Apple’s development of an iPhone 6c device has been removed for sometime, and it seems that the smartphone is about to come to fruition. This has been very much an on-off device, with some analyst believing at one time that the iPhone 6c would appear alongside the iPhone 6s later this year. As 2015 has developed, this particular opinion has become considerably less prominent, with many market observers instead asserting that Apple would delay the smartphone until next year.

When is iPhone 6C releasing?

iPhone 6c slated for November release date

However, the latest rumor in this ongoing iPhone 6c saga suggests that the device will at least appear in the foreseeable future. According to leaks from close to the Apple supply chain, the contract manufacturer Foxconn has added workers to its assembly lines with the express intention of preparing for the production of this 4-inch iPhone model.

In an interesting twist to the saga, reports relating to this leak also suggest that Apple will indeed release the iPhone 6c before the end of 2015. But unlike the policy suggested by some analysts, murmurings related to this supply chain rumor suggest that Apple will instead unveil the device in November. This suggestion contradicts a recent report from Evan Blass, who echoed the rumor earlier this month that the Apple iPhone 6s, Apple iPhone 6s Plus and Apple iPhone 6c would arrive simultaneously.

It has also been reported by an insider at Foxconn that Apple has recently received a large shipment of 4-inch screens, clearly earmarked for this potential iPhone 6c. The size of the display has remained static in media reports over the year as a whole, and it seems certain that Apple is intending to arm the iPhone 6c with a 4-inch screen.

iPhone 6c to shun plastic

Another interesting report related to the iPhone 6c is the suggestion from brokerage house Jefferies that this forthcoming affordable smartphone will feature a largely metallic build. This differs from previous suggestions related to the iPhone 6c which proposed that Apple would release a smaller smartphone featuring a largely plastic construction. This latter plastic build would have been in line with previous Apple releases such as the iPhone 5c.

Nonetheless, despite the fact that Apple is apparently considering a metallic construction for the iPhone 6c, the device is still expected to be relatively affordable when it is unveiled. A more affordable pricetag for this device is essential, considering that it will be a relatively toned down smartphone compares to the larger standard iPhone models.

Although Apple has yet to confirm the existence of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, both units are expected to be confirmed on September 9. And links from the UK carrier Vodafone have suggested that both Apple units will hit the shops on September 25, with Apple expected to continue to favor a high-profile launch for the iPhone series that contrasts with the relatively low-key Apple Watch launch.

Despite the fact that Apple is set to release these devices at a particularly competitive price point, it is notable that analysts generally believe that the iPhone 6c may not feature Force Touch technology. It is now considered a certainty that the innovation that was introduced in the Apple Watch series will gravitate to the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, but Apple may choose to eliminate Force Touch from the make-up of the iPhone 6c in order to keep the production costs down.

New product niche

The iPhone 6c could be an extremely valuable smartphone for Apple for numerous reasons. Firstly, a smaller and more affordable version of its iconic mobile can effectively be considered a new product niche. Certainly the iPhone 6 Plus phablet was presented as being a new product range when it was released last year. This will help Apple continue to fulfil the promise that it made to the city back in 2014, when a slump in share price caused by lukewarm sales forced the consumer electronics giant to predict new product ranges in the coming months and years.

And this is of particular importance to Apple at the moment, as its share price has slumped somewhat in recent weeks. Scepticism about the potential ability of Apple to continue to grow its business, particularly in the key Chinese marketplace, has led to bearish sentiment from investors. With Apple stock having fallen considerably, the market capitalization of the corporation slipped significantly below that $700 billion landmark that Apple achieved last year.

The iPhone 6c is expected to play a significant role for Apple in China, where its affordable nature is expected to appeal to the marketplace. Evidence has recently suggested that Apple is now selling more units in the world’s most populous nation than even the United States, and the iPhone 6c has the potential to catalyze this process is still further.

Aside from its economic raison d’être, the iPhone 6c also serves something of an ethical purpose. It has been frequently reported that the sadly late founder and CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs, was a particular fan of compact smartphones. The iPhone 6c is not quite as small as Jobs’ vision of the ideal handset, but its 4-inch screen is certainly a departure from the industry obsession with ever larger devices.

iPhone 6c specs

Apple has declined to confirm the existence of the iPhone 6c, and considering this is effectively an entirely new product line, it has made predicting specifications complex for analysts. But leaked images obtained some weeks ago suggesting that a 1,715 mAh battery may feature in the device. Some sources have also suggested that the iPhone 6c could be based on the same screen resolution that featured in the iPhone 6 last year, with the smartphone-sized unit set to be upgraded in the iPhone 6s iteration this year.

Regardless of the makeup of the iPhone 6c, it looks increasingly likely that we will see the smartphone sooner rather than later, with a 2015 release date appearing to be on the cards.