Next year will be a massive one for Apple, with an innovative and ambitious year ahead for the consumer electronics giant. At least one new product line will be entered into for the first time, with the release of the Apple Watch, which is expected to be unveiled early in 2015, probably during Q1.

Aside from this, Apple will be looking to build on the stratospheric success of the iPhone 6 with the next model in the iPhone series. The iPhone 7 will be released somewhere around September time, and there are already a variety of rumors regarding what the make-up of this flagship smartphone device will be.

iPhone 7, iPad Air Plus: Apple Product Line-Up 2015

The 4-inch iPhone

Already central to these murmurings is the idea that Apple will produce a 4-inch version of the iPhone 7 when the handset is finally released. This would be very much tally with past versions of the iconic smartphone, and would also go hand-in-hand with previous assertions from former CEO and founder Steve Jobs that the ideal smartphone screen size is 3.5-inches.

Producing a smaller version of the iPhone 7 would pretty much go against current fashions in the smartphone marketplace. Generally speaking, companies have been looking to release smartphones with ever larger displays, so to unveil a device with a significantly smaller screen than is customary would be an intriguing and original move by Apple.

Indeed, the company has just released its first phablet-sized smartphone, the iPhone 6 Plus, which has very much taken its lead from the range of phablets produced by Samsung. It seemed that fashion would dictate bloated screen sizes in smartphone devices, and Apple itself may acknowledge this trend by releasing models of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus which feature larger displays than the respective iPhone 6 models.

However, releasing a third iPhone 7 model with a 4-inch screen is logical for several reasons. Firstly, it would seem to be a natural companion for the Apple Watch. Apple could conceivably include some special functionality within the 4-inch screen version that makes it particularly compatible with the Apple smartwatch, thus creating a new health-focused marketplace for this product. Effectively this could be seen as a new product line, which is something that the Apple hierarchy has promised both the city and investors during 2014.

Secondly, there is a real appetite among the general public for more mobile mobiles! Some of the larger phabet devices available on the market are not particularly convenient for people with small hands, and even a valid criticism of the iPhone 6 was that it could sometimes slip out of the palm of one’s hand during use.

While consumers who utilize mobile devices for watching a lot of videos, or regularly taking photographs, might not be favorable to the idea of a small-screen mobile, there is unquestionably a large section of the smartphone purchasing community who would relish a budget-driven and affordable iPhone which delivers core functionality in a package of extreme convenience.

So although Apple hasn’t even come close to confirming this mini iPhone 7, there are numerous logical and pervasive reasons which suggest that it would make perfect commercial sense for the corporation. With this in mind, it seems that this is one particular rumor that will run and run, simply because it is both logistically plausible and also seemingly potentially beneficial for Apple.

Analyst nod to new Apple iPhone

Support for this concept has been proffered by recent reports from Apple Insider which indicate that Timothy Arcuri, an analyst at Cowen and Company – a leading financial services firm – has stated that the company he works for has already issued a note to investors indicating that this device is currently being worked on by Apple.

Arcuri indicates that this device will debut in 2015, and that we can expect it to be released around September time. The 4-inch screened iPhone 7 will form part of a triumvirate with a new smartphone-sized iPhone 7, along with a brand new phablet as well.

With Apple having not even confirmed the existence of this model yet, speculation is rife regarding how it will be produced. It may seem logical that such a handset will merely be a scaled-down version of larger devices in the iPhone range, but information released by Arcuri suggests that this may not be the case. Arcuri asserts that Apple will rely on “purpose-built low cost components” from Qualcomm in order to produce this smaller iPhone 7, and that this will help keep the cost down for what is perceived to be an affordable device for people on a budget.

iPhone 7, iPad Air Plus: Apple Product Line-Up 2015

iPad focus

Aside from the iPhone, which is always a major focus for Apple given that it is its most popular current product, the consumer electronics giant will also be looking to freshen up some of its other product ranges. This year saw Apple improving its range of tablets, and it is already expected that we will see more new Apple products in this niche during 2015.

Top of the list is a remote iPad Pro, also potentially called the iPad Air Plus, along with another particularly highly anticipated device. A 12.9-inch MacBook Air with retina display could be a truly spectacular device, and it given that Apple recently released the world’s first desktop computer with a 5K screen, we could see something similarly mind blowing with this MacBook phablet. Although reports have suggested that the screen size of the phablets will be 12.2-inches, what does seem to be certain is that this will be a very high-spec device.

All of these rumors really have a common theme – Apple is attempting to add to its range of products and create new lines that draw in fresh custom, and reinvigorate consumers’ enthusiasm for Apple as a brand. This may hardly seem to be necessary given the vast success which Apple has enjoyed in 2014, but the best time to innovate is when you are in a position of strength, and apple looks set to have some intriguing devices up its sleeve for 2015.