First, there are times when Apple does what it does because what it does is so freaking obvious to customers, but not to competitors. The iPhone and iPad are perfect examples where Apple’s initial products were vastly superior to whatever the competition had offered up to that time.
Second, there are times when Apple does what it does, not because it’s the best thing to do, but because Apple can get away with it. That explains why some Apple iPhone have less RAM or lower screen resolution than a few competitors (there might also be an issue where Apple requires product components on a much larger scale, but that’s a separate discussion).
Another example of getting away with it is Apple’s ability to continue to sell last year’s iPhone and iPad models; even selling two year old products as new. That needs to stop. One way to help ease customers into upgrading models is to offer a more diverse product line with obvious migration built in. With the iPhone 6 at 4.7-inchs and iPhone 6 Plus at 5.5-inches, Apple is almost there.
I propose an iPhone 6 mini with the 4-inch display, which is merely an iPhone 5s with new case. Why?
That would make an excellent entry-level phone, and a clear cut starting point to migrate customers to the larger iPhone 6 models. Plus, not every smartphone user wants a giant screen. Size matters. For many, the new larger iPhone models are just that– they’re nice, but they’re just too large.
Technically, it would be trivial for Apple to add an iPhone 6 mini to the line. The screen resolution is already set so app developers don’t have to do any additional work. As to price, Apple could easily price the iPhone 6 mini $100 less than the iPhone 6 (which should be called iPhone 6 Air; just to keep things straight for next year when the iPad Air Plus arrives) with or without the latest A8 CPU.
Three different sized smartphones, each with multiple colors, and different storage would also ease Apple’s supply chain problem which in the past has required massive numbers of screens and multiple storage options.
Apple could also avoid the confusion of selling last year’s models at the same time as the newest models. Look at the iPad line. It’s a mess. iPad Air 2 with 2GB RAM, Touch ID, multiple colors. iPad Air is ancient by comparison but still available. The iPad mini 3 is not just a smaller version of the Air, it’s also a lesser version. But Apple still sells the iPad mini 2 with Retina display, and the iPad mini (without Retina display).
Apple doesn’t do customers a favor, either, by still selling iPhone and iPad models with 16GB of storage, but I can see the logic. Once customers fill up their iDevices they’ll blame themselves for the gaffe, then upgrade to a newer model with more storage, so Apple makes yet another sale.