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Phones

Shrunken version of iPhone 6 reportedly won't be coming this year

Rumors of a 4-inch iPhone 6C have been circulating, but a tech blog reports that this device won't be ready for Apple's upcoming press event next month.

More iPhones are on the way. CNET

Apple just sent out invitations for its next big media event, and fresh rumors of what will and won't be announced are already flying.

Though the next generation of big-screen iPhones should be the main attraction at the September 9 event, a rumored smaller-screened smartphone won't be ready for prime time quite yet, the blog 9to5Mac reported Thursday, soon after Apple announced its event. This 4-inch phone, dubbed the iPhone 6C, has been in the works and has the capabilities of the iPhone 6, the blog said, citing unnamed sources. A 3.5-inch phone -- which is the size of the original iPhone from 2007 -- is also being prototyped, the blog also said.

The tech giant's current iPhone 6 model has a 4.7-inch screen and the iPhone 6 Plus has a 5.5-inch screen. The next versions are expected to be called the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus.

Additionally, 9to5Mac said -- again citing sources -- that the iPhone 5C, a cheaper and less popular version of Apple's blockbuster smartphone, will be discontinued.

An Apple representative didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Apple has raked in huge profits from its lineup of iPhones, which have propelled the Cupertino, California, company to become the most valuable company in the world by market capitalization. As its smartphones have grown in popularity, Apple has become hugely dependent on their continued success, since more than two-thirds of its revenue comes from the device. Now Apple faces the danger of stumbling badly if many of its customers suddenly stop buying iPhones and switch to competing devices.

Working to ensure that doesn't happen, Apple is expected to continue tweaking its smartphone, adding its ForceTouch technology to its new devices, allowing the iPhones to differentiate between hard and light taps on the display. Other upgrades could include a faster processor and camera, as well as more color options.

Apple is also working on diversifying its revenue with other products, including launching its first wearable -- the Apple Watch -- in April, and continuing to improve its lineup of iPad tablets and Mac laptop and desktop computers.