As 'iPhone 6c' rumors heat up, 20% of US consumers say they prefer 4-inch smartphones

Posted:
in iPhone
A new survey of U.S. smartphone users has revealed that 20 percent of consumers prefer a smaller handset in the 4-inch range, potentially signaling the market size for a refreshed entry-level iPhone from Apple.




Responding to the recent flurry of rumors suggesting Apple is working on a revamped 4-inch handset, investment firm Piper Jaffray polled 1,077 U.S. consumers to find out their preferred screen size. Of those surveyed. 20.3 percent said they prefer a 4-inch handset, which is the size of Apple's current iPhone 5s.

Larger screened offerings proved more popular in the poll --?31.2 percent said Apple's 4.7-inch form factor found in the iPhone 6s is ideal, while 27.2 percent said they prefer the larger 5.5-inch size of the iPhone 6s Plus. The remaining 21.2 percent said they would like a different screen size outside of 4, 4.7 and 5.5 inches.

To analyst Gene Munster, the poll suggests that a new 4-inch iPhone won't have a major effect on Apple's sales. He predicts that most consumers will find that they prefer the larger screen sizes once they become accustomed to them.

"We believe that part of the reason that over 20% of smartphone users still say they prefer a 4" screen size is they still have older model iPhones," Munster wrote. "When they upgrade to a 4.7" screen with an only slightly bigger footprint in the pocket, we expect those users would be converts to the larger screen size."




Munster predicts that a new 4-inch iPhone would be Apple's low-end model, priced at $450 off-contract, and replacing the outgoing iPhone 5s at that size and price. He expects that the so-called "iPhone 6c" will feature Touch ID and Apple Pay, but will not have 3D Touch input.

By recycling old components found in previous-generation iPhone models, he believes the company will be able to maintain its current high margins on a new iPhone model.

Most of Munster's predictions align with current rumors, except for timing. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that Apple could launch a new 4-inch iPhone in early 2016, but Munster doesn't believe that the company would launch a new handset so soon.

"If a 6C does launch, it seems more likely to come out with the iPhone 7 in fall 2016 rather than in early 2016," Munster said. "Further, we believe a smaller iPhone would not seem to have enough clout to carry a special event by itself, thus if it were to launch in early 2016, we believe it would have to happen in conjunction with the new Apple Watch, as that seems to be the spring event moving forward."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 59
    I prefer the 4" size. The iPhone 6 is too big and heavy.
  • Reply 2 of 59
    sirlance99sirlance99 Posts: 1,142member
    In your opinion.
  • Reply 3 of 59
    freerangefreerange Posts: 1,585member
    Once people actually spend a little time with a larger phone, like the 6s, this number will drop from 20% to 2! There is no going back!
  • Reply 4 of 59
    bobschlobbobschlob Posts: 1,074member
    freerange said:

    Once people actually spend a little time with a larger phone, like the 6s, this number will drop from 20% to 2! There is no going back!

    It's all anecdotal, isn't it? But I'm reading quite a few comments around the interweb from people saying they can't wait to ditch their 6 form phones to get back to the smaller size. And then an even larger number saying "Hooray, finally I will be able to upgrade from my iPhone 4 - 5 etc".
    (I personally am in that second category)
  • Reply 5 of 59
    Still loving my "old" 5S. The size is just right. Do I lust after the larger format? Sometimes, but then I look at my phone and think: No. No reason to upgrade -- it's perfect.
  • Reply 6 of 59
    palegolaspalegolas Posts: 1,274member
    4" is really pocketable. I think it's a good idea to spread out the releases. When stacked up with the flagship models the 4" will stand in the shadow. Releasing it together with something else would make it appear like hot stuff on its own. Perhaps as part of the iPod line refresh?
  • Reply 7 of 59
    mrboba1mrboba1 Posts: 268member
    sog35 said:

    smaceslin said:

    Still loving my "old" 5S. The size is just right. Do I lust after the larger format? Sometimes, but then I look at my phone and think: No. No reason to upgrade -- it's perfect.

