Commentary
3/29/2015
11:06 AM
Nathan Eddy
Nathan Eddy
Commentary

iPhone 6C With 4-Inch Display? Expert Says No

This week, the Apple rumor mill started to churn with talk of three different iPhone 6 series devices, including a 4-inch iPhone 6C. However, a smaller iPhone doesn't seem to jive with the company's plans.



Apple Watch Event: 10 Things We Learned
Apple Watch Event: 10 Things We Learned
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

The Apple rumor mill is kicking back into high gear with an unconfirmed report indicating the tech giant will release three -- count 'em, three -- iPhone handsets in September, including a lower-end iPhone 6C with a 4-inch display.

Japan Display and LG Display are two companies named in a Digitimes report that will manufacture the screens for the new devices, although the report also noted Sharp could also participate in the process.

According to unnamed sources, the handsets will also feature scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass, near-field communication (NFC), and fingerprint scanning technologies.

Despite the reports of cracked displays that seem to affect users of smartphones across the market, Michael Oh, president and founder of Apple repair specialist Tech Superpowers in Cambridge, Mass., said he doesn’t see the company swapping out its own technology for Corning’s.

Don't look for a smaller iPhone.

Don't look for a smaller iPhone.

"People talk a lot about Gorilla Glass, but it’s very difficult for a consumer to perceive a big increase in value because their phone is using the glass," Oh told InformationWeek in an interview. "Is the consumer willing to pay $10 more, or even $5 more, if it has Gorilla Glass? I don’t think people perceive it that way -- at the end of the day it’s a smartphone, and you take care of it."

The Digitimes report also quoted sources saying that on the processing side, the likely-named 6S series will sport Apple’s A9 chips, while the 6C will use the A8.

In addition, The Wall Street Journal also reported the new handsets could include a version of the force click feature found on Apple’s latest line of notebooks, where pushing down with more force corresponds to additional actions.

"Apple plans to add sensors to detect how hard a user is pressing on a screen to its next iPhones, incorporating a technology used in its forthcoming MacBook and Apple Watch, according to people familiar with the matter," the Journal reported earlier this month.

The sensory capabilities of the Force Touch track pad on the new MacBooks allow users to tell the computer what they want it to do based on subtle differences in the amount of pressure applied, which makes it possible to perform a variety of different actions in different apps, all on the same surface.

[ Read about how the iPhone 6 is pushing NFC mainstream.]

Going back to screen size, Oh cautioned that he takes the 4-inch, iPhone 6C rumor with a generous helping of salt, finding it "very difficult" to believe Apple would go back to a smaller screen size, unless the device itself was substantially changed in some form.

"It could be incredible pixel density, but then you run into legibility issues and so forth. It could be that it serves as some other interface or design, but I can’t think of a way that would work without it being a step back," Oh said. The other possibility is that it’s super, super cheap."

Since the launch of the Apple Watch on March 9, the Apple rumor mill has slowly started to churn again, as fans await the next major release from the company. Just a week ago, several websites reported on a new Apple TV offering the company might unveil in the next few months.

Still, it's logical that some iPhone rumors would spring to life following the Apple Watch release. Although some have referred to the next-generation of iPhones as the "iPhone 7," it's more likely the talk of iPhone 6C is in line with the company's current naming scheme.

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Nathan Eddy is a freelance writer for InformationWeek. He has written for Popular Mechanics, Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, FierceMarkets, and CRN, among others. In 2012 he made his first documentary film, The Absent Column. He currently lives in Berlin. View Full Bio
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