iPhone 6c

New 4in iPhone on the way

iPad&iPhone user - - FRONT PAGE - Karen Haslam

In Septem­ber 2015 Ap­ple’s iPhone 5c turned two years old, and that led to ques­tions about whether it’ll be the first and last model of the colour­ful, plas­tic iPhone. Ear­lier in 2015, we were wor­ried that Ap­ple had de­cided to ditch the ‘C’ range from its iPhone line-up, but re­ports keep on ap­pear­ing sug­gest­ing that an smaller iPhone 6c (or iPhone 6s mini) might launch in 2016. Here, we’ve gath­ered all of the lat­est iPhone 6c ru­mours, in­clud­ing re­lease date, de­sign, specs and fea­tures spec­u­la­tion. We’ve also got iPhone 6c con­cept im­ages and mock-ups.

In the run up to the Septem­ber 2015 Ap­ple event at which we saw the launch of the iPhone 6s Plus and the 6s there were a lot of ru­mours about those phones, but not so much about the iPhone 6c, the

hoped-for 4in suc­ces­sor to Ap­ple’s iPhone 5c, the 5s’s (marginally) cheaper and more colour­ful sib­ling. How­ever, there are also sug­ges­tions that the new iPhone could be a smaller ver­sion of the iPhone 6s – be­ing avail­able in the same metal­lic fin­ish.

Re­lease date

While there was no new 4in iPhone an­nounced at the 9 Septem­ber 2015 event this doesn’t mean that a new 4in iPhone isn’t in the works at Ap­ple. Ru­mours have claimed for some time that the model will not ap­pear un­til 2016, but the sug­ges­tion is that Ap­ple will not com­pletely aban­don the pop­u­lar 4in form fac­tor.

A ru­mour in mid Novem­ber 2015, sug­gested that the 4in iPhone 6c had started pro­duc­tion. Ja­panese site Mac Otakara also claimed that what will po­ten­tially be the new en­try iPhone has al­ready en­tered pro­duc­tion and would soon start ship­ping.

An­other ru­mour in De­cem­ber 2015 from Chi­nese web­site TechWeb sug­gested that the new iPhone 6c (or iPhone 6 mini) could ar­rive in Fe­bru­ary 2016, just in time for Valen­tine’s Day. Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, sup­ply chain sources are claim­ing that the iPhone 6c is on track to de­but in Fe­bru­ary 2016 (trans­la­tion). How­ever, that re­port also sug­gested that the phone may not ar­rive un­til the middle of 2016 (which could sug­gest a WWDC launch).

A Fe­bru­ary launch date might only make sense in tan­dem with the launch of the Ap­ple Watch 2, for which a ro­man­tic Valen­tine’s Day launch could make sense (with the em­pha­sis on the heart­beat shar­ing). But a March or April launch seems more likely – given that the Ap­ple Watch launched in Spring 2015.

We re­ally can’t see Ap­ple hold­ing an event to launch the iPhone 6c with­out back­ing it up with the launch of the Ap­ple Watch 2 and per­haps the iPad Air 3.

In early 2016, Chi­nese net­work China Mo­bile ‘leaked’ de­tails of the launch of a new 4in iPhone hand­set in a pre­sen­ta­tion, al­though the fact that the de­vice is re­ferred to as iPhone 7c sug­gests to us that this could be wish­ful think­ing on their part.

Ac­cord­ing to the pre­sen­ta­tion the de­vice is said to launch in March or April 2016, an­other rea­son why we don’t think the phone will be re­ferred to as the iPhone 7c (the iPhone 7 is un­likely to launch be­fore Septem­ber).

DigiTimes sources sug­gest the de­vice will launch in the se­cond-quar­ter of 2016. How­ever, DigiTimes doesn’t al­ways stick to the same story, an­other re­port from that site, pub­lished in early De­cem­ber 2015, sug­gested that com­po­nent sup­pli­ers to Fox­conn, the com­pany that it tasked with build­ing

the new iPhone, be­lieve that the new iPhone will be the iPhone 7c and it will ar­rive in Septem­ber 2016, ac­cord­ing to Mic Gad­get.

