Apple is reportedly making a smaller version of the iPhone 7 called the 'iPhone 7c'

For the first time ever, Apple released two new iPhones in different sizes last year when it launched the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Now, another report from Asia is claiming that Apple will bring back the smaller size option too with its next iPhone release.

Display manufacturer AU Optronics has reportedly locked in a deal with Apple to produce 4-inch screens for an upcoming iPhone, Chinese publication Economic Daily News reports.

This follows a report from Taiwanese industry publication Digitimes in March that indicated Apple is working on three new iPhones to be released later this year: the iPhone 6s, the iPhone 6s Plus, and the iPhone 6c.

There’s some debate as to what Apple will call its next iPhone(s). We won’t know for sure until Apple officially announces unveils it, but many speculate it will be called the iPhone 6s or iPhone 7. Economic Daily News refers to the standard-sized phone as the iPhone 7 and the smaller version as the iPhone 7c.

What’s strange about the Economic Daily News’ report, however, is that it says the new 4-inch iPhone is expected to ship in the first quarter of next year — not later this year in September when Apple usually unveils its new iPhones.

If Apple does release another 4-inch iPhone called the iPhone 7c or iPhone 6c, it will probably be a successor to the iPhone 5c — a cheaper version of the iPhone 5s that came with a colourful plastic body instead of brushed aluminium.

It’s important to note that both Digitimes and the Economic Daily News have shaky track records in terms of accuracy. Their information likely comes directly from Apple’s supply chain, and sometimes the components Apple’s manufacturers test don’t always make it into the final products. Economic Daily News has made some crazy predictions about the iPhone in the past, too — last November, it reported that Apple is working on a 3-D screen for its smartphones.

Regardless, the reports from Economic Daily News and Digitimes suggests that Apple could be at least thinking about releasing another 4-inch iPhone.

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