Apple may release three different iPhones this September

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Is the 4-inch iPhone coming or not?
The projected sizes of Apple's next generation of iPhones. Photo: ModMyI
Photo: ModMyI

Whispers about three new iPhones set to arrive this September are emanating from Apple’s Chinese supply chain — suggesting that we may be set to receive the expected iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, alongside a 4-inch iPhone referred to currently as the iPhone 6c.

Check out details about internal components, possible pricing and projected sales below.

Digitimes suggests that all the devices will feature Corning Gorilla Glass screens, as well as the expected Touch ID and NFC (for Apple Pay) technology. However, the 6s series phones will use Apple’s next-gen A9 chip, while the lower-cost 6c will use the A8 chip.

The report goes on to note that the LTPS panels for the iPhone 6s Plus and 6c will come from Japan Display, Sharp and LG Display, while the one for the iPhone 6s (which would most likely be the biggest seller by a decent margin) will come from Japan Display and LG. Wistron is apparently set to receive the orders for manufacturing the iPhone 6c, and the 6s devices will be made by Foxconn and Pegatron.

A separate report meanwhile claims that the iPhone 6c will carry a price tag between $400-500, and is expected to sell 10 million to 20 million units in its first year. Apple attempted to target low- to mid-level consumers with the iPhone 5c, but initially priced the device too high at $600, so there wasn’t much to separate it (other than lower specs) from the iPhone 5s.

By going with a lower price out of the gate, Apple can focus on tapping into emerging markets such as India, Africa and Latin America, where price is a big obstacle to Apple gaining ground. Although the plastic casing of the iPhone 5c was criticized by some, it is likely that any iPhone 6c Apple chose to sell would be also use plastic cases, since this brings down production costs considerably.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard rumors from the supply chain about a smaller iPhone 6 device. At the time, I wrote that I considered these rumors to be unlikely, predominantly because of the record-breaking sales Apple has achieved with its larger iPhone 6 devices, the observation that larger phones have consistently shown themselves to be the fastest-growing smartphone category, and the fact that much of Apple’s focus right now is expanding into Asia, where the phablet form factor is especially popular.

I also noted that I hadn’t personally heard too much demand for a return to smaller iPhones, although since then I’ve received plenty of emails and comments from readers suggesting otherwise. It wouldn’t be in keeping with Apple’s classic way of doing things to diversify its iPhone product line to three phones per year instead of just one or two, but in a year when the company launches its Apple Watch (which has a strong focus on female users, as seen through the various fashion magazine spreads) maybe it makes sense to try and get as many iPhones into people’s hands as possible.

I just hope that if Apple does take another crack at its “c” line of iPhones, it uses the tagline “I’m 6c and I know it” for ads. Cupertino can have that one for free!