The rumour’s been doing the rounds for weeks. But once again, talk of the iPhone 6C is back at the top of the tech headlines.
The reason? The same analyst who last month claimed Apple would bring the small–screened device into production early next year has once again spoken to his sources, who say the phone is nailed on for the first half of 2016.
This is not a surprise in itself. But the fact that the analyst, Ming Chi Kuo, has reiterated his previous statements, points to a man increasingly confident that he knows Apple’s next move.
Kuo has plenty of previous. He gets more right than wrong when it comes to Apple and predicted the iPad Pro was on its way years ago.
At the time, many derided the idea. That device has been on sale for a month now, after being launched alongside the iPhone 6s back in September.
Releasing the iPhone 6C early next year is certainly a game changer for Apple.
Since 2010, its new iPhones have come out in autumn, designed to flood the market in the run up to Christmas.
So, why go early when it could release a smaller iPhone 7 at the same time as its new flagships in late 2016?
Kuo reckons it’s all to do with keeping its share price high and ensuring steady iPhone sales throughout the year.
In an investor note, Kuo says iPhone 6s sales are tapering off slowly, with a slowdown expected as usual in the early part of the year.
He doesn’t believe the device will sell as well as last year’s iPhone 6.
By releasing the iPhone 6C, Apple can mitigate any sales drop, as well as taking plenty of attention away from rivals such as Samsung and LG, who traditionally launch new products in spring.
It would help boost summer sales and give Apple a new, more affordable product to see off the competition.
China will also be playing on Apple’s mind. The mid–range smartphone market is booming in the country and Apple’s success there is already well noted.
A cheaper phone could help it corner even more market share, hitting local mobile-makers where it hurts and driving huge profits.
Whatever happens, it now appears that the iPhone 6C is a certainty for 2016.
Demand for larger phones isn't going anywhere. But Apple clearly thinks a smaller phone, with high end features such as Touch ID and a metal design, can help it make even more money than it already does.
The iPhone is its cash cow and it’s not going to let that slip any time soon.