And this view is shared by Piper Jaf­frays’ Gene Mun­ster who doesn’t think that the new smaller iPhone will ar­rive in the Spring. He thinks it will ar­rive along­side the iPhone 7 Au­tumn 2016. “If a 6c does launch, it seems more likely to come out with the iPhone 7 in fall 2016 rather than in early 2016,” Mun­ster said, ac­cord­ing to a re­port on Ap­ple In­sider.

How­ever, he does con­cede that an iPhone 6c could ar­rive along­side a new Ap­ple Watch. He said: “Fur­ther, we be­lieve a smaller iPhone would not seem to have enough clout to carry a spe­cial event by it­self, thus if it were to launch in early 2016, we be­lieve it would have to hap­pen in con­junc­tion with the new Ap­ple Watch, as that seems to be the spring event mov­ing for­ward.”

De­sign

Some iPhone 6c mock-ups, such as those from 9to5Mac (9to5mac.com) op­po­site, have ap­peared, show­ing new metal­lic colours and ap­pear to be in­flu­enced by the iPod touch, with curved cor­ners.

A TechWeb re­port in 2015 sug­gested that the iPhone 6c will sport a colour­ful metal body, this is con­trary to the opin­ions of var­i­ous an­a­lysts who claim that while the new iPhone 6c will not have a plas­tic case like the iPhone 5c. It will have the same de­sign and colours as the iPhone 6s, just smaller, ac­cord­ing to KGI Se­cu­ri­ties an­a­lyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Kuo, who has made iPhone 6c pre­dic­tions be­fore (see below), states that there is “still de­mand for

a 4in iPhone, we be­lieve Ap­ple will upgrade this prod­uct line”. He thinks that rather than re­place the iPhone 5c, though, the com­pany will use the de­sign of the iPhone 6s be­cause it is far more pop­u­lar.

Like KGI Se­cu­ri­ties an­a­lyst Ming-Chi Kuo, an­a­lyst Shaw Wu also claims that the new iPhone 6c with a metal case won’t ar­rive un­til the first half of 2016.

The Mac Otakara re­port sug­gest that the iPhone 6c will be a re­badged and re­designed iPhone 5s, rather than a di­rect sib­ling to the 6s.

The claims the iPhone 6c will be more like the 5s than the 5c have been long run­ning. Some time ago Jef­feries an­a­lyst Ange Wu claimed Fox­conn and Hon Hai would ben­e­fit from the metal cas­ing busi­ness, caus­ing shares of Fox­conn to surge at the time.

Wu thinks that the metal case is likely be­cause it rep­re­sents Ap­ple’s “style” and helps dif­fer­en­ti­ate iPhones from other smart­phones, notes a Bar­rons Asia re­port.

Colours

Ear­lier in 2015 Ap­ple up­dated the iPod touch with a new range of colours – can we ex­pect to see the iPhone 6c share the same colour pal­ette? The specs of the pre­vi­ous iPod touch model were iPhone 4s-era, now that the iPod touch sports the A8 and M8 pro­ces­sors it’s more akin to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus – apart from the fact that it’s got a 4in dis­play.

There is quite a price dif­fer­ence be­tween the iPhone 5c and the iPod touch with the touch cost­ing ex­actly half the price of the iPhone, de­spite hav­ing twice the stor­age (as well as a faster pro­ces­sor now):

8GB iPhone 5c, £319

16GB iPod touch, £159

Of course, the iPhone 5c can be used with 3G or 4G, while the iPod touch re­lies on Wi-Fi for web ac­cess. Could Ap­ple in­stead launch an iPod touch ca­pa­ble of cel­lu­lar con­nec­tiv­ity, kind of like the iPad mini. If it did that it would prac­ti­cally be an iPhone 6c.

Al­ter­na­tively, the iPhone 6c could come in a colour scheme to match the Ap­ple Watch Sport straps – as you can see op­po­site, the colour scheme of the iPhone 5c wasn’t that dif­fer­ent to the Watch.

The 5c was avail­able in the fol­low­ing colours: yel­low, blue, pink, green and white. Ap­par­ently the yel­low ver­sion is the least pop­u­lar with pink be­ing the most pop­u­lar and blue the se­cond most pop­u­lar (ap­par­ently around half of all iPhone 5c sales are the pink model.)

