Return of the 4-inch iPhone? Rumor hints at March launch

Apple could be working on a smaller version of its wildly popular phone, along with Apple Watch bands in new materials, and possibly a pair of iPads.


A little more than a year after responding to the big-phone trend, Apple may backtrack with a smaller model.


Thought the days of the 4-inch Apple iPhone were gone? Not so fast.

The Cupertino, California, electronics giant might be working on such a phone for a March unveiling, according to a report Friday from tech blog 9to5Mac, which has built a reputation for reliably breaking Apple news. The model could be called the iPhone 5SE.

While Apple has met customer demand for larger screens in its iPhone 6 and 6S series, selling a smaller-screen phone would appeal to fans of more petite models. As Apple's main profit maker, keeping the iPhone fresh is imperative to a strong sales forecast. In a product marketplace where stalwart brands like Samsung and HTC struggle for steady growth, Apple continues to post a profit quarter after quarter.

Separately, 9to5Mac also reported that Apple is preparing to unveil new band styles for its Apple Watch in March, alongside a new version of the watch software. The second-generation Apple Watch design is said to be slated for the same month.

Apple declined to comment.

Here's what 9to5Mac says is coming:

Smaller, 4-inch iPhone

  • March launch event
  • Upgrades 4-inch iPhone 5S
  • Would include curved glass edges like iPhone 6 phones
  • Same 8-megapixel, 1.2-megapixel cameras as iPhone 6
  • Support for Apple Pay, Live Photos
  • No pressure-sensitive 3D Touch display
  • Uses iPhone 6 processors (A8, M8)
  • Colors: Silver, space gray, rose gold
  • Pricing: Same as current iPhone 5S (varies by region)
  • Could sell late March or April

New Apple Watch styles

  • March launch
  • New band styles, new materials
  • Watch software update (currently in beta)
  • Full redesign by the end of 2016

More iPads on the horizon

  • New iPads code-named "iPad 6,3" and "6,4" could arrive in November
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