iPhone 6/6S/Air, iPod touch 6 release date: 5.5″ doesn’t add up

The iPhone 6, or the iPhone 6 and 6S, or the iPhone Air, or whatever Apple ends up calling its new super-sized flagship smartphone, now has a release date – or at least an introduction date – set in stone. Some of the rumors sound spot on. Apple will offer the iPhone 6 with a larger screen size to assuage the masses who have been demanding as much, and it’ll be thinner and lighter than the current 5S with an array of new features and more powerful specs. And it’s a good bet that a same-sized iPod touch 6 will debut alongside it. But when it comes to the proposed new screen sizes of 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches, something just doesn’t add up.

The 4.7″ iPhone 6, by itself, sounds like a surefire correct rumor and surefire hit product. It’s in the sweet spot of the moderately larger screen sizes that have been popularized on the Android side of the fence by Samsung and its counterparts, without being freakishly large. It’s precisely the new iPhone that non-iPhone users have been demanding. And then there’s the rumor of a 5.5″ iPhone 6, which sounds more like a fantasy made up by the kind of tech geeks who are trying to compensate for something. Those are precisely the people who tend to buy Android phones that large, and they’re more or less the only people who do so. Worldwide sales numbers reveal that while smartphones in the 4.5 to 5 inch range sell like gangbusters, phones of the 5.5 inch variety are little more than a niche product.

Apple doesn’t usually do niches, but let’s say for the sake of argument that in this instance it’s decided to cover its bases with an iPhone 6 release date that offers a 4.7″ model it knows will do well, and 5.5″ model just in case the “phablet” market does graduate from niche to trend over the next year. That’s all well and good, except that none of these rumors addresses the future of 4″ form factor which the current iPhones employ.

Not only is the 4″ iPhone lineup overwhelmingly popular, the 4″ iPhone 5S is in fact the most popular smartphone in the world, vastly outselling Samsung’s larger Galaxy S5. Are we really to believe that Apple is about to offer the iPhone 6 in a giant 5.5 inch size for a market that largely doesn’t even exist, while suddenly no longer offering it in the incredibly popular 4.0 inch size?

Then again, the sources through which tech rumors tend to filter are generally the kind of geeks who, again, wouldn’t be caught dead with something as small as a 4.0″ iPhone model. So it’s possible Apple is about to introduce three new iPhone 6 models to satisfy all three sizes. Then again, it’s just as possible that the entire 5.5″ iPhone 6 is merely something that was made up out of thin air by the kind of tech enthusiasts who wish it were true. After all, after various tech publications spent about seven years writing fake rumors claiming that Apple was about to launch a Mac Mini, Apple finally went ahead and offered such a product just to shut them up.

In other words, don’t be surprised if the iPhone 6 comes in 4″ and 4.7″ options, and immediately thereafter, the tech headlines claim that the 5.5″ iPhone 6 has been “delayed” by way of explaining why it never existed. But either way, Apple is about to show that it’s serious about offering larger screen sizes – and we’ll have our answers when it introduces the new iPhones on September 9th and then holds the iPhone 6 release date shortly thereafter.

Phil Moore

Phil Moore

Phil covers tech for Stabley Times.