When it comes to phones, Apple is now in the phablet business. CEO Tim Cook didn’t refer to the large iPhone 6 or the even more gargantuan iPhone 6 Plus as such. But there’s no doubt Apple’s phone development took a step toward tablet territory.
Adding jumbo devices to the fray isn’t the only change to the company’s smartphone line-up, though. Apple also got busy rejiggering availability and pricing for its current stock of smaller iPhones. Apple’s online store tells the tale: Some of those devices saw price slashes, while at least one got the old heave-ho, making way for the new iPhones 6, which open for pre-orders Friday.
It’s a lot to take in. But if those changes seem confusing, don’t fret. Here’s a handy guide to iPhone availability.
Apple’s Family of iPhones Now
Apple no longer carries the iPhone 5, its 2012 device that introduced 4-inch displays to the iPhone-using public. But the model didn’t entirely wind up in the smartphone afterlife—it was reborn as 2013’s colorful iPhone 5C.
At this point, the company still carries that low-end model, but it’s no longer a budget device. It’s a freebie phone now. And its sibling, the iPhone 5S—last year’s flagship phone—also went through a price change, dropping from $199 for the 16GB base model to a modest $99 with two-year contract.
As for the even older iPhone 4S, well, it’s time to say goodbye. Apple pulled the plug on the 2011 gadget. This was the last Apple phone with a 3.5-inch screen.
The iPhones 6 and 6 Plus now flesh out the premium end of Apple’s smartphone line. The 4.7-inch device starts at $199 on contract ($649 full retail, with availability from T-Mobile in the U.S. and EE in the U.K.). The super-roomy Plus will put a 5.5-inch screen in people’s hands for a minimum of $299 on contract ($749, full retail).
To sum up:
- 3.5-inch iPhone 4S: Ciao. Thanks for the memories.
- 4-inch iPhone 5S: The most advanced Apple device with smaller display, now $99.
- 4-inch iPhone 5C: The reigning cheap iPhone, with the bargain basement price of zilch.
- 4.7-inch iPhone 6: This is now considered the small iPhone, at least in Apple’s 2014 collection, starting at $199 on contract.
- 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus: Apple’s new premium big-screen wonder stands tall on thick wallets, thanks to its $299 base price.
So it seems die-hard fans of small screens can still find some satisfaction, at least for the time being.
See also: What You Can Do With The Apple Watch
As for the future, the changes to Apple’s inventory may leave one wondering where iPhone development will go next. Next year, Apple will probably follow its historical pattern and release a slightly different iPhone 6S (or two) instead of a major update. While not groundbreaking in itself, that could be enough to finish off the last remaining 4-inch models for good.
The notion was unthinkable a few years ago, when Steve Jobs ridiculed the competition over its enormous handsets. But even though Cook paid homage to the late co-founder on Tuesday at Apple’s press event, it’s clear that this is his company now. And the future of Cook’s Apple is looking super-sized.
Feature image by Yoshikazu TAKADA