Launch Date of 4-Inch iPhone Stirs Discussion

Posted by Kirhat | Sunday, January 03, 2016 | | 0 comments »

4-Inch iPhone
Ever since Apple started producing big variants such as the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, rumors have been circulating about the possibility of a new 4-inch iPhone. Some thought it would arrive with the 6s lineup, but that didn’t happen.

Now, new reports are calling for an early 2016 launch. A late December report from AppleInsider hinted at a January production date for the smaller iPhone.

During a December China Mobile presentation, a slide allegedly mentioned that the iPhone 6c or 7c would launch in April 2016 at the carrier. It's unclear though if April is the estimated date for the 4-inch iPhone’s launch worldwide or just at China Mobile. Additionally, the Chinese ccarrier’s device roadmap could be working off of assumptions and rumors about the iPhone 6C, too, so take the report with a healthy dose of skepticism.

Earlier reports are conflicted on the launch date. Noted KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has often correctly divined Apple’s plans in the past, said that the 4-inch iPhone could arrive in early 2016. Kuo believes that Apple wants to meet its customers' demand for a smaller iPhone, adding that the company could sell 20 million units over the course of a year. The analyst predicted that production will kick off in the first quarter of 2016, and the iPhone 6c will launch early on in the year.

In keeping with Apple’s traditionally high prices, the mid-range 4-inch iPhone could be priced between US$ 400 and US$ 500 in the United States. Although the price point isn't too far away from the iPhone 6s’ hefty price tag, Kuo’s prediction would be in line with iPhone 5c pricing.

A report from Chinese news site TechWeb, citing Foxconn insiders, claims Apple might launch the iPhone 6c in February 2016, with an event supposedly set for January 2016. It is the first time a leak has mentioned the month, with earlier rumors suggesting the phone might launch in the first quarter next year.

In October, GforGames spotted a Weibo post from China’s IHS Technology Research Director Kevin Wang. In the note, he hints that the 4-inch iPhone 6c could launch in mid-2016.

A research report published by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also claims that Apple is still planning to launch a 4-inch iPhone, despite the no-show at Apple’s September event. Earlier this year, Kuo stated in a note to investors obtained by AppleInsider that Apple won't launch the 4-inch iPhone 6c until 2016. Kuo expects Apple to launch the 4-inch iPhone at its new March event, where we may also see an update to the Apple Watch and MacBook.

The information published by Kuo correlates with a note from Ananda Baruah of Brean Capital to investors, obtained by Business Insider, stating that the 4-inch iPhone will arrive in the spring of 2016. Baruah and Kuo are backed by a few other analysts who claim the 4-inch iPhone is real and will launch early next year, before the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.

"A new lower-end iPhone — either a smaller functional iPhone model or iPhone 6 sized phone,” Baruah wrote. "This would allow AAPL to tap into emerging market / lower functional ASP-sensitive areas of the smartphone market."

An August report from DigiTimes cited supply chain sources who claim that Apple will launch the iPhone 6c in the second quarter of 2016. DigiTimes also published a report earlier in the year that said it would launch with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, which turned out to be false.

In July, Jefferies analyst Ange Wu wrote in advice to clients that Foxconn — a major Apple supplier — had won the contract to build at least half of the total number of iPhone 6c units. Wu’s report claimed the 4-inch iPhone would release in 2016, similar to Kuo and Baruah comments.

Analyst Timothy Arcuri of Cowen and Company stated the 4-inch iPhone had been scrapped in July. Arcuri was the first to comment on the 4-inch iPhone, but said the phone had disappeared from Apple's internal networks, perhaps due to the company pushing the launch date to early 2016.

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