In September 2015 Apple's iPhone 5c turned two years old, and that led to questions about whether it'll be the first and last model of the colourful, plastic iPhone. Back in 2015, we were worried that Apple had decided to ditch the 'C' range from its iPhone line-up, but reports keep on appearing suggesting that a smaller iPhone 6c (or iPhone 6s mini) might launch in 2016. Here, we've gathered all of the latest iPhone 6c rumours, including release date, design, specs and features speculation. We've also got iPhone 6c concept images and mockups.
In the run up to the September 2015 Apple event at which we saw the launch of the iPhone 6s Plus and the iPhone 6s there were a lot of rumours about those phones, but not so much about the iPhone 6c, the hoped-for 4-inch successor to Apple's iPhone 5c, the iPhone 5s's (marginally) cheaper and more colourful sibling. However, there are also suggestions that the new iPhone could be a smaller version of the iPhone 6s - being available in the same metallic finish.
Latest update (04/02/2016): Updated to include rumours hinting at a 15 March 2016 iPhone 6c reveal alongside the iPad Air 3 and new Apple Watch bands.
- iPhone 6c UK release date rumours
- iPhone 6c design rumours
- iPhone 6c UK pricing rumours
- iPhone 6c feature and spec rumours
- iPhone 6c leaked images and concept images
Latest update (04/02/2016): While it seems that iPhone 6c rumours have been floating around forever, we may finally be close to seeing the finished product. According to the latest rumour from 9to5Mac citing sources with knowledge of the subject, Apple will be hosting an event on 15 March 2016 where it'll be showcasing the iPhone 6c alongside the iPad Air 3, and possibly a host of new Apple Watch straps. The source notes that Apple has dropped the iPhone 6c branding, and will launch the 4in iPhone as the iPhone 5se (more on that below). They also claim that the iPhone will boast an A9 chip along with improved cameras, Live Photo functionality and Apple Pay, and will cost a similar amount to the iPhone 5s.
(Read more about the rumoured Apple Watch 2, iPhone 6c and iPad Air event in March here.)
While there was no new 4in iPhone announced at Apple’s September 2015 event, it doesn't mean that a new 4in iPhone isn't in the works at Apple. Rumours have claimed for some time that that model will not appear until 2016, but the suggestion is that Apple will not completely abandon the popular 4in form factor.
A rumour in mid November 2015 suggested that the 4in iPhone 6c was already in production. Japanese site Mac Otakara also claimed that what will potentially be the new entry iPhone has already entered production and would soon start shipping.
Another rumour surfaced in December 2015 from Chinese website TechWeb, and suggested that the new iPhone 6c (or iPhone 6 mini) could arrive in February 2016, just in time for Valentine's Day – although we highly doubt this as, at the time of writing (end of January 2016) we still haven’t been invited to a late January/early February event.
According to the report from TechWeb (a Chinese blog, and the report is based on a Japanese report it seems), supply chain sources are claiming that the iPhone 6c is on track to debut in February 2016 (translation). However, that report also suggests that the phone may not arrive until the middle of 2016 (which could suggest a WWDC launch).
In early 2016, Chinese network China Mobile 'leaked’ details of the launch of a new 4in iPhone handset in a presentation, although the fact that the device is referred to as iPhone 7c suggests to us that this could be wishful thinking on their part.
According to the presentation the device is said to launch in March or April 2016, another reason why we don’t think the phone will be referred to as the iPhone 7c (the iPhone 7 is unlikely to launch before September).
DigiTimes sources suggest the device will launch in the second-quarter of 2016. However, DigiTimes doesn't always stick to the same story, another report from that site, published in early December 2015, suggested that component suppliers to Foxconn, the company that it tasked with building the new iPhone, believe that the new iPhone will be the iPhone 7c and it will arrive in September 2016.
And this view is shared by Piper Jaffrays’ Gene Munster who doesn’t think that the new smaller iPhone will arrive in the Spring. He thinks it will arrive alongside the iPhone 7 Autumn 2016. "If a 6C does launch, it seems more likely to come out with the iPhone 7 in fall 2016 rather than in early 2016," Munster said, according to a report on Apple Insider.
