Skip to main content

KGI: Apple releasing a new 4-inch iPhone early next year, iPhone 7 w/ A10 chip on track for Q3


Generally reliable KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has today shared an investment note in which he breaks down what Apple will do in terms of its smartphones come 2016. In the note, Kuo claims that Apple is still working on a refreshed 4-inch iPhone model…

Kuo says that the 4-inch iPhone “resembles an upgraded iPhone 5s” and features an A9 processor. The design of the device is somewhat unclear from Kuo’s report, but he hints that it will feature a metal casing as opposed to the plastic design featured on the iPhone 5c.

Furthermore, Kuo anticipates that Apple’s 4-inch iPhone will not feature 3D Touch in an effort on the company’s part to clearly differentiate it from the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. Kuo believes there is still a healthy market for a 4-inch iPhone and that Apple will launch the device in the first half of 2016 and ship between 20 million and 30 million units by the end of the year.

Regarding the next major iPhone refresh, Kuo says Apple will keep on track with its normal third-quarter unveil and subsequent release of the device. Kuo anticipates that both the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models of the iPhone 7 will feature Apple’s A10 chip. The two variants of the device will differ, Kuo believes, when it comes to RAM. The analyst expects the 4.7-inch iPhone 7 to feature 2GB of RAM, like the current-gen devices, while the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus will feature 3GB of RAM.

Kuo believes that Foxconn will be the sole manufacturer of the 4-inch iPhone and TSMC will produce the A9 chip for it. TSMC will also be the sole provider of the A10 chip for the iPhone 7, he anticipates.

Kuo makes no comments regarding earlier rumors stating the iPhone 7 will feature a new waterproof and dustproof design. The analyst also does not provide color on rumors that the device will move away from metal in favor of a new casing material.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

You’re reading 9to5Mac — experts who break news about Apple and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Mac on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel


  1. mpias3785 - 7 years ago

    I’d really like to see a 4″ iPhone, but not one missing the latest features. A resin case to cut costs, sure, 64GB tops, ok, 8MP camera, no problem, but I want to see an A9 and 3D Touch. A smaller iPhone, but not last year’s surplus parts.

    Not a loss leader, just a smaller, somewhat less expensive iPhone. Leave room for last year’s model.

    • Arthur (@MeneerTuur) - 7 years ago

      +1 for a phone with last years tech and a cheaper cam. Low profile. A bit like the sport watch. Plastic is fine with me.

    • JBDragon - 7 years ago

      This has been a issue for Android and the so called MINI versions and then they don’t sell because they don’t have all the latest features. Who wants to buy a new phone missing out on things? It’s also harder to cram everything into a smaller phone. Would it have NFC for example? TouchID? 3D Touch is already rumored missing. Leave out stuff, it doesn’t sell well and then you just assume no one wants a small phone when it’s really no one wants to downgrade to a weaker phone just to have a smaller screen.

  2. Terrence Newton - 7 years ago

    If that’s true about the 2 GB for 4.7, and 3 GB for 5.5, that’s just another reason to go with the plus. You could say the RAM is just a stat, but I’m pretty excited about it. The 6s Plus flies compared to the 6s, and the doubled memory definitely plays a huge part in that. Honestly, I think the increased speed is the best new feature of the 6s Plus.

    • You mean the 6S Plus compared to the 6 Plus. Both, the 6S Plus and the 6S, have 2GB of RAM.

    • Evan - 7 years ago

      Both the 6 and the 6 Plus had the same RAM as well, 1GB. If you thought you noticed a difference in processing power, it was probably a placebo effect since you thought it had more.

      • standardpull - 7 years ago

        A lot of people mistakenly believe that more RAM means more speed.

        How about just good old more faster CPUs and GPUs and a faster bus? Why people focus so much on RAM on a device that is far from being RAM constricted is just childish.

      • realgurahamu - 7 years ago

        Standardpull – use lirum and you can see your memory usage and you will see that ram does actually play a big part. Do you even know what RAM is for?

    • viciosodiego - 7 years ago

      We could sea split screen multi tasking on the iPhone 7 plus.

  3. Evan - 7 years ago

    iPhone mini. I can see it now. I think it could be a fantastic move if designed, implemented, and marketed right. Could be a version that gets updates every year or two like the iPad mini and is marketing to either the current iPhone user market, only people that like smaller screens and care less about the latest tech. OR this could be a push into the the top-end Developing World market. I doubt they would go there, but even an iPad mini esq concept is exciting and clearly has a market.