    But have you ever used a bigger phone for an extended period of time?

    Its pretty easy to say you don't miss a big phone if you never used one for at least a week.

    I found that the 6+ with an AppleWatch is the perfect combo for me
    Agreed. Once I got the 6, I don't feel that it's unwieldy, and find going back to someone else's 5 as so tiny and unusable (for me) The 6 even fits easily in my pants' pockets. Often I don't even feel it, because it's thinner than the 5.

    I'm thinking about going to the 6S+ b/c I have the watch as well, but I don't think it's a pocket phone anymore.
  • Reply 8 of 59
    mubailimubaili Posts: 387member
    A9, 2GB memory, and 4inch? count me in. I always feel very alive whenever I pick up an old 5S.
  • Reply 9 of 59
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    I can't quote for some reason.

    But to the person above. The iPhone 6's thinness was no accident. Neither was their release of larger phones. Apple didn't wanna release a larger phone until it can be this slim.

    They could have released a bigger phone 4 years ago but they knew a big bulky phone like the Note was a bad idea. The technology wasn't ready yet. When I saw the thinness of the 6 it all made sense to me.

    I do not like this study because if Apple is developing a smaller phone, the competition will just rush something out. This study fuels the fire and you can bet Sammy and company are keeping a close eye. Right now there's no new small phones on the market.
    This is an obvious open market that Apple can take all by itself.

    A mid cycle "C" iPhone would disrupt the market and give the competition zero breathing room as they're constantly bombarded with new iPhones and iPhone hype.
  • Reply 10 of 59
    I alternate between a 5s(work) and a 6(mine). I actually prefer the 5s.
    I have really big hands yet the 6 feels just a tad too big even for my huge mits.

    A smaller phone would be great for when I replace the 6 and I have to give the 5s back for a crappy Lumina Yuk!
  • Reply 11 of 59
    It took me a long time to adjust to the larger screen of the 6 (from the 4s), but 15 months later I'm 90% there. I still do like to use my phone with one hand, and that's tricky sometimes with the the 6. I think if Apple made some changes to iOS so you rarely or never had to touch the top fifth of the screen, that would make it a lot easier--for example, if you could always swipe right instead of tapping the back or cancel button on the upper left corner of the screen, that would cover a lot of it. The interface was originally designed for a smaller screen, and there are still a few interface decisions left over from that time that should be revisited. It seems like a very easy way to improve usability.

    If they come out with a smaller phone that otherwise has all of the same power and features as the larger models, it would be a tough decision for me: slightly easier readability and typing vs. better portability and easy one-handed use.
  • Reply 12 of 59
    This is purely anecdotal, but I always thought I had the best screen size as I went up. I thought those Android phablets were ridiculous when they started coming out. I then got the iPhone 6, the smaller of the two new ones, but it felt huge at first. Then I got used to it and liked it. Then I daringly got the 6s Plus, even bigger. Felt huge at first, but now I think I prefer it too. Not sure I'd go much larger, since single handed operation is started to be a struggle and it's pretty tight in some pants, but looking at the older iPhones, they just seem so tiny. I like the Plus size now when I used to think it was ridiculous.
  • Reply 13 of 59
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,868member
    Certainly welcome news that Apple is planning to re-vitalize 4" iphone with new tech and survey confirms smaller form factor iPhone is very much desirable. I thought Apple and rest of the smartphone makers will kill smaller phones forever. But, now there is a hope for many who still using 4S and 5/5S for the last few years and can't let it go because there is no better similar smaller iphone alternative.
    With this, it will get the latest tech like VOLTE, ApplePay, VOWiFi, more LTE bands for seamless roaming, faster processor and possibly more RAM, better camera..etc..etc


  • Reply 14 of 59
    sandorsandor Posts: 505member
    i am definitely in the < 4" camp.

    i want my phone to unobtrusively fit in my pocket.

    i may have second thoughts when presbyopia sets in, but for now i want small.
  • Reply 15 of 59
    for me presbyopia has set in... But... my small thumbs don't navigate the 6s very well.
    Trade-offs.
    sandor said:

    i am definitely in the < 4" camp.
    [...]
    i may have second thoughts when presbyopia sets in, but for now i want small.