However, he does concede that an iPhone 6c could arrive alongside a new Apple Watch. He said: "Further, we believe a smaller iPhone would not seem to have enough clout to carry a special event by itself, thus if it were to launch in early 2016, we believe it would have to happen in conjunction with the new Apple Watch, as that seems to be the spring event moving forward."
Rumours also suggest that Apple may have already completed the development of the upcoming 4in iPhone 6c. In fact, according to Japanese financial newspaper Nikkei, the development of the phone was finished a year ago, in early 2015. The rumour suggests that Apple decided to delay the release of the 4in iPhone until a ‘more opportune moment’. The publication believes that Apple is targeting the unannounced budget iPhone at consumers in the emerging markets, due to the high price of iPhones on sale at the moment. If true, we could be seeing Apple’s next iPhone very, very soon.
Although rumours claimed that we’ll be seeing the Apple Watch as soon as February 2016, we’ve been speculating for a while that a March or April launch seems more likely - given that the Apple Watch launched in Spring 2015. We really can’t see Apple holding an event to launch the iPhone 6c without backing it up with the launch of the Apple Watch 2, and it seems our estimate looks to be correct. It’s rumoured that Apple will be holding a March 2016 event where its claimed both the iPhone 6c and second-generation Apple Watch will make their debut, with the products going on sale the following month.
iPhone 6c/iPhone 5se branding: iPhone 6c or iPhone 5se?
Latest update (29/01/2016): In the latest turn of events, it seems that Apple’s 4in iPhone may be called the iPhone 6c after all – at least according to a handful of recent Mobile Fun listings. Though there are no images of the case or details of the iPhone noted in the two iPhone 6c case listings, the manufacturers of the cases, Rearth, seem positive that Apple will go with the 6c branding instead of the less-sexy and harder to pronounce 5se. While this isn’t confirmation, vendor leaks tend to be fairly accurate as a lot of the time, they have advance details about the phones in order to design accessories for them.
If there’s one thing a smartphone needs to become successful, it’s strong branding. While we’re sure Apple has a host of ‘you-need-this-phone’-esque adverts up its sleeve for after the announcement of the smartphone, no one is quite sure what it’s called right now. Since the rumours of a 4in Apple smartphone originally surfaced, it had been widely referred to as the iPhone 6c – the upgrade to the budget (see: not so budget) iPhone 5c that was released back in September 2013 alongside the iPhone 5s.
However, more recently we’ve seen a flurry of different nicknames for the 4in iPhone including the iPhone 6e, iPhone 7c, and lastly, the iPhone 6 mini. While we’ve always been confident of the iPhone 6c branding, the most recent rumour suggests that we may have got it wrong, and in fact the upcoming 4in iPhone is rumoured to be called the iPhone 5se.
Even though we’re not a fan of the name (is it pronounced ‘ce’ to sound like the letter C?) 9to5Mac sources provided a great explanation behind the branding: “The “se” suffix has been described in two ways by Apple employees: as a ‘special edition’ variation of the vintage 4-inch iPhone screen size and as an ‘enhanced’ version of the iPhone 5s”. It’s also internally codenamed “N69” for those of you that are interested.
In summary: It looks like the 4in iPhone may be branded as the iPhone 5se at its launch, but until that point we’ll be mainly referring to it as the iPhone 6c (to avoid confusion).
iPhone 6c/iPhone 5se UK release date rumours: Did people really think Apple would launch a 4in iPhone in time for Christmas?
There had been rumours suggesting that the iPhone 6c could arrive before the end of 2015. According to earlier reports from China, the smaller iPhone was about to go into production in the autumn of 2015, with a November on sale date likely. Foxconn was apparently ramping up its assembly lines to build the iPhone 6c which a view to the new, smaller iPhone handset going on sale in November. It has to be said that this now looks unlikley though.
According to the December TechWeb report, Foxconn now claims that production is at full capacity.
