Would you go back to a 4-inch iPhone?

A new rumor says to expect three new iPhones this year, including a 4-inch device that bucks the trend of big displays that some of your friends and family love to mock.

Eric Mack Contributing Editor
Eric Mack has been a CNET contributor since 2011. Eric and his family live 100% energy and water independent on his off-grid compound in the New Mexico desert. Eric uses his passion for writing about energy, renewables, science and climate to bring educational content to life on topics around the solar panel and deregulated energy industries. Eric helps consumers by demystifying solar, battery, renewable energy, energy choice concepts, and also reviews solar installers. Previously, Eric covered space, science, climate change and all things futuristic. His encrypted email for tips is ericcmack@protonmail.com.
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Eric Mack
3 min read


A new rumor swirling around the Apple trolliverse suggests that three new iPhone models may be released in the second half of this year, including an iPhone 6S, an iPhone 6S Plus and a 4-inch device that Digitimes refers to as the "iPhone 6C."

Now, while none of this is crazy talk, it should be made clear that Digitimes rumors have a very mixed track record and I can't confirm any of this. It makes sense that we might see an iteration on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus this fall, but what is really interesting is the notion that Apple might not be giving up on the idea of a smaller iPhone.

Over the past few years, there's been a pretty clear and undisputed shift towards larger mobile devices, with all the flagships from Samsung, Apple, Motorola and others moving to bigger and bigger screens. And it doesn't seem to be about fanboys and girls just running out and buying the newest thing that happens to be larger. All the way back in 2011, 61 percent of CNET readers told us they wanted a larger screen on their iPhones. And just last summer, a global survey found the desire for both larger iPhones and Android phones to be worldwide.

Since then, Apple has delivered with bigger and much bigger phones in the 6 and 6 Plus, and Google went even further with the Sasquatchian Nexus 6.

Yet, all is not quite right.

While sales and survey figures may not reflect society's hidden irritation with the increasing size of phones, anecdotes abound. How often have you startled a less tech-obsessed family member when you pulled out your latest hot phablet purchase and they seemed to fear that you were about to taze them? Or been hit with the always-clever rhetorical retort: "You call that thing a phone?"

But it's not just the slow adopters who mock the growth in phone growth. Lots of new phablets are just too big to operate with one hand, and even today's medium-size phones often seem a silly option for the not inconsiderable population of consumers with smaller hands.

And this is why I suggest to you that Apple may be onto something with the notion of a 4-inch iPhone 6C, or whatever. Despite the failure of the iPhone 5C and the blurring line between phones and tablets, one trend seems to grow at the same pace as the size of phone screens, and that's the people in my daily life who make fun of and complain about the size of today's phone screens.

Even if 60 percent of us are happy with our bigger screens, hearing the other 40 percent kvetch about them does not make for an inconsiderable amount of repetitive small talk. So, if the rumors turn out to be true, I'll be the first to thank Apple for reducing the amount of my time that's spent on the unending screen size debate.

Actually, I might even buy one myself, because you know, skinny jeans.

What do you think? Would you consider downsizing with your next smartphone purchase? Let us know in the comments and on Twitter @crave and @EricCMack.