Reports suggest that Apple will launch a smaller version of its flagship handset alongside the iPhone 7 this autumn, despite claims to contrary in recent weeks.
The company has begun to order components for a new class of iPhone, believed to be an updated, four-inch version of the iPhone 6, according to reports from China. The standard iPhone 6 has a 4.7-inch screen, while the screen of the iPhone 6 Plus is 5.5 inches.
Apple’s plans for its smartphone line-up remain the subject of much speculation, with analysts backing a range of different options.
In recent weeks, Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst at KGI Securities with a good track record of getting access to Apple’s plans, had been gaining support for his claim that Apple has abandoned plans to release an iPhone 6S and 6S Plus in autumn this year, and would instead skip straight to the iPhone 7.
The company has traditionally released a new iPhone model one year, following up with an updated “S” model the year after. But Kuo has said that the company is planning such significant changes to this year’s model that the phone will get an entirely new name: the iPhone 7.
That theory now appears to have been superseded by reports that the big news this autumn will be the launch of a small-screened handset, named the iPhone 6C.
In an article which says that the “4-inch iPhone 6C is closer to becoming a reality than we thought”, tech news site BGR reports that Apple is “starting to place component orders for the device”.
GSM Dome reports claims by two Chinese analysts, Pan Jiutang and Sun Changxu, who say that local smartphone makers are struggling to source camera sensors because Apple has snapped them up for the iPhone 6C, which “could be launched in September”.
It is unlikely that both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 6C rumours are true, as that would leave Apple with a contradictory range of model names.
Apple never comments on product rumours ahead of their launch.