Apple Unlikely to Release New 4-Inch iPhone This Year, New Low-End Model Expected in 2016
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo issued a note to investors on Wednesday, a copy of which was obtained by MacRumors, reiterating that Apple is unlikely to launch a new 4-inch iPhone this year. Kuo, who has a respectable track record at reporting on Apple's upcoming product plans, added that Apple will instead likely release a new 4-inch iPhone with Apple Pay compatibility in 2016.
"iPhone 5S still going strong; next 4-inch likely in 2016. Shipments of 5S are still going strong at 5-7mn units every quarter, an impressive level at such a mature stage of the product cycle. Momentum is being sustained by a more affordable price and the product’s outstanding design. But we still believe it’s necessary for Apple to have a new 4-inch iPhone because: (1) it will be key to extending momentum in the 4-inch category; and (2) it could complete the Apple Pay ecosystem, assuming it is equipped with NFC. We predict a launch in 2016."
The well-informed analyst claims that the iPhone 5c will likely reach the end of its product cycle later this year, with the iPhone 5s becoming the new entry-level device in Apple's smartphone lineup once the so-called "iPhone 6s" and "iPhone 6s Plus" are released this September. For now, the oft-rumored "iPhone 6c," speculated to be an iPhone 5s with plastic casing, is not planned.
Kuo first expressed doubt that Apple will release a new 4-inch iPhone this year in a note to investors obtained by MacRumors earlier this month, in which he claimed that Apple is still targeting 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models for its next-generation iPhones. Sketchy rumors and leaked images of the purported "iPhone 6c" began picking up in March, but few specific details about the rumored smartphone have surfaced.
Foxconn is expected to be the primary manufacturer of the 4-inch iPhone in 2016.