Apple Working on Smaller, Cheaper iPhone to Compete with Android?

In an effort to compete with the large selection of Android smartphones in the current market, it has been suggested that Apple is working on a smaller, cheaper version of iPhone (nano?) which would be available without the need to sign up for a contract.

The Bloomberg report published today cites “people who have been briefed on the matter,” and claims that the alternative iPhone will be priced at around $200 and will be about one-third smaller than the iPhone 4, Apple’s latest device. From the report:

One version would be cheaper and smaller than the most recent iPhone, said a person who has seen a prototype and asked not to be identified because the plans haven’t been made public. Apple also is developing technology that makes it easier to use the iPhone on multiple wireless networks, two people said.

While Apple has aimed to unveil the device near mid-year, the introduction may be delayed or scrapped, the person said. Few Apple employees know the details of the project, the person said. Apple often works on products that do not later get released.

As well as sparking rumors that the Cupertino company is developing a more affordable iPhone, the Bloomberg report also suggests that Apple is working on a dual-mode device that will support both GSM and CDMA carriers – a step that would mean the company could provide one iPhone for any network, as opposed to the two it now offers after the release of the Verizon iPhone 4 this month.

A dual-mode device will be unsurprising to many after the discovery of the Qualcomm dual-mode baseband chip discovered in an iFixit teardown of the Verizon device just this week. However, what might come as a surprise is the claim that Apple will phase out SIM cards and opt instead for a built-in SIM that is easily programmable via simple software settings; another suggestion made in Bloomberg’s report.

If this is true, SIM cards will be another item added to the list of mediums that Apple has attempted to fade out over the years. Famously the company played a big part in the eradication of the floppy disk, and more recently has made attempts to do away with Firewire, the mouse, and possibly optical drives.

A smaller, “iPhone nano” device is something that has already been rumored in the past, however, it would appear speculation was put to bed for a while before Bloomberg woke it up again today. The concept of a smaller, cheaper iPhone is certainly an interesting one, and of course, a move for Apple that could mean even more customers and a larger target audience.

Despite this, I don’t see Apple bringing a device of this kind to the market. The company has always been about simplicity and compatibility, and a smaller device, with a smaller screen and lesser parts, would, among other things, mean new firmware and a whole new collection of App Store apps and games.

Current apps and games wouldn’t work on less powerful processors and smaller screens, and I can’t see Apple ignoring that and asking developers to provide for a third iOS device that will never be as popular as its older brothers.

What do you think? Would you dismiss my opinion and say that an Apple “iPhone nano” is completely plausible, or would you agree that it kind of goes against what Apple is all about? Let us know in the comments!


Leave a Reply