Oops! Apple Store gaffe may have spilled the iPhone 6c early

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The iPhone 5c might be broken wide open. And what's next?
The iPhone 5c might be broken wide open. And what's next?
Photo: Apple

Is Apple preparing to deliver a refreshed iPhone 5c? A product image on its own online store shows what could be a new iPhone 6c sitting atop the new Lightning iPhone dock. The device carries the same plastic back we’re already familiar with, as well as a Touch ID sensor.

Recent rumors have claimed Apple will launch an updated 4-inch iPhone this year, alongside the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, providing a more affordable alternative to its pricey flagships. However, most of us were pretty skeptical of those claims.

Apple’s last attempt at an affordable smartphone didn’t sell anywhere near as well as expected — thanks mostly to its aging internals — and although the company continues to offer the 5c, it has gone without a refresh for 19 months.

But the image above suggests Apple hasn’t quite given up on cheaper iPhones. The device seen in its dock photo looks identical to the original iPhone 5c, and remains the same size, but clearly has a Touch ID sensor, which is a new addition.

It’s certainly plausible that whoever mocked up these images at Apple simply made a mistake, so this doesn’t confirm anything just yet. But either way, it’s a pretty surprising gaffe from a company that rarely makes surprising gaffes.

At the time of writing this piece, the images can still be seen on the Apple online store, though we expect them to disappear pretty quickly once Apple wakes up and sees the news.