have used the upcoming iPhone with a 4-inch display... Apple is upgrading the existing iPhone 5s that was first released in fall 2013...
The new device is internally codenamed “N69,” but the launch name will likely be the "iPhone 5se." "
The difference between the two rumoured devices are subtle, but there are always tea leaves to read with Apple.
On one hand, there’s the 6c, a device that might not only attract the 4” market, but maybe even some users of the existing 6/6s who are looking for a smaller phone as well, at least those who only care for good specs, but not the latest. It’ll also depend on the price, but to me, a 5s-sized phone with a 4.7” screen sounds like a conceptually better device.
Then there’s the iPhone 5se, which sounds like stuffing as much of whatever they have now (i.e. “The same 8 megapixel rear camera and 1.2 megapixel front camera systems from the iPhone 6”, “An NFC chip for Apple Pay”, “Live Photos from the iPhone 6s”, etc. - according to Gurman) into the four-year-old design of the iPhone 5/5s - a great design, but one that’s definitely run its course by the time the 5se is expected to launch - with the curved edges of the 6/6s, perhaps among other cosmetic changes.
It also sounds like an awfully niche product - by standards of the overall iPhone market today, that is - with no purpose other than catering to the basest demands of the 4” market, thereby achieving some of Apple’s internal growth objectives, particularly widespread adoption of its services and software e.g. Apple Pay, latest version of iOS.
It’s like how Apple recently upgraded the iPod touch line with better internals, perhaps done to simply enable the latest software to even run at all. Anything less could’ve rendered the device either outdated (forced to run an old version of iOS) or far from ideal (running the latest iOS but making the device slow and clunky). The latest iPod touch is still a good product - it’s still their thinnest iOS device - but the decision itself shows reluctance, if not a lack of innovation.
I think the 5se holds more legitimacy, which is a bit of a shame, but it can still be a solid, serviceable device. I’m still holding out for the 6c, because it sounds like it has the potential to be my ideal iPhone.