If Apple had been able to get the handset out just in time for Christmas, it would have been good for sales, but releasing a new iPhone in a different quarter would mean that Apple could celebrate better financial results for that quarter than they would have otherwise, which might be in its interest.
The rumours that a new 4in iPhone is in the works have been running for a long time. In late December 2014 analyst Timothy Arcuri of Cowen and Company claimed that his sources had suggested that it is "possible" that Apple will launch three new iPhones in 2015, with one of those new iPhones sporting a 4in display. Arcuri dubs the smaller iPhone the iPhone 6S mini.
A Taiwanese parts manufacturer also said that an 'iPhone mini' is expected to launch in 2015 with a 4in display.
Macworld UK poll: Which size iPhone is right for you?
As of 7 December Macworld readers voting in the above poll are more keen on the 4.7in iPhone. 38% of readers state that they prefer the 4.7in iPhone, with the next most popular size being 4in (21%), followed closely by 5.5in (20%). ONly 4% want a 3.5in iPhone (the size of the iPhone 4s).
This matches the findings of analysts at Piper Jaffray who polled just over 1,000 US consumers and found that a 4in iPhone is desired by a fifth (20.3%). In comparison, 31.2% would prefer a 4.7in model and 27.2% prefer a 5.5in model (this suggests that in the US the 5.5in iPhone might be more popular than it is with UK audiences).
This suggests that a fair percentage of people could be waiting for the rumoured new 4in iPhone said to be coming in Spring 2016.
However, Piper Jaffray analysts Gene Munster just thinks that people who haven’t used a 4.7in screened iPhone yet just don’t know what they are missing out on. He said: "We believe that part of the reason that over 20% of smartphone users still say they prefer a 4in screen size is they still have older model iPhones. When they upgrade to a 4.7in screen with an only slightly bigger footprint in the pocket, we expect those users would be converts to the larger screen size."
Latest update (25/01/2016): Recently, a video of the reported iPhone 6c made its way online. The video showcased the upcoming 4in smartphone sporting an iPhone 6s-esque case, complete with curved edges and gold casing. It looks quite nice, however according to a 9to5Mac source, it’s a fake (you can still see the video below anyway).
However, the same 9to5Mac source did release some information about what to expect with regards to the design of the upcoming smartphone. Indeed, it will feature a 4in display but it won’t be available in as many colours as the iPhone 5c was – in fact, it may only be available in the same colours as the iPhone 6s (Silver, Space Gray, Gold & Rose Gold). It’s also claimed that the iPhone 6c will largely retain the design of the iPhone 5s, although the shiny edges have reportedly been replaced with curve glass like the iPhone 6s & 6s. There are a myriad of updates under the hood though, with more information below.
Following up from the above rumour, an image appeared online of the iPhone 6c alongside an iPhone 5 and you can see, at least in part, that the bodies of the smartphones look similar, although the iPhone 6c (on the right) display features a curved edge, and also features Touch ID. Although with this being said, as with any leaked image or video, it’s worth taking with a pinch of salt.
Some iPhone 6c mockups have recently appeared online, showcasing new metallic colours which appear to be influenced by the iPod touch, with curved corners. You can see more at 9to5Mac.
A TechWeb report in 2015 suggested that the iPhone 6c would sport a colourful metal body, contrary to the opinions of various analysts who claim that the new iPhone 6c (or 6s mini) will not have a plastic case like the iPhone 5c. Instead, it will have the same design and colours as the iPhone 6s, just smaller, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
Kuo, who has made iPhone 6c predictions before, states that there is “still demand for a 4-inch iPhone, we believe Apple will upgrade this product line”. He thinks that rather than replace the iPhone 5c, though, the company will use the design of the iPhone 6s because it is far more popular.
Like KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, analyst Shaw Wu also claims that the new iPhone 6c with a metal case won’t arrive until the first half of 2016.
The Mac Otakara report suggest that the iPhone 6c will be a rebadged and redesigned iPhone 5s, rather than a direct sibling to the 6s.
