After it recently introduced its first phablet with the iPhone Plus, Apple is set to further update the iPhone range by producing a smaller variant of the iPhone in 2016. The iPhone 6C is expected to be a four-inch version of the main iPhone units, probably with somewhat reduced specs.

Apple iPhone 6C release date, specs, features

There are numerous reasons for Apple to introduce this iPhone variant, with the company firstly motivated by the need to produce new revenue streams. This was something promised to the city back in the early months of 2014, at a time when the Apple share price slumped below $100. Although Apple stock is trading significantly above that level at present, it has fallen somewhat from the peak that it experienced in the summer months.

And thus Apple once again has the motivation to introduce new product lines.

Steve Jobs’ preference

It is also suspected that one of the primary reasons for introducing the iPhone 6C is that it was one of the desires of the corporation’s late CEO Steve Jobs. The infamous founder of Apple expressed a preference for smartphones with 3.5-inch displays, and the iPhone 6C is said to be representative of this predilection.

Having said that, it is widely anticipated that the iPhone 6C will feature a 4-inch display. Perhaps a 3.5-inch screen is just a little too small for the contemporary smartphone marketplace. But the idea of introducing a smaller variant of the iPhone series certainly seems to be a sound one, and it will be interesting to see what Apple comes up with in 2016.

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The iPhone 6C is seen as being a replacement for the ageing iPhone 5C, with the latter having originally been released in September, 2013. This affordable variant does pretty well for Apple in emerging marketplaces, and it seems that the iPhone 6C will be particularly aimed at this commercial niche as well.

Although Apple usually announces its iPhone releases in the third quarter of the calendar year, But it is largely expected that it will take a different approach with the iPhone 6C. Apple is not expected to release this device alongside its mainstream iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, with the handset instead expected to launch at around the time of the Apple Watch 2. It is indeed possible that Apple will announce the two diminutive devices simultaneously ahead of a release in the early weeks of Q2.

iPhone 6C Design

Sources close to the Apple supply chain suggest that the consumer electronics giant has already developed numerous iPhone 7 prototypes, and among these is the highly anticipated iPhone 6C. Although some of its affordable iPhone variants have previously featured plastic, it is largely expected that Apple will opt for a metallic feel for the iPhone 6C, in accordance with what can be considered the fashionable vagaries of the industry.

Thus, it is likely that the iPhone 6C will follow in the footsteps of the aluminum-based iPhone 5C, as opposed to the candy-colored polycarbonate iPhone 5C.

3D Touch

It has been suggested by numerous sources that Apple may eliminate the Home button completely in future iPhone releases. This has been made possible by the introduction of 3D Touch, which debuted in the iPhone 6S earlier this year. But the iPhone 6C will not benefit from this particular technology, with analysts generally believing that 3D Touch will be omitted from the smaller version of the handset when it releases in 2016.

This would seem to be both a practical and tactical decision. On the one hand, leaving out 3D Touch from the armory of iPhone 6C features will ensure that production costs can be kept low, but it also enables the larger versions of the iPhone series to be more readily set apart from the affordable model.

Display

Some sources have suggested that Apple will embrace sapphire glass in the display of the iPhone 6C, ensuring that it is both more durable and shatter-resistant than existing iPhone models. If this is the case, it will surely be a precursor to the same technology being introduced into the premium iPhone devices in 2016 as well.

In terms of resolution, it seems likely that Apple will match the existing pixel quotient of the iPhone 6S smartphone. This would point to a resolution of 1,334 x 750, which considering the smaller mooted screen of the iPhone 6C would lead to a superior pixels per inch rating compared to last year’s smartphone.

Performance

It is reasonable to assume that the specs of the iPhone 6C will be seriously reduced from the premium versions of the iPhone range. But it should still be a more powerful performer than the iPhone 5C that it is effectively replacing.

Firstly, it has been suggested that the iPhone 6C will benefit from the A8 chip utilized in the iPhone 6. It is also probable that the iPhone 6C will feature an eight-megapixel camera, putting it very competitively in line with the existing iPhone range. However, analysts believe that Apple will eliminate optical image stabilization from the iPhone 6C camera in order to keep a lid on development costs.

The iPhone 5S is currently available with 16GB and 32GB storage capacities; expect the same for the 6C. And Apple is also likely to emphasize the Apple Pay capabilities of the iPhone 6C, with it expected to be a major selling point of the handset.

Price

Analysts have been suggesting for some time that Apple would benefit by introducing a more affordable iPhone variant, and this indeed it seems to be one of the primary motivations for the iPhone 6C. While Apple would never damage the iPhone brand by suggesting that it is anything other than premium, an entry-level device would also be valuable for the corporation.

The iPhone 6C will need to compete with capable smartphone models such as the Moto G and Alcatel One Touch Idol 3 which tend to retail at around $250 off-contract. It is unlikely that the iPhone 6C will be as affordable as this, but a price point at around $350-400 is plausible.