4-inch iPhone rumors

In the spirit of replying to podcast topics with blog posts, I have some comments after listening to a recent Clockwise. It was another great episode, featuring hosts Jason Snell and Dan Moren, and guests Christina Warren and Susie Ochs.

The panel was split on the likelihood of a new 4-inch iPhone from Apple. Apple is a company of patterns, so it seems counterintuitive that they’d release a new phone in the Winter or Spring instead of the Fall. But doing so has a couple of nice advantages: first, you can bump up an otherwise slow sales quarter with a new product; and second, you don’t hurt sales of the primary iPhones (the 6S and 6S Plus) by confusing buyers with another choice. Customers perfectly happy with their iPhone 6 from last year, and who were planning on buying a 6S as a natural upgrade, now would be faced with an unexpected choice in screen size if the 4-inch phone had been announced alongside the 6S.

Everyone also seems to forget about the newest 4-inch iPod Touch. It went on sale in July, features an A8 processor, better camera than the iPhone 5S, and sells for only $199. It’s easy to imagine Apple basing a new 4-inch iPhone on this design, reusing both the screen and many of the internal components from the iPod Touch.

Apple has sold a lot of iPhone 6 and 6S phones. But there are also a lot of 4-inch devices out in the world: of course the iPhone 5, 5C, and 5S, but also every iPod Touch sold in the last few years. There are many people who would love to replace their old phone with a new one that’s better and faster, but not bigger.

Manton Reece @manton