  4. o0smoothies0o - 7 years ago

    Remove the SIM, go to E-SIM, remove the headphone jack and introduce AirPods. They can bundle AirPods or EarPods with lightning connector instead of 3.5mm headphone. Potentially remove the Lightning connector for a smart connector. Remove the home button and replace it with 3D Touch functionality; they could put a concave round dip in the bottom bezel which would be the replacement of the home button and it would be much smaller and not cutout so it would not allow any water inside, and Touch ID could still be built under it.

    Go to OLED with higher resolutions, and battery saving from OLED will enable them to reduce the sizes of the batteries so they can reduce bezels. Go to edge to edge screen, flat glass front, square sides, because of course you can’t do edge to edge screen with beveled glass. Maybe chamfer the glass front, and the back could be chamfered ceramic with the band being 7000 series aluminum, or the body liquid metal and remove the antenna bands and replace them with very thin separations to separate the antennas electrically. If they did some of these things it would increase the water resistance, and reduce internal space which would enable reduction of bezels.

    Maybe 1920×1080 in the 4.7″ and 2560×1440 in the 5.5″, maybe the 5.5″ would need the 3GB RAM to help with that high resolution? If they went to these resolutions, they wouldn’t need to increase again really. At least not for a very long time.

    Speculation is fun.

    • banzboy - 7 years ago

      “Remove headphone jack”

      Oh boy… Incoming 15-25 dollar lightning to 3.5mm adapter.

      • o0smoothies0o - 7 years ago

        Yep. The simple fact is that it has to happen sooner or later. It’s getting to the later point I think. At least for iPhone. When you look at the iPhone, the most critical, important thing, is the internal space. Removing the headphone jack actually would give a lot of space inside the device. It takes up significant space in it. It’s not about thinness. It’s about internal space and the water resistance in not having it is a bonus.

        When you look at other devices like the macs or iPads they are much larger and it’s not near as important to remove the headphone jack from those.

      • banzboy - 7 years ago

        I’d wager that it’ll never happen. To do something like that would be ludicrous.

      • o0smoothies0o - 7 years ago

        To keep it forever…nothing would be more ludicrous than that. That’s literally the opposite of technology and innovation. That’s the complete halt of both.

      • standardpull - 7 years ago

        Or instead of removing the audio jack, they could shrink the logic board. And make it all very power efficient so they could shrink the battery. Hm.

        I speculate a small iPhone 6 type device. Because Apple wants Apple Pay out there.

      • Greg Kaplan (@kaplag) - 7 years ago

        It’s not crazy at all, especially in a smaller iphone line.

        Look at how damn large the port for 3.5mm is. It’s twice as long and almost as wide as lighting. For many people, that space goes utterly wasted most of the day. Both lightning and the built in Bluetooth can be used as a replacement. Considering there is already a growing market of people who are willing to spend more money on wireless headphones, it only makes sense that Apple makes a smaller phone with a new design that encourages that market to grow.

    • kjl3000 - 7 years ago

      Nintendo removed the headphone jack on the gameboy advance sp back in 2003 and combined it with power input on one proprietary connector. So you either had to buy new headphones or an adapter. Either way, no charging and listening through headphones at the same time… Unless you bought a splitter. It was not very well adopted and Nintendo never ever did this mistake again. And even if we have Bluetooth and other shit to cripple sound to bring it to our ears wirelessly, some people still want to use their quality headphones, with cable, without adapter or splitter needed. So Apple, if you ever plan to do this, prepare for riot.

      • o0smoothies0o - 7 years ago

        Wait so you guys actually think that the headphone jack will live on forever? Are you high? There is literally no chance they keep the headphone jack for much longer (on the iPhone). Like I said, it can continue on, on the iPad and Macs for a while, but the iPhone will drop it soon. By the 9, guaranteed. You should look at how much internal space it takes up, it’s a significant amount. Technology advances, that’s the point. It doesn’t get stuck because you don’t change an aspect of something just for convenience sake. If that were the case, nothing would change, they would have never dropped dvd drives, never changed to the Lightning connector, etc etc. look for Apple to drop it soon.

