Rumors fly about small, cheap iPhone Nano this summer from Apple


Apple is reported to be leveraging its brand with a new family of connected devices that will compete in Android's price range. Image:

Rumors about an iPhone Nano — a smaller, cheaper Apple device that works like an iPhone — are intensifying. The so-called iPhone Nano is reported to be anywhere from one-half to one-third the size of an iPhone with the ability to store data in the cloud. The iPhone Nano would allow wireless carriers to subsidize most of the retail price, putting an Apple device in the same price range as Android handsets.

Apple’s iPhone Nano versus Android

Rumors about a smaller, less expensive iPhone from Apple have been circulating for a few years. Industry analysts are saying that the iPhone Nano’s time has come because Apple is ready to leverage its brand image with a new family of connected devices. The iPhone market has reached near-saturation, and Apple is reportedly getting ready to compete with Android head to head. Although iPhone Nano is the generic term used for all the speculation about Apple’s next move, it’s unlikely that will be the name for the device. Apple is expected to protect the prestigious iPhone brand by introducing a form-specific product such as a music and messaging device that makes phone calls.

iPhone Nano and MobileMe

A key to Apple’s iPhone Nano strategy will be a reconfiguration of its MobileMe cloud storage service. MobileMe enables iPhone users to store data in the cloud and sync contact management with iPhones and computers. A MobileMe subscription currently costs $99 a year. Apple could make MobileMe a free service that would give iPhone Nano users a personal storage unit for photos, music and videos. MobileMe cloud storage would eliminate the need for a lot of memory. MobileMe could also become the nexus for a new online music service in development at Apple, which adds to speculation about a possible “iPod phone.”

Apple’s next smartphone innovation

The iPhone Nano, or whatever it will ultimately be called, is expected in June, Apple’s customary release season for the iPhone. Analysts expect the device to cost about $200, which would allow carriers to subsidize it to the point of being free. Until now, most of the innovations in the smartphone universe have been pioneered by Apple. The next wave of innovations are reported to be in cost reduction. Rumors of a cheaper iPhone-like device from Apple have put other mobile phone manufacturers on notice.


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