Mini MeRumors of a new 4-inch iPhone model soon to debut have just received their latest confirmation from highly-rated Apple rumors sources AppleInsider and 9to5Mac. The reports quote a research note for investors from equally highly-rated KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who claims that the 4-inch unit will ship 12 million units in 2016, and sports a design similar to the ageing iPhone 5s, with a retail price somewhere between $400 and $500.

Some great claims are being made for this new mini-iPhone. Forbes declares that “Apple’s 4-inch iPhone Strategy Could Devastate The Competition,” on the grounds that the new 4-incher will persuade users of older legacy iPhones to upgrade, and pull in more emerging markets customers, while freeing Apple to drop the price of the iPhone 5s to more like $225.

Is this a recipe for a big win? I’m not convinced. For one thing, $225 is still far above the retail price of many low- and medium-end Android phones with screen sizes of 5 inches and above, never mind $400. And will the promise of iPhone 6-standard internals in a smaller, cheaper package be enough to persuade existing U.S. users to trade up to the new model? Again, at this price point, I’m not convinced, not least because with smartphones developing more uses and phablets gaining in popularity, a smaller device seems completely the wrong way to go.

One tweak that might make a difference for e-reading, though, is a reported “2.5D” cover glass similar to the beveled display of the iPhone 6. Some current iPhone users may find that that, along with the new internals and price point, might make the smaller iPhone 4-inch their portable ebook reading device of choice. And once again, I’m not convinced, but then, I’ve never been much of an iPhone fan.


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