With Apple's current iPhone lineup essentially consisting of larger-screened devices, consumers who prefer a smaller form factor largely find themselves with not much to choose from. Basically, if you want to pick up a 4-inch iPhone today, you're pretty much stuck with the iPhone 5s, which while a fine device, is well over two years old at this point.
Not to fear, news from the rumor mill strongly points to Apple releasing an upgraded 4-inch iPhone model early this year. Allegedly slated to be unveiled at an Apple media event in March, Apple's upcoming iPhone is said to be something of a modest iPhone 5s upgrade.
The latest news surrounding the devices comes via the Chinese-language site MyDrivers. Interestingly, the report claims that Apple's upcoming iPhone may be called the iPhone 5e, a nomenclature which perhaps refers to it being an 'enhanced' version of the 5s.
The report specifically states that the iPhone 5e will come with 1GB of RAM, an A8 processor, and the same camera module as the 5s. That said, we can only hope that this report is a bit off base as previous reports have indicated that the upcoming 4-inch iPhone (which others have referred to as the iPhone 6c) will feature 2GB of RAM and an A9 processor.
The one feature that most everyone can agree on is that Apple's upcoming 4-inch iPhone will come with a an NFC chip and support for Apple Pay, something the iPhone 5s lacked as the feature didn't roll out until the iPhone 6.
MyDrivers also relays that the iPhone 5e may only come in two capacities, with 16GB and 64GB being the only available storage options. The other noteworthy feature on the device, according to the report, will be support for voice over LTE.
Design wise, previous reports have indicated that the 4-inch iPhone will have an aluminum casing and will largely look like the 5s, a welcome design choice given the pastel colors that defined the release of the iPhone 5c. As for what Apple's upcoming iPhone won't have, it's a safe bet that it won't feature 3D Touch as that will remain a flagship feature for Apple's larger iPhone models.
With so much conflicting information out there, it's hard to know what to take seriously. Personally, I think it would be in Apple's best interest to bestow its upcoming iPhone with some internal hardware upgrades. If the camera stays the same, that's fine. But at the very least, bestow it with 2GB of RAM or an A9 processor. Or, on the contrary, upgrade the camera system and give it an A8. Either way, Apple needs to provide some sort of value proposition for users aside from Apple Pay.