Apple's 4-inch iPhone 6c: All the Rumors We Know

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Touch ID and Apple Pay It’s likely the new iPhone 6c will incorporate Touch ID (which first debuted on the 4-inch iPhone 5s), as well as a near field communication chip for Apple Pay. But Apple is likely to leave out the pressure-sensitive 3D Touch display found on iPhone 6s models, in order to separate the cheaper 6c from the higher-end iPhone models. Image credit: Apple.

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A possible early launch KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo thinks that Apple may launch the device in early 2016 and Ananda Baruah from Brean Capital says the phone may launch in early spring 2016. But Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster believes an early launch is unlikely. While it’s possible Apple could launch the device soon, it would be a significant break from Apple’s typical fall iPhone launch schedule.

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Small, yet powerful While there have been reports that the iPhone 6c will have an A8 processor, Kuo believes that the new 4-inch iPhone will sport Apple’s A9 processor, currently found in the new iPhone 6s. Image credit: Apple.

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Slight design change A recently leaked image on Apple’s website showed what appeared to be a red, 4-inch iPhone with a Touch ID sensor sitting in a charging dock. This has spurred rumors that Apple will use colorful plastic casings for the new iPhone (the 5c was the only iPhone that had a red casing, but it never had a Touch ID sensor). The image has since been removed from Apple’s website, and some analysts still think Apple’s new device will have a metal casing similar to the 5s, with gold, silver, and space grey color options. Additionally, the 6c could sport a slightly curved display, similar to the iPhone 6s.

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Unchanged camera The iPhones 6c’s cameras are expected to be the same as the ones in the 5s — an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 1.2-megapixel front-facing one. For comparison’s sake, the iPhone 6s has a 12-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. Image credit: Apple.

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Pricing Off-contract pricing estimates for the rumored 6c fall between $400 and $500. That’s about $150 cheaper than the iPhone 6s and within the price range of the iPhone 5s, which sells for $450 off-contract.

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Demand for smaller devices A recent poll conducted by Piper Jaffray shows that just over 20% of consumers said they prefer a 4-inch smartphone. While the poll clearly isn’t a conclusive barometer of success for a revamped 4-inch iPhone, it suggests some users are still looking for a smaller device.

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How many could Apple sell? Kuo thinks Apple could ship 20 million iPhone 6c units for the full year, and account for 8% to 9% of total iPhone sales.

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