i hope it is real, as i would buy one. i'm still holding onto my 3gs. now that i have an ipad mini, the iphone is just a phone. i use it when i am out, and nothing more. in fact, i rarely know where it is in my apartment, anymore, because i use my mini all the time. i just find in on my way out the door, hoping its charged.
i think now is a good time for apple to tier the iphone. already, india sales are giving the iphone world sales a boost. this will just tap into the BRIC markets more. and, as the so called "smart phone" is becoming just another commodity, this also makes sense. and, not that apple management probably cares too much, but i think launching such a product well will give the stock price the kick it obviously needs.
the only real challenge is going to be finding it the right name. nano nor mini really fits. good luck, marketing! no matter what it is called, really looking forward to it.