Over the past few months, there have been intense rumors that Apple would launch a new 4-inch iPhone this year, aimed at users who don’t prefer bigger form factors. On Wednesday, South Korean website DigiTimes reported that Apple was gearing up to launch a 4-inch iPhone 7 this fall. But KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via Apple Insider) has shot down those rumors.
New 4-inch iPhone put on hold until 2016
Kuo has an exceptional track record of predicting Apple’s future products. Last year, he accurately predicted the details of Apple Watch, including its launch window, components, and materials used. Kuo says that a 4-inch iPhone, rumored to be called iPhone 7 or 7C, will not arrive this year. Instead, the 4-inch smartphone with Apple Pay support will be launched in 2016.
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Kuo notes that the plastic iPhone 5C will be discontinued this year, making room for the iPhone 5S to become the new “free with subscription” model. The iPhone 5S sales remain strong, so a new 4-inch iPhone in 2016 will help “extend the momentum.” The iPhone 5S has pretty good specs, but it doesn’t support Apple Pay, which requires the NFC chip.
Foxconn might be the primary supplier of 4-inch iPhone 7
Kuo’s prediction contradicts previous rumors and leaks that fueled speculations for a new 4-inch iPhone this fall. KGI Securities says Foxconn will likely be the primary manufacturer of the 4-inch iPhone. Earlier this month, Ming-Chi Kuo said in a separate research report that Apple will skip iPhone 6S and 6S Plus to launch an iPhone 7 this year.
He argued that the next iPhone will feature the Force Touch technology that will allow users to interact with the UI in a variety of new ways. And Force Touch is too big a feature to incorporate in an iPhone 6S as ‘S’ versions are usually minor upgrades. He said the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus would retain the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch display of their predecessors.