Smaller iPhone won’t help Apple: Top analyst

5 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple to release new small phone before iPhone 7: Report.

According to various not-terribly-reliable sources cited in BGR, Apple intends to replace the iPhone 5c with a small, A9-powered “6c” or “7c” in January.

But ultimately, they’re handheld and pocketable devices, so for now we seem to have reached an uneasy equilibrium around 5.7-inch phablets being the largest devices people want to carry around. (There have been 6-inch phones, but they haven’t been too successful. The company has been gradually rolling the special screens out across its range, but it is a flagship feature of the more premium iPhone 6s and 6S Plus. They’re just too big.) As phones get bigger, I’ve been hearing complaints from many readers and friends—primarily women in urban areas, who want to use their phones in one, smaller-sized hand—that current premium Android phones are just too big. Those people flock to Apple’s iPhone 6 line, which at 2.64 inches is the narrowest premium smartphone out there right now. (Tangent: when people talk about screen sizes and comfort, they’re never really talking about screen sizes.

They’re talking about the narrowness of the phones, because that controls what you can reach with your thumb.) Americans have trouble thinking of smaller things as high quality. So it’s not surprising that analysis of Apple’s potential new 4-inch iPhone centers around the idea of it being a “cheap” or “low-cost” option, which in the iPhone world probably means $499. A $499 iPhone would indeed create pressure on a burgeoning new category of competing semi-premium, mid-sized smartphones, probably limiting them to $400 or lower. That puts the $379 Google Nexus 5X and $249 OnePlus X in a decent position, but creates trouble for the $499 HTC One A9 and especially the $549 Microsoft Lumia 950.

That will make it the only way of buying an iPhone that has a smaller screen, since Apple moved to two much bigger sizes with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. While there are still a whole bunch of 4 to 4.5-inch smartphones in the market—especially globally—they’re generally super cheap, and bought because of price rather than quality. Once you get to $500, it’s not that much of a jump to get to $549 for an unlocked 4.7-inch iPhone 6, so at least some of the buyers of these iPhone 6c/7c units will be getting them because they want something that easily fits in one hand, not just because they want to save dough. Kantar chief of research Carolina Milanesi disagrees. “I still do not believe people want 4″ iPhones; they want the price that those 4″ iPhones are sold at,” she told me on Twitter.

Creative Strategies analyst Ben Bajarin chimed in, “The market is moving away from smaller devices,” and added that price-sensitive customers are more likely to buy a 5-inch, $200 Android phone. It’ll show whether a small, premium smartphone is actually something people want—or whether smaller smartphones are in fact going the way of Adele’s flip.

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