  • Reply 16 of 59
    wood1208 said:

    I thought Apple and rest of the smartphone makers will kill smaller phones forever. But, now there is a hope for many who still using 4S and 5/5S for the last few years and can't let it go because there is no better similar smaller iphone alternative.

    With this, it will get the latest tech like VOLTE, ApplePay, VOWiFi, more LTE bands for seamless roaming, faster processor and possibly more RAM, better camera..etc..etc

    1.8 (watch)
    4"
    4.7
    5.5
    8
    10
    12

    I think Apple has all the sizes covered. I moved from a 4s to a 6s, and it was like 32" SD to 47" 1080P smartTV.

    64bit, M7, TouchID, Apple Pay, Watch integration, strong LTE (always connected)... that's the baseline stuff. The rest is just edge case candy.
  • Reply 17 of 59
    mr omr o Posts: 1,046member
    I invite you to watch Apple's latest ads. It is more about you asking a question to Siri than swiping your jumbo screen:

    https://youtu.be/GbL39Vald9E

    I wonder if Apple would make the iPhone even smaller, something in between 3.5 inch and 4 inch.
  • Reply 18 of 59
    I still want an updated 3.5" FTW.

    (it fit in my Levis jacket breast pocket perfectly)
  • Reply 19 of 59
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    sog35 said:

    bobschlob said:

    freerange said:

    Once people actually spend a little time with a larger phone, like the 6s, this number will drop from 20% to 2! There is no going back!

    It's all anecdotal, isn't it? But I'm reading quite a few comments around the interweb from people saying they can't wait to ditch their 6 form phones to get back to the smaller size. And then an even larger number saying "Hooray, finally I will be able to upgrade from my iPhone 4 - 5 etc".
    (I personally am in that second category)
    I found that most who say they prefer 4 inch phones on forums are actually trolls (not saying you are).

    I check those people's post history and most of them are chronic Apple concerned trolls.

    sog35 said:

    smaceslin said:

    Still loving my "old" 5S. The size is just right. Do I lust after the larger format? Sometimes, but then I look at my phone and think: No. No reason to upgrade -- it's perfect.

    But have you ever used a bigger phone for an extended period of time?

    Its pretty easy to say you don't miss a big phone if you never used one for at least a week.

    I found that the 6+ with an AppleWatch is the perfect combo for me
    To each his/her own. I have a 6s. The only reason I upgraded from my 5s was for performance (which is in part a victim of iOS bloat). If there was 6s class performance in a 5s form factor that's what I would have gotten. Of course, I also have an iPad mini so if I need a bigger screen for anything I use that.

    If I could only have a single device, the 6s would be the best choice. But many people have multiple devices. In that case, I'd prefer that the one device I will always have on me, my phone, be as portable as possible. I participate in many activities where carrying a 6+ would be completely absurd.
  • Reply 20 of 59
    How about correcting glass issues first and then talk about size? I use both 5S and 6 (one personal and another corporate). 6S screen broke in one month from when I got new. 5S was somewhat more resilient... for last two years with no screen issues.

    As far as suggestions: "buy screen protector and case", do you buy slick and nice iPhone then to get any of those ugly protection means to put on it and to make it ugly and bulky?

    iPhone 6 is better for many people (bigger keyboard and fonts so you do not need to have small and precise fingertips to type) so it is more practical for e-mails as communication means than 5S, but it is last model that fits most of shirt pockets without any case or protectors.

    So be practical when you talk about sizes. It is not abstract subject. Not everybody treats it as hand gadget to walk with and many treat it as just a tool that has to be carried somewhere in pocket where it may meet even things like home or car keys.
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