Apple prepping a new 4-inch iPhone for 2016

When Apple refreshed their iPhone line-up this fall, there were only two new phones: the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. Next year, though, their larger handsets may be joined by a brand new 4-inch iPhone.

This isn’t just some rumor that popped up on an Apple forum, either. The report comes from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, so there’s a very, very good chance it’s on target. Kuo has an unbelievably good track record when it comes to predicting products in Apple’s pipeline.

Right now, Apple is happy letting folks who want a smaller iPhone stick with the trusty old 5s. It’s starting to show its age, however. By the time the next flagships appear next fall it’ll be three years old and long overdue for an update. Kuo believes that the new 4-incherwill actually arrive before then. He’s got it pegged for some time in the first half of the year, and says that smallest iPhone will ship with the same beastly A9 processor that pushed the iPhone 6s to the top of the benchmark charts.

While it might run the same processor, Kuo says that it won’t support 3D Touch like the higher-end models. And although Apple chose to build its last low-end phone with a plastic shell, they’re going back to a metal build for the new model. That seems like a safe bet: Tim Cook has already proven that he’s okay with sticking to products that command a premium.

Does Apple need to sell a smaller iPhone? Maybe not, but according to Kuo, it could significantly improve their financials. He’s predicting that Apple would ship 20 to 30 million of the updated 4-inch iPhone by the end of next year.

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