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Apple's next iPhone might be available in three sizes

With the next iPhone, Apple aims to cover all existing size categories.
With the next iPhone, Apple aims to cover all existing size categories.
Back by popular demand: the company is allegedly planning to please the buyers who prefer smaller phones by releasing a 4-inch iPhone 6C in addition to 6S and 6S Plus.

When iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were released, some fans were unhappy with the increased display size of both models, since it made one-handed operation more complicated. The iPhone 5S' 4-inch display is still revered much higher among those owners. In an effort to get these customers to upgrade, Apple is allegedly going to release a 4-inch iPhone 6C in addition to already expected 6S and 6S Plus. While this is still just a rumor (though industry insiders are quoted as its source), such a move would be quite logical. With three iPhones of different sizes, Apple will ensure that no potential customer will have to reconsider an upgrade just because the iPhone is too small or too large for their habits.

Apart from some users' concerns about Apple "spreading itself too thin" with so many models, there's a much more obvious (though also unconfirmed) downside to the iPhone 6C. Unlike the 6S and 6S Plus, it will be made of plastic and not aluminium, and will be equipped with the obsolete (by the time of the new models' release) Apple A8 SoC. The bigger iPhones will ship with Apple A9, which is the point of yet another confusion: while some sources claim that Apple wants to move away from Samsung's fabs completely and manufacture all of its SoCs at TSMC's facilities, others point at Samsung's 14 nm FinFET process as a big potential advantage for Apple's next-generation SoCs. While Apple's desire to cut dependency on its chief rival for critical components is understandable, Samsung's position as both one of the leading chipmakers and an uncontested leader in mobile memory certainly pose a dilemma for Cupertino.

According to the same sources, LTPS displays from Japan Display, Sharp (except for iPhone 6S) and LG Display will be used in the upcoming iPhones. They will be protected with Corning Gorilla Glass. NFC  and fingerprint scanner (and hence, Apple Pay) will be present in all three models. Different manufacturers will be contracted for their production, however: it's expected that iPhone 6S and 6S Plus will be made by Foxconn and Pegatron while the 6C should be assembled by Wistron.

The official announcement of the new iPhones is expected no earlier than the second half of 2015, so there will definitely be more information about them popping up in the coming months - we'll be on the lookout for anything of interest.


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Andrey Konstantinov, 2015-03-26 (Update: 2015-03-27)