If you long for the days of palm-sized iPhones, Apple just might have something in store for you. According to a new report, the Cupertino, Calif., tech giant is prepping a new, 4-inch handset set for release early next year. It may harken back to the smaller design of the iPhone 5s.

The latest rumor comes from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who published a research note this week with more purported details about the device. As reported by Apple Insider, Kuo’s note claims the 4-inch phone will be powered by an A9 processor, the same chip found in Apple’s current iPhone 6s and 6s Plus offerings. Kuo also expects the phone to support Apple Pay mobile payments. Kuo expects the phone to cost between $400 and $500 — substantially lower than the $649 starting price of the iPhone 6s — as Apple looks to reach more customers.

Kuo’s latest claims echo some of the details from a November research note in which the analyst said the phone could sport an A9 processor, along with a 4-inch, metal-encased body. While it may share some specs with its bigger brother, Kuo expects the 4-inch model to ditch the 6s’ 3D Touch functionality, in order to set it apart (and possibly to allow for that lower price tag).

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about a new take on Apple’s smallest phone; previous rumors have suggested that Apple was prepping an iPhone “6c” model to launch alongside the 6s and 6s Plus. Reports from early this year suggested that the iPhone 6c would be a more affordable 4-inch device that would pack an A8 processor. A recent 9to5Mac report claimed that the iPhone 6c wasn’t quite ready for a September launch, which could explain why the small smartphone is now rumored to release sometime in 2016.

Releasing a smartphone in the first half of the year would be uncharacteristic of Apple, a company that typically hosts one big iPhone launch every September. However, considering that the iPhone 5s is the only 4-inch iPhone left in Apple’s current handset lineup, it may be wise for Apple to release something more up-to-date for those who prefer smaller phones.

Apple may also want to have an early-year smartphone release in order to fend off a more aggressive Samsung. The Korean smartphone maker is rumored to release its Galaxy S7 phone as early as January 2016.

Source: Tomsguide

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