      • kjl3000 - 7 years ago

        @o0smoothies0o, what will replace the headphone jack in your vision? BT? An Adapter? What would that advanced technology look like, and please keep in mind that I referenced on audio quality in my previous post.

      • tonywmd23 - 7 years ago

        Audio won’t be crippled with more advanced wireless technology by the time the headphone jack gets abandoned. This is just how technology advances. People a decade ago couldn’t imagine their phones could be so powerful and you could do everything with them, well now they are and now you can.

      • o0smoothies0o - 7 years ago

        @kjl3000 I said in my post. It will be replaced by Bluetooth and Lightning connector headphones, as well as a lightning to 3.5mm adapter. I know people charge their device while having the headphones plugged in and using the device, I do too rarely. The fact is though, it’s not a very common usage when looking at the entire user base, and thus, if you don’t have Bluetooth headphones it won’t be that much of a problem to not charge and listen with headphones at the same time. That said, there could also be an adapter to charge and listen simultaneously as well. By the way lightning headphones could be higher quality audio than 3.5mm, again though, 98% of users don’t care that much about audio quality.

      • kjl3000 - 7 years ago

        @o0smoothies0o “98% of users don’t care that much about audio quality.” Really? Do You? Well, I sure do, and if Apple is not completely loosing track, they still do, too. But my point is that i just don’t want to carry any adapters with me for such common things as headphones. Wired headphones aren’t obsolete yet, and I don’t see lightning coming as the new standard for Headphones.

      • Greg Kaplan (@kaplag) - 7 years ago

        @kjl3000, you are treating this as if they’d drop it from every iPhone. I think smoothies was saying it could happen to the small phone first. Just like the macbook air dropped the disk drive first… If you want super great audio or don’t want an adaptor or whatever you can get the other model. If Apple ever fully drops the headphone jack from all devices it would be when the technologies around that switch really have so little compromises that people wouldn’t care.

      • o0smoothies0o - 7 years ago

        @kjl3000 I do care about audio quality to the extent that it sounds as good as Apple’s digital music, on EarPods. Sure there are far better audio quality headphones than the EarPods, but what I mean is that almost everyone uses the EarPods or other cheap headphones and they are fine with the audio quality they get from iTunes. Sure there are plenty of audiophiles but it’s a fraction of the iPhone user base.

        The funny thing is, when they remove the headphone jack and introduce AirPods everyone will say they are just trying to force people to purchase new beats, AirPods, or an adapter. Few will appreciate that they are doing it to continue the innovation of iPhone. The fact is, there will be people that cry no matter when they decide to do it, so they might as well get it over with.

      • kjl3000 - 7 years ago

        Ok, maybe we can just all agree that adapters a crap and the future will be bright?

    • viciosodiego - 7 years ago

      What do you mean by smart connecter.

      • o0smoothies0o - 7 years ago

        I mean the new connector on the iPad Pro. It is a conductive two-way power and data port, which is magnetic for alignment as it isn’t an internal port which you plug into, it’s an external port which another smart connector magnetically attaches to and is conductively linked.

        Now, obviously on the iPad Pro this connector is for smart keyboards, and the iPad Pro retains the Lightning connector obviously. The thing is, if the smart connector can provide 1amp charging and as fast data transfer as lightning, then it could be used to replace the Lightning port on iPhones to massively reduce internal space, and be inherently water resistant and faster connection due to magnetically attracting. Assuming it’s as capable as lightning, the only potential hurdle that would need to be addressed is making it a strong enough magnetic attraction so users aren’t knocking it off while they are using their phone when it’s charging.

        If you look at the link Greg Kaplan posted above, you can see that the headphone jack, and lightning port take up substantial internal space.

        Now they did just introduce lightning in 2012, so it may stay for the next several iPhones, but I think they may go in this direction sometime soon, by iPhone 9 I’m sure. Wireless charging certainly won’t be fast enough or miniturized enough for many years im sure. Wireless charging up to a meter, not the useless kind where you have to sit it on a certain spot.

    • realgurahamu - 7 years ago

      Removing the 3.5mm jack could never happen – too many people with beats, marley’s house of sound, bang&oluffsen headphones to name a few and since audio jacks use analog data whereas lightning uses digital data, any adapter made would need to include a converter, further increasing size and price due to complexity of wiring etc – think old school internet modems prior ADSL and Cable

  5. James Gore - 7 years ago

    How about the ‘Capacitive’ touch “Home” button.

