Several reports since late last year claimed that Apple was considering the release of a new 4-inch “iPhone 6c” as a low-cost, smaller option alongside the “iPhone 6s” and “iPhone 6s Plus.” However, analysts have recently reported that the smaller iPhone may not be released after all. Timothy Arcuri, an analyst with Cowen and Company, stated that supply-chain evidence of the rumored iPhone 6c seemed to disappear around March.
The iPhone 6c would look like the iPhone 6 series but would be smaller and ideally aimed at users who wanted a smaller phone at a lower cost. Reports from December 2015 suggest that the smaller phone was targeted to female users who were “put off” by the larger screen size of the iPhone 6 series. Arcuri believes that the iPhone 6c would be essentially iPhone 6 hardware made as small as the iPhone 5s, including an all-metal unibody, thereby differentiating itself from the plastic iPhone 5c released in 2013.
The reason for scrapping the iPhone 6c is likely due to the success of the larger iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Arcuri speculates that since the larger phones have sold so incredibly well, introducing a smaller phone back into the market may cut into that success. He stated that, “[Apple] [probably] said, ‘Look, why would we want to cannibalize? If we came out with an iPhone 6c, we would essentially cannibalize a price-reduced iPhone 6.”
Other analysts have reported that they could not see Apple going back to the 4-inch format after seeing the larger iPhone 6 series sell so well, but many people do say they miss the smaller-size iPhone.
Apple frequently tests new products internally that are never released to the public. Therefore, it is entirely possible that the company simply considered making the iPhone 6c for test purposes. The fact that the iPhone 6c supposedly made it as far as the supply chain suggests Apple may have seriously toyed with the idea of manufacturing this phone.