Apple 'unlikely' to launch new 4-inch iPhone model this year, insider says

Posted:
in iPhone edited May 2015
Sales of the 4-inch iPhone 5s remain strong, suggesting to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo that Apple likely won't debut a new handset in that size this year, leaving an upgraded model with Apple Pay support potentially on hold until 2016.


Apple's 4-inch iPhone 5s (left) and iPhone 5c were the last models to sport 4-inch displays.


In a new note to investors on Wednesday, a copy of which was obtained by AppleInsider, the KGI Securities analyst said that he expects the iPhone 5c to go end of life this year. That will make the iPhone 5s Apple's new low-end iPhone offering this fall.

While he doesn't expect the company to revamp its 4-inch handset this year, he said it is likely that the company will debut a new low-end 4-inch model in 2016.

A new 4-inch iPhone model in 2016 will "be key to extending momentum" for users who prefer smaller phones, Kuo said. He also believes that an updated 4-inch handset would "complete the Apple Pay ecosystem" by adding support for NFC-based tap-to-pay transactions.

The prediction by Kuo stands in contrast to rumors of an alleged "iPhone 6c" launching later this year. It was suggested that Apple could repackage the parts of the iPhone 5s and give it a plastic back, much like the company did in transitioning the iPhone 5 to the iPhone 5c.

Alleged leaked parts for a supposed iPhone 6c surfaced online last month, helping to fuel speculation of a new 4-inch handset this fall.




The lack of a new 4-inch handset this fall would not be surprising, as Apple abandoned that size when it debuted new, larger models last year. The company's flagship iPhone 6 sports a 4.7-inch display, while the jumbo-sized iPhone 6 Plus features a 5.5-inch screen, and the larger form factors have led Apple to its best iPhone sales to date.

As for Apple Pay, it remains exclusive to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, but tap-to-pay functionality will come to older iPhone models this Friday when the Apple Watch debuts. Pairing an Apple Watch with an older handset as far back as the iPhone 5 will give users Apple Pay support at retail.

The iPhone 5s debuted in 2013 and was the first Apple handset to feature the Touch ID fingerprint sensor. The device lacks the NFC chip required for Apple Pay found in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

Kuo has an extremely accurate track record in predicting Apple's future hardware product plans. For example, last year he correctly detailed much of the information about the Apple Watch, including components, materials, and launch window.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 98
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,321member
    The 5S is no slouch. It has everything one needs for apple pay (or does it?) and the apple watch. I think this plan actually makes sense.
  • Reply 2 of 98
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Eriamjh View Post



    The 5S is no slouch. It has everything one needs for apple pay (or does it?) and the apple watch. I think this plan actually makes sense.

    Doesn't have the NFC chip unfortunately, so no Apple Pay.  :embarrass

     

    It does have the Watch app on it though.  I though It came with iOS 8.2.

     

    I still love mine - works great, although the battery drains a bit quicker than I'd like.  I'll probably upgrade to a Plus at the end of the year.

  • Reply 3 of 98
    fh-acefh-ace Posts: 49member
    Think that this is a mistake. There are many people who like the 4" form factor that already have a 5S who will be ready for upgrades this fall. I know my wife and a few of our friends will not be upgrading to a larger size screen so it seems like lost sales for Apple.
  • Reply 4 of 98
    I really really want a new 4" model but I guess I'm in the minority. I like the 6 but it's still more cumbersome than the 5 series was. Maybe if they make the 6s sides less slippery it'll be better to wield. I'm one of those that doesn't use a case. Haven't since the 3G.
  • Reply 5 of 98
    mrshowmrshow Posts: 154member

    I would bet any amount of money that this isn't true. 

  • Reply 6 of 98
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,025member
    I want the 4" as well. Please!
  • Reply 7 of 98
    cgs268cgs268 Posts: 55member
    Yeah... Why go for a new 4 inch model now?
    The future belongs to bigger phones and smaller laptops! Let's move forward.

    Personally I'd love a slightly bigger iPhone Plus so I can get rid of my iPad mini...
  • Reply 8 of 98
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,521member
    That would be not so smart. Unless Apple has some technology in pipeline for 2016 iphone launch that would not change for few years so 4" don't have to remake in 2017 or 2018 and the same model can carry over for few years for 4" iphone lovers with Apple Pay/NFC built-in.
  • Reply 9 of 98
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by alcstarheel View Post



    I really really want a new 4" model but I guess I'm in the minority. I like the 6 but it's still more cumbersome than the 5 series was. Maybe if they make the 6s sides less slippery it'll be better to wield. I'm one of those that doesn't use a case. Haven't since the 3G.

    Me too. The 6 is a wonderful phone, but as a runner, it just seems a little too big to carry. My current 4s is a good size, but way too heavy. (I wish I had never gone to the Apple store and handled the 5s. So light compared to the 4s.)

     

    I think I'm right, in that, the AppleWatch for running, GPS, etc., needs for me to carry the iPhone as well. If that's the case, I'll forgo GPS and carrying the iPhone and just concentrate on HR while only wearing the watch. Oh well.

     

    Best.

  • Reply 10 of 98
    inklinginkling Posts: 731member
    Apple would be foolish not to retain a 4-inch model. Many people don't like larger phones. They want one that is compact, easy to put away, and easy to hold.
  • Reply 11 of 98
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,296member

    If true, I'll be hanging on to my 5 when I upgrade later this year for situations where I don't require a large phone.