  6. kjl3000 - 7 years ago

    So Apple realized not everybody wants to carry an iPad mini with phone capabilities?

    • o0smoothies0o - 7 years ago

      If they reduced bezels substantially, the plus would sell the most easily. The 4.7 would sell second most. And there wouldn’t be a reason for anything smaller because the 4.7 at that point would be roughly the same size as the current 4″. They should do 4.5″, 5.1″, 5.7″ once they reduce bezels to the absolutely minimum.

  7. PhilBoogie - 7 years ago

    Didn’t Kuo say the very same thing last year, and nothing came of it? At any rate, I sure hope this rumour pans out to be true, I’d really like the smaller form factor. That, and the sleep/wake button back to where it belongs: op top.

  8. Paul Van Obberghen - 7 years ago

    I’d even go to say that, to me, the perfect iPhone in terms of size – and design in general – was the 4/4S. Although I went for a 6 a year ago, I still have my 4S, and every time I take it out, I think they really got it right. It feels solid in the hand and you don’t feel like it could easily break as the 6 feels. I never had a case for the 4S but I needed one for the 6 as it was slipping out of my hand too easily… and it so ugly! I appreciate the larger screen of the 6, but then again, the 4S screen was just great for most of the uses I have. On top of being an iPhone, which is the primary reason one buys an iPhone, the 4S was an excellent piece of design, which the 5/5S partly inherited, but not as brillantly as the 4/4S. Johnny Ive was probably sick the day they designed the 6…
    Would Apple be building a 4S with everything the 6S has, and I bet they would sell alot of them. Even if it’s only say 100€ less than the equivalent 6S.

    • Abedoss - 7 years ago

      I agree with you, thats my thoughts, they cannot keep the same design for more than 2 years, but they couldn’t make it better. I have an 5s and 4s and was using the 4s without a case, every time I look at the 4s wich is with my mom now I feel it is tough and more beautiful than my 5s.

    • Greg Kaplan (@kaplag) - 7 years ago

      agree about the 4s. But I’d like to see a phone as tall as the 4s but with a 4″ screen. That would be very appealing.

    • elme26bih - 7 years ago

      The 6S feels much better than the 6. The 6S is really solid and it’s not slippy like the 6. I was really surprized.

  9. Chris Denny (@dennyc69) - 7 years ago

    (Forrest Gump Voice) Mr. Kuo is mistaking a new iPod for an iPhone…..again……..

    • o0smoothies0o - 7 years ago

      He’s commonly correct. Just saying.

    • Greg Kaplan (@kaplag) - 7 years ago

      They just updated the 4″ iPod touch right before the iPhone event with iPhone 6 internals. Why would they make another update?

      • o0smoothies0o - 7 years ago

        Precisely. That may be the last iPod Touch update ever. It certainly won’t be getting updated anytime in the next few years.

  10. Jake Becker - 7 years ago

    Is “analyst” a real job?

  11. lunddal - 7 years ago

    Even though Ming-Chi Kuo has a fine track record, his expected release dates aren’t.

    In 2012 he expected the iPad Air 2 to be released early 2013 – it wasn’t.

    In 2014 he expected the iPad Pro to be released early 2105 – it wasn’t.

    In 2014 he expected the iPhone 6s to be delayed and released early 2016 – it wasn’t.

    He sure likes his “early next year” predictions, and Apple hasn’t released anything “early next year” for years.

  12. rogifan - 7 years ago

    Wow Apple’s going to release a phone next year with an A10 processor. Will probably call it iPhone 7. Shocking news! Why do rumor sites go apes**t every time this guy puts out a research note? He’s just making guesses some of which may or may not happen, and some of which are so obvious they’re not newsworthy.

    • o0smoothies0o - 7 years ago

      Go look at his track record. They aren’t all ‘guesses’ no matter how much you want to believe that. He uses the supply chain information, and gets plenty of accurate information from it.

  13. viciosodiego - 7 years ago

    iPhone 6s mini?