The Ap­ple Watch Sport straps come in blue, pink, green and white colours, which as you can see from the im­age below, match the iPhone 5c. You’ll

no­tice that Ap­ple hasn’t made a yel­low watch strap – prob­a­bly be­cause that colour is so un­pop­u­lar. This sug­gests that we will not be see­ing a yel­low 6c.

New Watch straps have since been in­tro­duced, in­clud­ing an An­tique White ver­sion and a Prod­uct Red ver­sion. There is also a black sports strap avail­able for the Watch – sug­gest­ing to us that Ap­ple may launch an iPhone 6c in black. We think a black iPhone 6c will be very pop­u­lar.

Price

The ques­tion is will the phone be priced higher if it has a metal cas­ing than if it had a plas­tic cas­ing?

Prior to the launch of the iPhone 5c much of the talk was about Ap­ple launch­ing a cheaper iPhone, al­though in the end it turned out not to be quite a cheap as peo­ple had hoped.

Un­til Septem­ber 2015 the iPhone 5c was sold at a low(ish) price, but we’d pre­fer it if it was 16GB rather

than 8GB. Be­fore it was re­moved from sale, 8GB iPhone 5c costs £319 new from Ap­ple (cheaper on a con­tract). We’d like the new iPhone 6c to come in at £299, the same price as the Ap­ple Watch.

There are sug­ges­tions that if Ap­ple launches an iPhone 6c it will be cheaper than the iPhone 5c was at launch, ad­dress­ing the de­mand for a lower en­try­point iPhone, but we think this is wish­ful think­ing.

For ex­am­ple, TechWeb claims that Ap­ple is try­ing to keep the price low in the US, with the hand­set start­ing some­where be­tween $400 (£272) and $500 (£340), which is less than the iPhone 5c’s start­ing price was when it launched.

An­other con­sid­er­a­tion is that the new iPhone 6c will be a re­place­ment for the iPhone 5s, cur­rently sell­ing for £370 for 16GB or £419 (32GB). So per­haps we can ex­pect a price nearer that level, po­ten­tially even higher since it would be a new phone.

Does Ap­ple need a cheaper iPhone to sell along­side the Watch to of­fer a low-cost of en­try way into the world of wear­ables? In con­trast to this, at the end of last year in the US, Ap­ple was of­fer­ing a dis­count on an Ap­ple Watch if it was bought with an iPhone.

Dis­play

A source claims that AU Op­tron­ics will ap­par­ently be pro­duc­ing the 4in screens, ac­cord­ing to GforGames.

Ap­ple an­a­lyst Kuo doesn’t think the iPhone 6c will of­fer 3D Touch sup­port, writes MacRu­mors. How­ever, a Mac Otakara re­port in­di­cates that the 6c may in­clude 3D touch, as in­tro­duced with the 6s.

Ac­cord­ing to DigiTimes the new iPhone 6c will use Go­rilla Glass.

Touch ID

We think that Ap­ple wants to move all its prod­ucts over to Touch ID so we ex­pect the new iPhone 6c will of­fer this fea­ture. A TechWeb re­port sug­gest that the iPhone 6c will of­fer Touch ID (so it will work with Ap­ple Pay) but not 3D Touch.

Now that Ap­ple has launched Ap­ple Pay in the UK, it seems likely that Ap­ple’s strat­egy mov­ing for­ward will be to of­fer Ap­ple Pay to more and more cus­tomers, and do­ing that is likely to in­clude mak­ing sure that all cur­rent iPhones have the abil­ity to be used for Ap­ple Pay - as a re­sult we ex­pect that the en­tire line up of iPhones in Septem­ber are likely to of­fer Touch ID and NFC, so it will make sense for Ap­ple to re­badge and repack­age its en­try-level iPhone. Ear­lier this year claims were made that the iPhone 6c would gain NFC and Touch ID, ac­cord­ing to a DigiTimes re­port.

Cam­era

The iPhone 6c will also of­fer an im­proved FaceTime HD cam­era with a f2.2 aper­ture,e, ac­cord­ing to ru­mours.

