New breed of smaller iPhone 7 could land next year alongside larger siblings
Rumours continue to circulate that Apple intends to bring out three devices next year rather than just two. Alongside its two larger handsets similar to the current iPhone 6S and 6S Plus models, some tech analysists believe Apple will launch a smaller phone, which is being referred to online as the iPhone 7 Mini.
Debate is currently centred around two key questions. First, will Apple make an iPhone 7 Mini at all? And second, if it does happen, will it be a scaled-down version of the base iPhone 7 with all the function and features in a smaller package, or will it be a cheaper, entry-level iPhone similar to the iPhone 5C, which was released at the same time as the iPhone 5?
Currently, Apple sells iPhones in three sizes. The 4.7 and 5.5 inch screens available on the current 6S models are larger than the 4-inch screen offered on the 5S. But considering the most recent versions of Apple’s smartphone have grown in size rather than shrunk, adding a smaller addition to the 7 range seems out of step with Apple’s previous direction, Macworld says, and is “by no means a certainty.”
However, Tech Insider thinks the rumours are more than likely true, saying “we’ve been hearing rumours of Apple reintroducing a smaller iPhone for some time now.”
iDigitaltimes reports that “credible sources” say the next 4-inch iPhone will not use the A9 processor, which is expected to feature in the iPhone 7, but instead will be fitted with the A8 chip used in the current iPhone 6S.
According to Appleinsider, KGI analysist Ming-Chi Kuo, whose past iPhone predictions have been startlingly accurate, contradicts the iDigitaltimes report by suggesting that the iPhone 7 Mini will use the new A9 processor but will strip back some features of the larger phones, such as pressure-sensing 3D touch screen. He also suggests the phone will have a metal casing and could begin production in early in 2016, followed by the larger ones later in the year.
Many commentators say that the continued availability of a four-inch handset is a necessity for Apple, as current iPhone owners who never upgraded to one of the larger iPhone 6 or 6S models may wish to stick with a smaller product. The California-based company may be gambling that the lower price of its smaller phones may be a draw for those who don’t want to spend over the odds for one of its larger smartphones. Forbes claims that Apple will not equip the iPhone 7 Mini with top end features, adding that the handset could be used as a tool to upsell the more expensive and larger models, claiming the Mini will be “weak by design”, and that the way Apple has always made iPhones, in a pattern of “good, better, best” means the small phone, despite replacing the ageing iPhone 5 design, will lose out in key areas such as its battery capacity. “The dream of a four-inch iPhone 7 may be real, but it’s unlikely to match the iPhone 7 plus” Forbes concludes.