The claims that the iPhone 6c will be more like the iPhone 5s than the iPhone 5c have been long running. Some time ago Jefferies analyst Ange Wu claimed that Foxconn and Hon Hai would benefit from the metal casing business, causing shares of Foxconn to surge at the time.
Wu thinks that the metal case is likely because it represents Apple’s “style” and helps differentiate iPhones from other smartphones, notes a Barrons Asia report.
Back in 2015, Apple updated the iPod touch with a new range of colours – can we expect to see the iPhone 6c share the same colour palette? The specs of the previous iPod touch model were iPhone 4S-era, now that the iPod touch sports the A8 and M8 processors it’s more akin to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus – apart from the fact that it’s got a 4in display.
There is quite a price difference between the iPhone 5c and the iPod touch, with the touch costing exactly half the price of the iPhone, despite having twice the storage (as well as a faster processor now):
- 8GB iPhone 5c, £319
- 16GB iPod touch, £159
Of course, the iPhone 5c can be used with 3G or 4G, while the iPod touch relies on Wi-Fi for data access. Could Apple instead launch an iPod touch capable of cellular connectivity, kind of like the iPad mini? If it did, that it would practically be an iPhone 6c.
Alternatively, the iPhone 6c could come in a colour scheme to match the Apple Watch Sport straps - as you can see below, the colour scheme of the iPhone 5c wasn’t all that different to the Watch...
The iPhone 5c was available in the following colours: yellow, blue, pink, green and white. Apparently the yellow version is the least popular with pink being the most popular and blue the second most popular (apparently around half of all iPhone 5c sales are the pink model.)
The Apple Watch Sport straps come in blue, pink, green and white colours, which as you can see from the image below, match the iPhone 5c. You’ll notice that Apple hasn’t made a yellow watch strap – probably because that colour is so unpopular. This suggests that we will not be seeing a yellow iPhone 6c.
New Watch straps have since been introduced, including an Antique White version and a Product Red version.
There is also a black sports strap available for the Watch – suggesting to us that Apple may launch an iPhone 6c in black. We think a black iPhone 6c will be very popular.
The question is will the phone be priced higher if it has a metal casing than if it had a plastic casing?
Prior to the launch of the iPhone 5c, much of the talk was about Apple launching a cheaper iPhone, although in the end it turned out not to be quite as cheap as people had hoped.
Until September 2015 the iPhone 5c was sold at a low(ish) price, but we'd prefer it if it was 16GB rather than 8GB. Before it was removed from sale, 8GB iPhone 5c costs £319 new from Apple (cheaper on a contract). We'd like the new iPhone 6c to come in at £299, the same price as the Apple Watch, with more storage available.
There are suggestions that if Apple launches an iPhone 6c it will be cheaper than the iPhone 5c was at launch, addressing the demand for a lower entry-point iPhone, but we think this is wishful thinking.
For example, TechWeb claims that Apple is trying to keep the price low in the US, with the handset starting somewhere between $400 (£272) and $500 (£340), which is less than the iPhone 5c’s starting price was when it launched.
Another consideration is the fact that the new iPhone 6c will be a replacement for the iPhone 5s, currently selling for £370 (16GB) or £419 (32GB). So perhaps we can expect a price nearer that level, potentially even higher since it would be a new phone.
Does Apple need a cheaper iPhone to sell alongside the Watch to offer a low-cost of entry way into the world of wearables? In contrast to this, at the end of last year in the US, Apple was offering a discount on an Apple Watch if it was bought with an iPhone.
iPhone 6c/iPhone 5se features and spec rumours: Will the iPhone 6s support 3D touch? Will it offer a Touch ID sensor? How powerful will it be?