  14. Abedoss - 7 years ago

    I think that his claims is inacurate, as we all know that Apple struggles the whole time to make sure that there is no sole supplier for the core parts of its products. As you know they worked hard and have done a dangerous job by multisourcing its A9 chips in the last iDevices, and you maybe also heard about there hard work with Intel to develop an “iPhonable” modem, to make sure that there is no sole supplier (Qualcomm) for iDevices modems. At last as a years long observer, I can say that Kuo proved that he knows nothing and his predictions (the so called notes) is inacurate, he or any other one couldn’t predict what Apple is going to do.

  15. Daniel Teore - 7 years ago

    I don’t believe it. Every time someone says theres a 4″ iPhone its usually and iPod refresh. I don’t get how you people forget that they still sell iPods and they will updated them to match the technology in their iPhones

  16. Daniel Teore - 7 years ago

    every time we see this it turns out to be a refreshed iPod. Don’t forget they still sell other electronics aside from phones.

  17. mytawalbeh - 7 years ago

    I don’t want to see Apple releasing many iPhones with different sizes more than once a year. I hate the 5C idea, it’s just like they want to sell iPhones. Apple should stick with Steve philosophy by making the best or nothing.
    “TSMC will also be the SOLE provider of the A10 chip for the iPhone 7” I love it.

    • Greg Kaplan (@kaplag) - 7 years ago

      They do want to sell iphones. And they want to make ones that appeal to different people.

      “Apple should stick with Steve philosophy by making the best or nothing.”

      What are you talking about? Look at Apple’s history. How many different types of ipods came out under Steve? Ipod classic, ipod nano, ipod shuffle, ipod touch. Different products for different people. Apple doesn’t just make one perfect product because that’s impossible. They start out with one. But once it matures, they expand the line to make more specific products for different people.

    • ag80911 - 7 years ago

      I get what you are saying but Apple has the need of maintaining their margins. Next year they cannot have the 6 and 6+ as the free on contract phones as this would be good enough for a lot of people.

      They need a so so model to be able to up sell you to the 6s or 7 – here next year possible iPhones:

      iPhone 7,7+
      Iphone 6s,6s+
      iPhone 4″

  18. elme26bih - 7 years ago

    A 4″ iPhone designed like the iPhone 6s would be really cool.

  19. Steve Grenier - 7 years ago

    It would surprise me if Apple released a new iPhone before the iPhone 7. If they do really want a 4″ I would expect it to launch alongside the next new iPhones and it should match features, just like the current iPhone and the Plus. Plenty of people want the latest and greatest in a smaller form factor, so give them it.

  20. Ian Hunter - 7 years ago

    The 4 inch is a suprperior device in my book. We’ve become obsessed with larger and larger screens [Steve would never have approved a Plus model] and drifted further away from simplicity.

  21. jrv6 - 7 years ago

    I have a 5s that is beginning to wear out (reset button sticking, home button a bit hit or miss) I’d love to hold out for a new “small” iPhone
    Maybe a bit smaller than the 5s with an edge to edge screen (3d touch home button) priced higher than the 6s because of cutting edge miniaturization. Battery life, speed etc all better than the 6s. The 6s becomes the “free with contract ” option. A premium stainless or liquid-metal case woul be great .. I would name it iPhone (no number) like the stainless Apple watch and the MacBook.

    • Greg Kaplan (@kaplag) - 7 years ago

      I like the way you’re thinking about it not just being a crappy small phone. I think people have it in their head that smaller is cheaper and apple might stick with that but they can do what they’ve done with laptops. Make the smaller one cheaper but also lower specked. When you configure them to match larger devices they are just as expensive or more so.

  22. dlajrr - 7 years ago

    For me (current 5S since it debuted) if the 6C is just an “upgraded iPhone 5S” then I would want to see:
    Camera (from the iPhone 6)
    Bigger Battery
    NFC for Apple Pay (don’t complain it hasn’t been popular among consumers if you DONT GIVE IT TO THEM. Put NFC in the new 4 inch device)
    LCD from the iPhone 6
    Touch ID from the iPhone 6 or 6S
    FFC from the iPhone 6.
    See the trend? Apple should just take an iPhone 6 and put a 4 inch screen on it. I love 5S but if I can get an iPhone 6 for the same price as I can get a 5S without waiting for the iPhone 7 then it’s a win for me. My 5S is still good however, it’s battery, camera, and screen are all starting to degrade with age.


Avatar for Chance Miller Chance Miller

Chance is an editor for the entire 9to5 network and covers the latest Apple news for 9to5Mac.

Tips, questions, typos to