We’re no stranger to Apple rumours, as you well know. From watches to tablets, to phones and laptops, the iRumour Mill is constantly feeding us all with promises of shiny, powerful iThings.

Out of all of the Apple products that have been rumoured over the years however, the iPhone 6c is perhaps the most confusing, convoluted one yet.

The budget iPhone was expected to materialise alongside the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus last September, but Tim Cook walked off the stage after only revealing those two handsets, with no budget iPhone in sight.

As things stand, there are plenty of rumours surrounding the 6C, and many of them contradict each other, making the whole situation rather confusing. Still, there’s no harm in drinking it all in, is there?

What’s in a name?

Nothing about the iPhone 6c is straightforward. Not even its name.

The most recent leaks actually reckon that the handset will be called the iPhone 5se. We can’t see Apple labelling it with such a godawful car crash of a name ourselves, so we’re going to stick with iPhone 6c for now, thank you very much.

Small screen

One of the only aspects of the iPhone 6c that everyone appears toagree on, is its 4in screen size, which Apple will use to seduce gadgeteers hankering for a more manageable display size, as it did with the iPhone 5c.

We expect the resolution to remain at 1136 x 640 too, providing a Retina Display-qualifying 326 ppi count.

Life in plastic

Here’s where things begin to get nice and confusing. The iPhone 6c, depending on which sources you read, will either arrive clad in coloured plastic, or metal.

First up - the plastic body option (shown above). This render was leaked on Apple’s own website on its official Lightning dock page.

It appears to be a regular plastic-covered iPhone 5c at first glance, but take a closer look at the home button, and you’ll notice that is a fingerprint-scanning Touch ID affair.

A somewhat less reliable source points instead to a metal body option, which essentially looks like a shrunken iPhone 6s. The video above shows off a reportedly genuine iPhone 6c, which was allegedly taken in Apple’s Foxconn factory.

The last (and weakest) rumour comes from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who believes that the iPhone 6c will land in coloured metal options, which does match up with the Foxconn video.

Specs unknown

Things don’t get much clearer when it comes to the iPhone 6c’s specs.

China Mobile believes we’re looking at a 4in 1136 x 640 display (so far so good), along with an A9 processor, 2GB of RAM, an 8MP camera, Touch ID, and gold, silver, and black colour options.

Other specs, confusingly associated with an iPhone 5e, list an A8 processor and 1GB of RAM.

Ming-Chi Kuo supports the A9 processor, but confuses things further by stating that the iPhone 6c’s screen will lack 3D Touch capabilities.

If you ask us, we think the A8 processor, 1GB of RAM and an 8MP camera are the likely specs. While a Touch ID home button and NFC are also good bets, we don’t think 3D Touch will feature amongst the specs.

In this way, the iPhone 6c won’t eat into iPhone 6s or iPhone 7 sales, while still offering enough incentive to upgrade from the ageing iPhone 5c.

Release date

The confusion doesn’t end there folks - multiple launch windows for the iPhone 6c have been suggested.

Our money is on a standard September launch, alongside the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, but IHS analyst Kevin Wang disagrees, believing instead that Apple will unveil the handset in mid-2016.

Anonymous Foxconn employees throw another spanner into the works by stating that the iPhone 6c could launch as early as February, which is rather unlikely, if you ask us.

Oh, and some sources claim we’ll see the iPhone 6c unveiled alongside an Apple Watch 2 event in March. So you know, take your pick.

It all seems rather wishy-washy at the moment, and that’s because it is. As more time passes though, we expect more rumours to leak out, giving us more ammo to hone and refine this preview. Stay tuned.