While Apple will unveil a pair of next-generation iPhones at its September 9th event, the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus, don’t expect a new 4-inch “iPhone 6c” to show up on stage. Sources say that while Apple has been working on a new 4-inch iPhone with the capabilities of last year’s iPhone 6, the device is not yet ready to ship. Interestingly, Apple has also internally prototyped a new, smaller iPhone with a 3.5-inch display, the same size of the iPhone’s screen from the first model in 2007 to the iPhone 4S in 2011, but it does not appear that the company plans to move forward with actually releasing such a device.
In addition to not releasing a new 4-inch phone, Apple currently plans to discontinue the iPhone 5c upon the release of the new 6S and 6S Plus, according to sources. Launched in fall 2013 alongside the iPhone 5s, the iPhone 5c has been controversial for its believed-to-be underwhelming sales numbers and aging feature set. Still available as of today, the iPhone 5c includes the A6 chip introduced with the iPhone 5 in 2012 in addition to older cameras. But for those interested in 4-inch iPhone screens, Apple will retain the iPhone 5s from 2013 and drop the on-contract price to free, per sources. It is possible that the 5c could stay on sale in some regions, much like the iPhone 4 remained available in some budget-conscious countries following its U.S. discontinuation.
While Apple discontinued the iPhone 5 upon the release of the iPhone 5s in 2013, Apple is expected to keep selling the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus after the new 6S and 6S Plus models begin shipping. Of course, the 2014 iPhones will drop in price by $100 a piece, staggered by capacity, at least for carriers offering pricing similar to last year’s. In summary, it appears that this fall’s new iPhone line up will be the following: the 5s as the entry-level device, the 6 and 6 Plus in the middle, and the new 6S and 6S Plus sitting at the top of the lineup. The new phones will include faster processors, 12-megapixel rear cameras with 4K video support, Force Touch, more efficient cellular chips built by Qualcomm, and animated wallpapers.