With the iPhone 6 having been hugely popular, many consumers will be looking to pick up a version of the immensely successful smartphone over the Christmas period. The recent news coming out of China suggests that it might be worthwhile to wait a little, if you’re looking to pick up an iPhone 6 at an affordable price.

4-Inch iPhone 6 To Be Released By Apple [REPORT]

Mini iPhone 6 mooted

According to a Chinese website, Apple Inc.  (NASDAQ:AAPL) will launch a low-cost 4-inch screen iPhone 6 in 2015, effectively as a replacement for the existing iPhone 5c. This would be significantly smaller than either of the existing iPhone 6 models, which feature 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays respectively.

The Feng.com report claims that the new device will be particularly aimed at women, given that it will be possible to operate it more comfortably with smaller hands. Yt is even stated that this new iPhone 6 variant can be utilized with one hand only.

Apple’s motivation for releasing this device is obvious. The iPhone 6 has become its most successful mobile of all-time, despite the massive sales that Apple has clocked up with previous iPhone handsets. The iPhone 6 has established itself as the fastest-selling smartphone that Apple has ever released, and evidently the corporation believes that it can achieve similar figures with a more budget-focused device.

Whether this is smaller iPhone 6 will be able to match the staggering achievements of its larger cousins remains to be seen. The original iPhone 6 was able to shift a pretty amazing 10 million units in just three days for Apple. But the consumer electronics giant will doubtless have similar hopes for this smaller device.

The iPhone 6 generation of mobiles was a significant one for Apple, as it included the corporation’s first phablet-sized device. This is quite ironic really given the fact that the phablet market has in fact declined prior to its release. But the iPhone 6 Plus was a massive hit in the United States in particular, and is currently outselling every other major phablet by a huge distance. The device has also instigated a huge rise in the sales of large screen handsets overall.

Apple ruling phablets

Despite the indication over the last few months that the phablet market was drying up, it is still very much a growth niche. Phablet sales currently represent 10 percent of overall smartphone sales, which is a significant increase from just 2 percent for the same period in 2013. The iPhone 6 Plus currently owns 41 percent of this market.

But with Apple in the driving seat in both smartphone and phablet markets, the corporation evidently feels that there is significant room for manoeuvre in the lower-end of the market. East Asia markets in particular are swamped with lower-cost devices manufactured by companies that are not exactly household names in the west, and it is possible that Apple is targeting this marketplace in particular with this smaller and presumably cheaper handset.

There has been a debate for several years over the ideal size for a smartphone. Certainly there has been a growing tendency for manufacturers to release larger and larger devices. But this hasn’t always been the Apple ethos, and its manufacturing and release of the iPhone 6 Plus is something of a departure from its general approach to the mobile.

The Apple supremo Steve jobs in fact used to assert that the 3.5-inch size of the original iPhone display was perfect for one-handed use, and thus made it the ideal screen size for early smartphones from the company. And Apple’s early releases very much reflected this opinion of its founder and CEO.

But as Apple became increasingly challenged by popular smartphones running the Android platform, so the corporation has felt the need to gradually increase the size of screens utilized in its smartphones. Both the 4.7-inch display of the iPhone 6 and the 5.5-inch screen included in the iPhone 6 Plus represent a significant increase over the largest displays that Apple has ever put in a smartphone.

So the concept of a 4-inch iPhone 6 may be going against the trend of the industry, but it does fit in with the general ethos of Apple. This new budget device will in fact be heading in the direction of the original iPhone, which had a marginally smaller screen than the 4-inch display which is reported to be central to this device.

Satisfying the Apple ethos

Not only is this a sensible move in terms of attracting customers who are on a budget, but it also promises to satisfy consumers who have been with Apple since day one. When the company first began making smartphones with the original iPhone, it stated quite explicitly that it would set itself apart from other mobile manufacturers by keeping its devices compact.

Over time Apple has ditched this commitment, and it is ultimately difficult to contest this policy too strongly. If Apple still had its premium smartphone featuring a 4-inch display then there would be serious questions asked given that the Samsung Galaxy S5 would have a screen that is over 25 percent larger. As much as Apple has committed itself to creating nimble, compact devices, it cannot afford to have its flagship smartphone lagging this far behind the competition and trends of the industry.

But a new, smaller smartphone from Apple, which some of the media have dubbed the iPhone 6c, could help placate people who have been with Apple since it began producing smartphones. The idea of a premium iPhone having only a 3.5 or 4-inch display in this day and age is probably fanciful, but there certainly could be room in the Apple portfolio for such a device, and the Apple name almost guarantees that it will be a success.

It will be interesting to see if these rumours come to fruition, but if they do then don’t be surprised to see other mobile manufacturers following suit after a successful launch of an iPhone 5c sequel from Apple.