The Apple logo.
IN PHOTO: The Apple logo is pictured at a retail store in the Marina neighborhood in San Francisco, California April 23, 2014. REUTERS / Robert Galbraith

Apple's iPhone 7 release date plans for 2015 will include three models with the 4-inch iPhone 6S Mini likely a shoo-in earlier in the year as reports emerged that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) will end up producing most of the A9 application processors that will power the devices.

The latest development contradicts with the recent reports that Samsung will get the honours of supplying the processing chips for the iPhone 6 sequel.

Favoured for yield capacity

According to The Taipei Times, TSMC and Samsung are locked in a fierce battle to win the nod of Apple and the Asian publication noted that "the two companies' technological capabilities are similar."

However, TSMC will get the better of its South Korean rival as the iPhone maker will most likely award the contract on the company that can guarantee solid output numbers within the production deadline demanded, the report added.

"The key for TSMC to win over its main competitor, Samsung Electronics Co, in vying for Apple's orders is its production yield," said The Taipei Times report.

Samsung though will remain a key player in the iPhone 6S or 7 supply chain as one analyst noted that "the winning supplier of A9 will not take all the orders."

Samsung will handle a significant volume of the A9 chip production duties "as Apple tends to spread the risks," added the report.

This way, the tech giant is minimising the likelihood of production and rollout delays, the same analyst offered.

Reasons for iPhone 6S Mini release

Meanwhile, the possibility that Apple will issue a 4-inch smartphone that reports refer to as the iPhone 6S Mini is quite high, BGR said in a new report, adding that "releasing an iPhone 6s Mini is a huge no-brainer for Apple."

The device, according to the tech site, will satisfy the lingering demand for a smaller phone that is hardware-optimised for one-hand use, which is the main justification for the return of the 4-inch smartphone profile in Apple's 2015 device line up.

Also, the upgrade makes sense as Apple will need to issue a new handset that has the chops to put into full use latest iPhone services. One that readily comes to mind is Apple Pay that relies on Touch ID fingerprint and near-field communication (NFC) technologies - both of which are absent from the 4-inch iPhone 5S.

Lastly, Apple is gunning to unify its design template with the 6S Mini, BGR said, which means that the company would want its new 4-inch phone easily identifiable with the regular iPhone 6 and the 6 Plus.

Looking closely at the iPhone 5S and 5C, one would easily understand the rationale for an iPhone 6S Mini.

It can be expected therefore that the 6S Mini will come out of the box with powerful specs, killer features and a build that is lean and light or very similar with the iPhone 6.

But on its release date, likely to happen before the regular iPhone 6S or 7 in the second half of 2015, the 6S Mini will not be the budget phone that Apple fans envision it to be as BGR projects that sticker price of the device will be less expensive compared to its iOS siblings but definitely not in the cheap territory.