For years, it was rumoured that Apple’s low-cost iPhone would be a smaller version of the full-price edition and was informally dubbed the 'iPhone mini' in the tech press.
But that sort of chatter appeared to have died out over the last six months, along with feature phones and text messaging, as 'iPhone mini' was superseded by the title 'iPhone 5S' when talking about a cheaper iPhone.
The change was presaged by leaks suggesting that, in fact, the budget iPhone would retain the dimensions of the current-gen model. And that was that. Or so it seemed.
Today it appears we might’ve been a mite hasty in dismissing the iPhone mini’s chances of ever making it further than the drawing board or the environs of Apple’s Cupertino campus.
According to sources cited by Taiwanese tech-business news site DigiTimes, which has a pretty hit-and-miss record with breaking news, Apple could yet drop a smartphone with a 3.5-inch screen during the third quarter.
There’s no mention of the ‘mini’ sobriquet in the report in relation to the micro-sized iPhone, but given that it comes in half an inch smaller than the current model, it’s clearly what we're dealing with here.
Recent leaks from the Apple supply chain indicated that the handset would retain the four-inch screen of the iPhone 5, with cost-savings coming from substituting premium materials for a plastic shell and skimping on processor brawn.
Purportedly set to make its debut in September, the more affordable iPhone is also expected to come in an array of colour options a la iPods.
As with the full-size iPhone 2013 refresh and the iPad mini 2, it is widely thought to feature fingerprint-scanning technology for extra security.