Latest update 25/01/2016: A video of the iPhone 6c recently made its way online, and while many got very excited about the upcoming smartphone, a 9to5Mac source with knowledge of the iPhone 6c claimed that it’s fake. Although the source can’t produce any evidence to support the claim, they did provide a list of features of the iPhone 6c, including the following:
- 8Mp rear facing camera with a 1.2Mp front facing FaceTime camera (from the iPhone 6)
- Support for larger panoramas, with additional autofocus support when video recording
- Barometer for elevation tracking
- NFC chip for Apple Pay (and presumably Touch ID)
- A8 and M8 chips (from the iPhone 6)
- Bluetooth 4.2, VoLTE and 802.11ac Wi-Fi chips (from the iPhone 6s)
- Live Photo support (from the iPhone 6s)
A source claims that AU Optronics will apparently be producing the 4-inch screens of the upcoming iPhone 6c, according to GforGames. Apple analyst Kuo doesn’t think the iPhone 6c will offer 3D Touch support, writes MacRumors. However, a Mac Otakara report indicates that the iPhone 6c may include 3D touch, as introduced with the iPhone 6s so, at this point, it’s rather up in the air. DigiTimes also reported that the iPhone 6c will feature Gorilla Glass opposed to the ion-strengthened glass used with the iPhone 6s, which sounds likely.
We speculate that to keep the costs down (and to make the 6s look more attractive) Apple won’t include 3D Touch technology, but we won’t know for sure until Apple announces the device.
We think that Apple wants to move all its products over to Touch ID, so we expect the new iPhone 6c will offer this feature. A TechWeb report suggest that the iPhone 6c will offer Touch ID (so it will work with Apple Pay) but not 3D Touch.
Now that Apple has launched Apple Pay in the UK, it seems likely that Apple's strategy moving forward will be to offer Apple Pay to more and more customers, and doing that is likely to include making sure that all current iPhones have the ability to be used for Apple Pay. Back in 2015, claims were made that the iPhone 6c would gain NFC and Touch ID, according to a DigiTimes report, with no other rumours surfacing regarding Touch ID since.
The iPhone 6c is said to have an A8 processor, according to DigiTimes. That's the same processor as is found in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, while the iPhone 5s uses the A7 processor.
A Mac Otakara report also suggests the new smaller model will use the A8 processor, rather than the A9 processor found in the iPhone 6s.
However, this contradicts Kuo who claimed that the new 4in iPhone would use the newer A9 chip.
According to DigiTimes semiconductor industry sources, the device will use 14/16nm FinFET chips manufactured by TSMC and Samsung. This is a change to the original plan to use 20nm chips. Apparently the smaller chips will enable a specs upgrade and lower power consumption.
A report from KGI in January 2016 also predicts that the new 4in device will offer an A9 processor, as well as 16GB of storage, NFC, Touch ID, and 2GB of RAM. It’s also rumoured to feature Bluetooth 4.1.
Apple is hiring experts to work in its battery division. According to a report on Apple Insider, Apple has advertised nine positions within the last month, some of which are explicitly oriented towards iOS devices, according to the site. However, any new battery technology is unlikely to make it in to the iPhone 6c, instead we expect that this phone will offer the same battery life as the iPhone 5s does currently.
A leaked image of the battery that will apparently features inside the iPhone 6c has appeared on French website, NoWhereElse.
It’s a 1715mAh battery, which is better than the 1510mAh battery in the iPhone 5c, but smaller than the iPhone 6 1810mAh.
It may also have a bigger 1,642mAh battery, according to some Chinese reports.
The iPhone 6c will will also offer an improved FaceTime HD camera with a f2.2 aperture, according to rumours.
We had expected that the iPhone 6c would be a repackaged iPhone 5s, with the same camera as that phone, however, a report from GSM Dome suggests that Apple has placed an order for camera parts for a 4in iPhone – presumably the rumoured iPhone 6c.
The order is said to be with Sony and is for a significant number of camera sensors destined for the iPhone 6c.
According to the report, two Chinese analysts (one of whom is chief analyst at Electronic System Design China) claim that Sony can only meet 50% of demand for camera sensors because so many have been bought up by Apple for the new phone.
It’s not clear why these camera sensors are destined for the 4in iPhone 6c and not another new iPhone, but it would appear that the analysts believe the camera is destined for the plastic iPhone.
