Is Apple going to launch a successor to the iPhone 5c at the special event on 9 September? This time last year much of the talk was about Apple launching a cheaper iPhone, although in the end it turned out not to be quite a cheap as people had hoped. That lower-cost iPhone 5c was widely concluded to be a repackaging of the iPhone 5. Will Apple follow this same pattern this year, perhaps repackaging the iPhone 5s as an iPhone 6c? Or is it more likely that Apple will keep the iPhone 5c on as the cheapest iPhone, removing both the iPhone 4s and the iPhone 5s from sale. We assess Apple's likely strategy in this article.

In this article, which we began compiling earlier this year, we've been bringing you all of the latest iPhone 6c release date speculation, rumours about the new features the iPhone 6c could have along with iPhone 6c leaked images and mockups from around the web.

There's so much talk about the iPhone 6 and the rumoured bigger phablet-style iPhone, already, but not so much about the iPhone 6c, which is what we're calling the successor to Apple's iPhone 5c, the iPhone 5s's (marginally) cheaper and (massively) more colourful sibling. 

iPhone 6c features

What's the next step for Apple's 'c' series iPhones? Will Apple bring new colours for the iPhone 6c? Will it get new features such as a camera upgrade, a processor boost or a design tweak? 

We think that Apple wants to move all its products over to Touch ID so we surmise that the company could decide to repackage the iPhone 5s in a similar polycarbonate case to the iPhone 5c and sell it at a lower price. Customers would get all the features of the iPhone 5s, but Apple would be able to produce it for less, enabling the company to lower the price.

We'll update this article as soon as we find out more about the iPhone 6c, so check back regularly for the latest information. 

Will Apple discontinue the iPhone 5c?

Presuming that Apple doesn't launch the iPhone 6c at the 9 September event, thereby replacing the iPhone 5c, we believe that the company will continue to sell the iPhone 5c as its cheapest iPhone. In fact we think that Apple will reduce the cost of the iPhone 5c to an even lower price - perhaps a price more in line with what people might have preferred last year.

There's has been some debate as to whether Apple will continue to sell the iPhone 5c, however. There has been widespread debate about the future of the iPhone 5c following Apple's 27 January financial call for the first quarter of 2014. During the call, Apple CEO Tim Cook effectively acknowledged that the sales of the iPhone 5c were not as high as expected. "It was the first time we'd ever run that particular play before, and demand percentage turned out to be different than we thought. We sold more 5S than we expected," Cook said, tacitly admitting that the iPhone 5c under-performed.

At the time Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said: "Demand has not been good. [Apple] will discount it and use that as a lever to improve unit growth. I don't think they will get rid of it completely."

Jefferies analyst Peter Misek was even more harsh, he thought the iPhone 5c had a short life-span ahead of it. "I would expect them to cancel the product after the iPhone 6," he said. "Price cuts are not what Apple does. They build products that they are passionate about and then charge accordingly."

However, the iPhone 5c has not been as unpopular as some have presented it to be. The iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c both outsold Samsung's leading smartphones this year. Back in Mac, according to research from Counterpoint, the iPhone 5s was the best selling phone in the UK. During that month sales of the iPhone 5s accounted for 11.1% of the market while the iPhone 5c sales were 11% - in the same period the just-launched Samsung Galaxy S5 saw just 9%. See: iPhone marketshare.

Looking at Counterpoint's worldwide data, the iPhone 5s is still out in front, although the Samsung Galaxy S5 moves into second place above the iPhone 5c. See: Is the iPhone 5c really a flop?

We think that despite suggestions that the iPhone 5c has been a "flop" it has proven to be a popular alternative to the iPhone 5s and iPhone 4s.

iPhone 6c release date

Is is certainly possible that Apple will continue to offer a lower cost iPhone as it did with the iPhone 5c. The significant thing about the iPhone 5c when it launched last year was that although those in the know recognised it as a repackaged iPhone 5, to anyone else it looked like a whole new iPhone and that was a great reason to buy one.

Equally, Apple may decide that it is preferable to repackage the iPhone 5s as the iPhone 6c this year to encourage sales.

If it does so, then the iPhone 6c could launch on 9 September. However, it's also possible that Apple will decide not to update the iPhone 5c in 2014, but rather wait until 2015 when it releases what will presumably be called the iPhone 6s.

If Apple doesn't follow the same strategy as last year it is possible that it will reduce the price of both the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c, giving consumers four iPhones to choose from (that's including the rumoured Bigger iPhone).

iPhone 6c images

While there are no leaked images of the iPhone 6c, designers have created concepts of the device.

The fact that there are no leaked images of a new iPhone 6c is evidence in itself though. We've seen so many leaked iPhone 6 images that it's highly likely we would have seen an iPhone 6c leak by now if one was in the works alongside the new flagship.

The most recent iPhone 6c concept, and definitely the most appealing yet, is a new concept video by designer Joseph Farahi (below). He's imagined a 4.7in iPhone 6c with colourful plastic chassis just like the iPhone 5c.

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.

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, as shown at the top of this article.

Other iPhone 6c 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 2014-2015? 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. 

The iPhone 6c will run iOS 8, which Apple unveiled during its WWDC 2014 keynote. You can find out more about iOS 8 here.

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.