  • Reply 12 of 98
    When the 6 came out I had many friends say "this is way to big I hate it". Now that they have used the 6 for a while now they absolutely love it. Apple still should upgrade the 4" if the demand is there for the 5S so it can have the new features it deserves. From a financial standpoint Apple's strategy on using legacy devices makes sense. Not sure from the consumer perspective it is very well received. I have the 6 so don't really have a dog in this fight.
  • Reply 13 of 98
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,615member

    I think there is more to this than meets the eye. Apple is pretty methodical about these kinds of things, and iPhone is clearly the goose that is laying the golden eggs. With the Watch spooling up, it is possible that a large segment of the customer base will simply have no need for a biggish phone screen. 

     

    I can see Apple slowly and methodically making a wide range of mobile device sizes. The challenge to this is the manufacturing and logistics of handing many, many products simultaneously, even if many of the devices have some common parts.  Hard to read just what the timeline is like though. What is clear is that Apple's strategy is to tie all their technologies together - the "continuity" concept across whatever device you have.

  • Reply 14 of 98
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    IF this report turns out to be true then obviously Apple has data that shows the 4" model isn't a big percentage of sales. Personally I thought I was going to HATE a larger phone but I've been using the 4.7" iPhone 6 since October and there's no way I would ever go back go anything smaller. I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels that way.
  • Reply 15 of 98
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by eightzero View Post

     

    I think there is more to this than meets the eye. Apple is pretty methodical about these kinds of things, and iPhone is clearly the goose that is laying the golden eggs. With the Watch spooling up, it is possible that a large segment of the customer base will simply have no need for a biggish phone screen. 

     

    I can see Apple slowly and methodically making a wide range of mobile device sizes. The challenge to this is the manufacturing and logistics of handing many, many products simultaneously, even if many of the devices have some common parts.  Hard to read just what the timeline is like though. What is clear is that Apple's strategy is to tie all their technologies together - the "continuity" concept across whatever device you have.


    Good points...I'm thinking the AppleWatch with Siri and a small, separate "pager" like device on your belt. Basically, an iPhone sans the screen. Just the basic guts and battery to do the heavy lifting, as it were. Men could carry it on their belt, women carry it in their purse. Update it, at home using iPad or a Mac.



    ?You heard it here first! :)

     

    Best

  • Reply 16 of 98
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 4,028member
    inkling wrote: »
    Apple would be foolish not to retain a 4-inch model. Many people don't like larger phones. They want one that is compact, easy to put away, and easy to hold.
    you know better than Apple marketing researchers? Maybe, those who want 4" version are just getting 5S now, well not because of the size but the price.
    Also, when did Apple release new model in the mid-term refresh? If new 4" possible, you may see it in 2016. But really, why would Apple want to make the 4" version for low demands. People who whine are not people who buy...iPad Mini is one example...
    Btw, how can Apple price the 4" version next to 4.7" and 5.5"? Don't tell me it'll be $549, $649, $749.
  • Reply 17 of 98
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,679member

    I seriously doubt that the 5S will stay current in its exact form for another year. I would expect minor changes that would include the NFC chip. Apple will want that in as many handsets as possible.

  • Reply 18 of 98
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    eightzero wrote: »
    I think there is more to this than meets the eye. Apple is pretty methodical about these kinds of things, and iPhone is clearly the goose that is laying the golden eggs. With the Watch spooling up, it is possible that a large segment of the customer base will simply have no need for a biggish phone screen. 

    I can see Apple slowly and methodically making a wide range of mobile device sizes. The challenge to this is the manufacturing and logistics of handing many, many products simultaneously, even if many of the devices have some common parts.  Hard to read just what the timeline is like though. What is clear is that Apple's strategy is to tie all their technologies together - the "continuity" concept across whatever device you have.

    To me the Watch makes larger screen phones all the more compelling. I'm actually surprised Apple hasn't done more to make this connection. I'll get a bigger phone with amazing battery life that I can keep in my handbag or briefcase because notifications and quick interactions are readily available on my watch. I don't need a 5" screen to view/respond to a notification. I'll save my 5" screen (and battery life) for when I want to browse the internet, watch movies, play games, etc.
  • Reply 19 of 98
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 4,028member
    rogifan wrote: »
    IF this report turns out to be true then obviously Apple has data that shows the 4" model isn't a big percentage of sales. Personally I thought I was going to HATE a larger phone but I've been using the 4.7" iPhone 6 since October and there's no way I would ever go back go anything smaller. I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels that way.
    no, you are not the only one; there're other 74.5 million people around the world with you too.
  • Reply 20 of 98
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    sog35 wrote: »
    Like I've been saying for months.

    We won't be seeing a top end 4 inch phone or a round Apple Watch.

    Sept new line up will be:

    iPhone 6S+ $299
    iPhone 6S  $199

    iPhone 6C - $99 - basically iPhone6 in plastic - 4.7 inch screen

    iPhone 5S - $0

    What is still in the air is an iPhone Edition.  

    I could see a solid gold iPhone 6S+ Edition selling for $5k

    You don't wear phones, they're not jewelry. A solid gold iPhone would be stupid.
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