Another indication that the iPhone 6c may get a new camera can be seen on the back of what are said to be leaked images of the iPhone 6c. The new flash on the back of the leaked iPhone 6c models, as seen in the photograph below, suggests that Apple will be tweeking this phone.
Apple has also been issued patent for a “digital camera with light splitter”. Apple’s system would split up red, green and blue light and send each to a dedicated sensor. This should mean images are clearer and sharper, however, this new camera is likely to only appear in the newer iPhones
A collection of iPhone 6c concept images appeared in January on the 9to5Mac website.
Back in 2015 Martin Hajek, famous for concept designs of new Apple products, came up with some images of what he thinks the new iPhone 6c will look like.
His designs are metal - not plastic like the iPhone 5c.
No iPhone 6c was unveiled at the September event, but that doesn't mean Apple won't launch a 4in model eventually.
On 21 May 2015 the iPhone 6c was 'spotted online', apparently, and on Apple's own website of all places. Take this with a pinch of salt because it could just be a Photoshop error, but there's no mistaking that this photo of Apple's new iPhone charging dock with Lightning connector appears to have an iPhone 5c with a Touch ID resting in it.
And if you know the iPhone 5c, you'll know that it doesn't have Touch ID, Apple's fingerprint sensor that sits beneath the home button on the iPhone 5s and later.
Rumours have claimed that the iPhone 6c might be a repackaged iPhone 5S with a Touch ID fingerprint sensor, so it could indeed be the first glimpse of the iPhone 5c 's replacement.
We'll be following this story closely to see if Apple changes the image or reponds to requests for comment.
Apple website 'leak' aside (let's face it, it's probably a rendering mistake) there are very few leaked images of the iPhone 6c, but there have been other sightings, for example, on 30 March, photos (apparently) leaked that appear to show a new iPhone with a colourful plastic chassis, similar to the iPhone 5c, in the smaller size that many are hoping for.
The images suggest that this is a new iPhone because the camera flash has a different shape to currently – oval rather than round - and there are more holes for the speaker at the bottom of the leaked iPhone shots, which were shared by FutureSupplier, a wholesaler of cell phone spare parts based in China.
This picture shows the camera flash on the new iPhone 6c
Here is another apparently, leaked images of the iPhone 6c:
The iPhone 6c speakers, shared by FutureSupplier.
Not content with waiting for leaked images, designers have created concepts of the device. (See also: The 10 weirdest Apple concept art designs.)
There are also plenty of artistic renders of what the new iPhone 6c might look like. For example, 3D Future has come up with the following renders of how a successor to the iPhone 5c might look:
Front and back
The back of the iPhone 6c as imagined by 3DFuture
Image: 3D Future
We quite like iPhonesoft.fr's iPhone 6c concept, which is slimmer and has an edge-to-edge display.
Designer Martin Hajek has also created a similar concept image:
iPhone 6c/iPhone mini concept videos
To get even more of an idea of that the iPhone 6c might be like, here's an imaginative video.
SET Solution thinks that the 'c' in iPhone 6c could stand for Curve, so has created a video to show what a curved iPhone 6c could look like.
Miscellaneous iPhone 6s/iPhone 5se rumours
It's easy to imagine the changes Apple may decide to make to the iPhone 5c should it decide to continue the product line:
The iPhone 6c could have additional, or different, colours. The five colours used for the iPhone 5c are on-trend for the year 2014, but will they still be fashionable in 2016? If not, Apple may decide to update the colours to suit new fashion trends.
It's also likely that a new iPhone 6c would have an improved camera and processor, and would possibly also be thinner and lighter than the current model. As it stands, the iPhone 5c is slightly thicker and heavier than the iPhone 5s, at 8.97mm and 132 grams compared to the iPhone 5s's 7.6mm and 112 grams.
We also think that if Apple follows this strategy the iPhone 6c will get a Touch ID button for security purposes.
Do you think Apple will release an iPhone 6c? Do you think it should? What new features would you like to see in a future iPhone 6c? We'd love to know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Read on to find out more about the history and popularity of the iPhone 5c, and whether Apple should launch a 4in iPhone...