The Small iPhone Isn’t Dead: 4.7-inch Model Tipped for March 2020

With its 2018 iPhone updates, Apple went big, adding 6.1- and 6.5-inch models alongside the 5.8-inch iPhone XS. But there's plenty of us who still prefer more compact phones — especially with Apple also dropping the 4-inch iPhone SE from its lineup last year.

The iPhone 8's screen size could make a comeback. (Credit: Tom's Guide)

(Image credit: The iPhone 8's screen size could make a comeback. (Credit: Tom's Guide))

The good news for fans of small phones is that relief could be on the way in the form of a smaller iPhone, though we'll have to wait until the spring of 2020 to get our hands on this rumored model.

That's the word out of Asia, based on an Economic Daily report flagged up by 9to5Mac. The report claims that Apple will come out with a 4.7-inch phone next March that will offer some stripped-back specs in favor of a lower price tag.

Before iPhone SE fans circle March 2020 in their calendars, be aware that this phone is more likely to resemble the iPhone 8, with sizable bezels that increase the overall size of the phone beyond what the pocket-sized SE had to offer. Though it has a 4.7-inch screen, the iPhone 8 features a 5.5 x 2.7 x 0.29-inch frame. That's just a fraction smaller than the 5.7 x 2.8 x 0.3-inch iPhone XS with its 5.8-inch screen, and much larger than the 4.9 x 2.3 x 0.3-inch iPhone SE.

The value of this rumored 4.7-iPhone may not be in its size, but in its specs. According to Economic Daily, the phone will feature an A13 processor — the same chipset likely to power the iPhone 11 for this fall. In other words, the smaller iPhone is likely to have the best Apple-designed processor available when it debuts next spring.

With a reported price tag of $649 — that's a $100 discount from the iPhone XR — this iPhone would likely be aimed at shoppers who'd like to get an iPhone but are put off by Apple's higher-than-average prices. The tradeoff seems like it be with the phone's camera: Apple will reportedly opt for a single rear lens, but as users of the iPhone XR will tell you, that's not too much of a compromise.

There's a lot of time between now and next March, with Apple likely to roll out three higher-profile iPhones this fall. Still, reports that Apple is looking at another lower-cost iPhone suggest that the company is looking for new ways to expand its audience in an era of shrinking smartphone sales.

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.