Apple once considered making a new version of the iPhone 6 with a 4-inch screen, according to Timothy Arcuri, an analyst with Cowen and Company.
Information Arcuri has gathered from sources as well as supply chain research indicated that Apple was all set to produce what he referred to as an “iPhone 6-looking version of the iPhone 5C.”
It would look and feel just like the iPhone 6, and it would run on the same internal components as Apple’s current flagship. But, it would come with a 4-inch screen just like Apple’s previous iPhones.
The idea would be to offer another low-cost option for those who wanted a new iPhone but didn’t want to splurge on Apple’s next model, which is expected to be called the iPhone 6S.
Arcuri said he had seen evidence of this smaller iPhone 6, which he referred to as the iPhone 6C, in Apple’s supply chain from January through March. But now, traces of the phone have disappeared.
Arcuri speculates as to why Apple could have halted or killed off the project.
“I think one of the reasons is because the iPhone 6 has sold so well,” Arcuri said. “And they said, ‘Look, why would we want to cannibalise? If we came out with an iPhone 6C, we would essentially cannibalise a price-reduced iPhone 6.'”
And they said, ‘Look, why would we want to cannibalise? If we came out with an iPhone 6C, we would essentially cannibalise a price-reduced iPhone 6.’
Arcuri has said in the past that believes the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will continue to sell well even after Apple releases its new iPhones — especially if Apple reduces the phones’ price.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard talk of a 4-inch metal iPhone. The analysts at Jeffries wrote at the end of June that Apple could be creating a low-cost metal iPhone with a 4-inch screen that would be called the iPhone 6C to be released in 2016. The note from Jefferies, however, didn’t mention whether or not the phone would have the same components and design as the iPhone 6. Arcuri has also mentioned that Apple could be working on a new 4-inch iPhone in a previous note to clients from December.
It’s also important to keep in mind that just because there’s evidence in the supply chain, that doesn’t necessarily mean Apple will ever actually release a smaller version of the iPhone 6. Even if the signals Arcuri and the analysts at Jefferies have picked up on are correct, it’s possible that the product won’t make it to market.
Apple, like most technology companies, tests different types of products all the time before deciding if it wants to actually launch them. It’s possible that this is one of those scenarios, although Arcuri acknowledges that there’s a chance Apple will release this miniature iPhone 6 in the future.
It’s also worth noting that Arcuri has a mixed track record, too. He was just slightly off in predicting the size of the iPhone 6’s screen (he said 4.8 inches, but it’s 4.7), and he previously said the iPhone 6 Plus would have a more powerful processor than the iPhone 6.
We’ll know for sure when Apple decides to unveil its next phone, which is expected to happen in September as it has done in years past.
We’ve reached out to Apple for comment and will update this post accordingly when we hear back.