Reports that Apple is working on a 4-inch iPhone 6c as a refresh for the less expensive iPhone 5c launched in 2013 have again reared their ugly head, and some firms are pretty positive on this prospect. However, not all of them are excited about the idea and, in fact, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster doesn’t think it even matters whether the rumor turns out to be true or not.
Skepticism on an iPhone 6C
This time around, Munster seems less enthusiastic about the prospect of a new cheaper iPhone than he was with the iPhone 5c, probably because the 5c wasn’t a hit. He did say that his checks do seem to back up the reports about signs of a new 4-inch iPhone 6c in Apple’s supply chain preparing for an early 2016 launch. However, he remains skeptical about whether the handset will actually be launched.
The analyst said it would make sense for Apple to release a new 4-inch iPhone to replace the iPhone 5s and that it would make the company’s smartphone lineup “cleaner” as the less expensive model would be quite a bit different than the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, which both have bigger screens and will probably have more features than the iPhone 6c, if it sees the light of day.
Interestingly, one of the biggest benefits of adding a new low-cost iPhone model isn’t about actually selling any of the phones. He suggests that those who are considering purchasing an iPhone 6c may end up choosing the mid-tier model because there would be a “significant benefit” to have the larger screen for $100 more.
For next year, Munster believes Apple’s lineup could consist of the upcoming 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus at $749; the upcoming 4.7-inch iPhone 7 at $649; the current 5.5-inch iPhone 6s Plus also at $649; the 4.7-inch iPhone 6s at $549; and the rumored 4-inch iPhone 6c at $450.
Why an iPhone 6c isn’t a good idea
The Piper Jaffray analyst has a few arguments for why it wouldn’t be wise for Apple to release a new 4-inch phone right now. For example, he just doesn’t think consumers want smaller smartphones. He thinks part of the reason is that more than 20% of the 1,077 U.S. smartphone users they surveyed still say they would rather have a 4-inch screen is because they still have older iPhone models.
After they upgrade to the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 Plus or iPhone 6s Plus, he thinks they will be convinced of the benefits of having a biggest screen.
Why an iPhone 6c wouldn’t impact Apple’s financials at all
The main reason Munster doesn’t think an iPhone 6c would impact Apple much at all is because he doesn’t think Apple will sell many more of them than it did of the “typical low-end model,” which currently is the iPhone 5s. Also he doesn’t think the margins on the 6c or the 5s would be much different from each other.
He sees the more important aspects of Apple’s story right now as being the iPhone Upgrade Program and getting consumers to buy a new iPhone every year.
Shares of Apple rose by as much as 3.02% to $118.68 per share during regular trading hours today with very little news to attribute the climb to.