Apple is expected to resuscitate the 4-inch iPhone at its press event March 21st.
The new device, which some believe will be called the iPhone se, will offer a much faster processor and rounded edges in the style of the iPhone 6 and 6s.
Back on January 22, Fast Company reported that the phone was coming in the spring.
The new 4-inch phone will contain near field communications (NFC) to enable Apple Pay mobile payments. Apple's animated Live Photos will be supported. The cameras will be the same 8-megapixel rear-facing camera and 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera as in the iPhone 6 and 6s lines. It will not have the new pressure-sensitive "3D Touch" contextual pop-up boxes introduced with the iPhone 6s. Many of the other specs, like the camera, will be similar to those of the iPhone 5s.
The new phone will reportedly use the same A9 processor M9 graphics chip used in the 6-series iPhone.
The device is expected to be available in the same colors as the iPhone 6 and 6s—Silver, Space Gray, Gold, and Rose Gold.
The price of the new phone is a subject of contention. Our source says that the "iPhone se" will price at between $400 and $500, but other reports have put the new device at $549.
Apple’s current entry-level phone, the iPhone 5s, which has a 4-inch screen, will soon be phased out.
Both the 4th and 5th generation iPhones had 4-inch screens, before the iPhone 6—a huge hit—ushered Apple into the "big phone" or "phablet" age. The iPhone 6 and 6s have 4.7-inch screens, while the "Plus" versions of those phones have 5.5-inch screens.
But those bigger phones didn’t please everyone. In fact, Apple CEO Tim Cook said during a January earnings call that of all the people who owned an iPhone before the launch of the iPhone 6, 60% still hadn't upgraded to one of the larger phones. There could be a number of reasons for that, but one of them could be an affinity for the more compact 4-inch size.
"It’s worth noting that there is a small but vocal minority of Apple fans who have argued since the launch of the iPhone 6 that even the 4.7-inch size is too large, and that they’d prefer a 4-inch product," said Technalysis Research chief analyst Bob O'Donnell.
For some, the 4-inch design is easier to physically control than the larger 6-series phones, which can challenge the reach of one’s palm. The user interface feels neat and compact. Yet the screen, for many of us, is big enough for viewing photos and doing social media, if not video.
And Apple may be uniquely qualified among phone makers to return to the 4-inch screen. The simplicity and economy of space worked into iOS by Apple designers makes the OS a good fit for smaller screens.
Aside from the new iPhone, Apple is expected to unveil a new iPad, some new Watch bands, and probably a couple of surprises at the press event.