4.7" or 5.5" iPhone 6

Apple will be announcing a new version of its iPhone in the next month or so and this is no surprise. From references in the Xcode to leaked screenshots of chassis to working dummies, rumors have clearly established that the new iPhone will be housing a bigger than the current 4" screen of the iPhone 5S. What is not yet clear is that if there will be two new iPhone models, come September, one with a 4.7" screen and another with a 5.5" screen. Just for the sake of this post let us assume that Apple will announce two new iPhone 6 models, one with 4.7" and another with 5.5" screen. The first question that arises is about the fate of the current iPhone 4" models. Let us ignore that question for now. How will Apple distinguish between the two iPhone models, other than the obvious screen size variations? We can be almost sure that Apple will differentiate these two iPhone 6 models with something more than the screen size, as Apple has always been clear on avoiding any confusion on the customer's part in choosing between its own products. 

Current iPhone lineup as of Aug 2014 - What's next? (Source: Apple.com)

Current iPhone lineup as of Aug 2014 - What's next? (Source: Apple.com)

But then the obvious way of differentiating between these two models, is to make one better than the other in terms of performance specs and features, like the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C, currently. Then which of the two models, will be the better one (or the less expensive one on the contrary). Will the iPhone 6 - 4.7" be the equivalent of the iPhone 5C and the iPhone 6 - 5.5" be the iPhone 5S replacement? If this happens, Apple would be forcing the customers who want the best performing iPhone to also have a humungous 5.5" iPhone (iPhablet). That would not be fair as I would guess most of the customers would prefer the iPhone 4.7", at least in the US, based on customer interest in the 4.5 - 5" screen sizes (This Canalys report suggests that only 10% of the customers in US prefer a smartphone bigger than 5.4"). Then on the other hand is it intuitive to make the bigger of the two iPhones, the 5.5" model, the less expensive or lesser performing one (In general bigger models are more expensive)? This could make some inherent sense, as customers in many countries, other than US, mainly in the East, have shown a lot of interest in a bigger smartphone or a smaller tablets, i.e., a Phablet and these countries, generally do not prefer high costs for their smartphones as there are no widespread subsidies like in the US and the average buying power of the customers is also lower. So can Apple make the iPhone 6 - 5.5" the more affordable iPhone, having these markets in mind? 

This is a very interesting situation and new ground for Apple and add to this the unknown fate of the iPhone 5S and 5C or the iPhone - 4" in general, the next month's Apple iPhone event will be something to watch for!