We had ex­pected that the iPhone 6c would be a repack­aged iPhone 5s, with the same cam­era as that phone, how­ever,, a re­port from GSM Dome sug­gests that Ap­ple has placed an or­der for cam­era parts for a 4in iPhone – pre­sum­ably the ru­moured 6c. The or­der is said to be with Sony and is for a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of cam­era sen­sors des­tined for the 6c.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, two Chi­nese an­a­lysts (one of whom is chief an­a­lyst at

Elec­tronic Sys­tem De­sign China) claim that Sony can only meet 50% of de­mand for cam­era sen­sors be­cause so many have been bought up by Ap­ple for the new phone.

It’s not clear why th­ese cam­era sen­sors are des­tined for the 4in iPhone 6c and not an­other new iPhone, but it would ap­pear that the an­a­lysts be­lieve the cam­era is des­tined for the plas­tic iPhone.

An­other in­di­ca­tion that the iPhone 6c may get a new cam­era can be seen on the back of what are said to be leaked im­ages of the iPhone 6c. The new flash on the back of the leaked iPhone 6c mod­els, as seen in the pho­to­graph below, sug­gests that Ap­ple will be tweak­ing this phone.

Ap­ple has also been is­sued pa­tent for a “dig­i­tal cam­era with light split­ter”. Ap­ple’s sys­tem would split up red, green and blue light and send each to a ded­i­cated sen­sor. This should mean im­ages are clearer and sharper, how­ever, this new cam­era is likely to only ap­pear in the newer iPhones

Pro­ces­sor

The iPhone 6c is said to have an A8 pro­ces­sor, ac­cord­ing to DigiTimes. That’s the same pro­ces­sor as is found in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, while the iPhone 5s uses the A7 pro­ces­sor.

A Mac Otakara re­port also sug­gests the new smaller model will use the A8 pro­ces­sor, rather than the A9 pro­ces­sor found in the iPhone 6s.

How­ever, this con­tra­dicts Kuo who claimed that the new 4in iPhone would use the newer A9 chip.

Ac­cord­ing to DigiTimes semi­con­duc­tor in­dus­try sources, the de­vice will use 14/16nm FinFET chips man­u­fac­tured by TSMC and Sam­sung. This is a

change to the orig­i­nal plan to use 20nm chips. Ap­par­ently the smaller chips will en­able a specs upgrade and lower power con­sump­tion.

A re­port from KGI in Jan­uary 2016 also pre­dicts that the new 4in de­vice will of­fer an A9 pro­ces­sor, as well as 16GB of stor­age, NFC, Touch ID, and 2GB of RAM.

Blue­tooth

The new iPhone 6c will in­clude Blue­tooth 4.1, ac­cord­ing to re­ports.

Bat­tery

Ap­ple is hir­ing ex­perts to work in its bat­tery divi­sion. Ac­cord­ing to a re­port on Ap­ple In­sider, Ap­ple has ad­ver­tised nine po­si­tions within the last month, some of which are ex­plic­itly ori­ented to­wards iOS devices, ac­cord­ing to the site. How­ever, any new bat­tery tech­nol­ogy is un­likely

to make it in to the iPhone 6c, in­stead we ex­pect that this phone will of­fer the same bat­tery life as the iPhone 5s does cur­rently.

A leaked im­age of the bat­tery (see page 29) that will ap­par­ently fea­tures in­side the iPhone 6c has ap­peared on French web­site, NoWhereElse.

It’s a 1715mAh bat­tery, which is bet­ter than the 1510mAh bat­tery in the iPhone 5c, but smaller than the iPhone 6 1810mAh.

It may also have a big­ger 1642mAh bat­tery, ac­cord­ing to some Chi­nese re­ports.

Martin Ha­jek’s con­cept im­age

Back in 2015 Martin Ha­jek (mar­t­in­hajek.com), fa­mous for con­cept de­signs of new Ap­ple prod­ucts, came up with some im­ages of what he thinks the new iPhone 6c will look like. His de­signs are metal – not plas­tic like the iPhone 5c.

The iPhone 5c was a hit with con­sumers

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