Paper suggests Apple's iPhone nano will ring this spring

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Rumors that Apple plans to release a more compact version of the iPhone refuse to fade, with new claims out of the Far East suggesting the device is slated to appear sometime this spring.



The Chinese-language Economic Daily News, a fairly reliable publication with presumed sources within Apple's Taiwanese supply chain and manufacturing facilities, said Tuesday that bidding for some of the device's potential component suppliers is near an end.



In particular, the paper reported that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) will likely land chip orders for the low-cost entry-level handset, which it refers to as the "iPhone nano."



The paper added that the unspecified chip orders may see the nod from Apple in March ahead of an official iPhone nano launch that would come no earlier than June.



Apple has used its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June to finalize details of both the original iPhone and the iPhone 3G, though the original model was first previewed during the Macworld trade show in January of 2007.



Financial experts have long argued that Apple's strong real-world revenues and high iPhone gross margins afford the company substantial headroom to introduce a $99 handset that could lead to huge strides forward in market share.




Last month, FBR Capital Markets analyst Craig Berger said the iPhone nano would serve as that device and include a baseband controller from Qualcomm rather than Apple's traditional supplier, Infineon.



"Our contacts see a lower-cost version of the iPhone, possibly in mid [second quarter]," he said. "Some call this device the 'iPhone Nano'; whatever one calls it, we believe this device is on its way."



Adding a new twist to the rumors on Monday was a report from American Technology Research analyst Brian Marshal, who suggest that the much rumored nano phone would bypass the US markets to serve only those abroad, particularly the Far East.



Marshal based his assumption on feedback from AT&T insiders who told him that such a device had not surfaced within the wireless carrier's testing labs, which would seem to preclude a stateside launch in the near term.



"Obviously, the best-case scenario here would be a China launch, but we have no definitive knowledge of this and are working on identifying the local of launch and other pertinent details," he wrote.



Should Apple sell 10 million units of the so-called iPhone nano this year, it would generate an incremental $3.4 billion in pro forma revenue for Apple and drive a 7 to 12 percent increase in the company's per-share earnings, the analyst said.



Rumors of an iPhone nano debut at last week's Macworld Expo swirled leading up to the conference after two iPhone case makers (1, 2) added references to the unannounced device to their websites.



One of the numerous iPhone nano mockups submitted to AppleInsider.



However, the anecdotal evidence, along with supposed renderings of an actual protective holder, was met with considerable skepticism given that corroborative evidence of such a device had not surfaced from more traditionally reliable sources.



Meanwhile, grey marketers in Thailand aren't waiting for the official word from Cupertino and have instead begun marketing their own iPhone nano lookalike handsets under the iPhone mini moniker.



With rumors of an "iPhone nano" persisting, AppleInsider has gone ahead and created an iPhone nano topics page (RSS) to archive the growing number of reports on the device. As is the case with all topics pages, readers interested in a specific topic can subscribe to that topic's RSS feed.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 66
    vandilvandil Posts: 187member
    If Apple does make an iPhone Nano (and thus also probably an iPod Touch Nano), they had better not dicker with the hardware specs beyond the the iPhone, iPhone 3G, Touch Gen-1, and Touch Gen-2. Too many hardware specs can spell doom for the App store. We're already seeing Apps running better on Gen-2 Touches than the other models.
  • Reply 2 of 66
    What would they take away from the iPhone to make it a "nano?" A smaller screen size?
  • Reply 3 of 66
    aplnubaplnub Posts: 2,605member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kaiser777 View Post


    What would they take away from the iPhone to make it a "nano?" A smaller screen size?



    That is a good question.



    Maybe more narrow and slim with less storage.



    Not sure wither what you can do to make it "nano" without crippling the phone beyond current capabilities without pissing everyone off. But this is Apple so anything is possible.
  • Reply 4 of 66
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kaiser777 View Post


    What would they take away from the iPhone to make it a "nano?" A smaller screen size?



    1) Data plan. There would only be voice service.

    2) Custom apps. There would be bare-bones apps only, similar to a regular iPod.



    There are plenty of people, like myself, who would rather carry one device ("iPhone Nano") instead of two (iPod and regular cell phone). The data plan for the iPhone in Canada is exorbitant ($70-$80/month, 3 year contract). Many want a single device that will sync up with iTunes, AddressBook and iCal and allow them to make phone calls. Also, Apple could charge a premium over other "dumbphones", because it's an Apple product. This also allows them to do an end-run around AT&T by breaking exclusivity.
  • Reply 5 of 66
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,389member
    A nano with a smaller screen, but the same res AND with the same flash capacity (8GB or more) would be HOT in any country. The iPhone is too big even for my big hands. The 3G's rounded back is easier to hold, but the width is still tough to grasp.



    A nano-sized iPhone would be cool, but the screen would be suitable for only the young and the eagle-eyed. The keyboard would be even harder to use for those of us with large fingertips.



    Anything Apple sells overseas people will want in the USA. Period. It's Apple. People are crazy about anything they do and want to buy everything they make (except the iPod HiFi ).
  • Reply 6 of 66
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kaiser777 View Post


    What would they take away from the iPhone to make it a "nano?" A smaller screen size?



    A significantly smaller screen size would be a problem. I mean it could be 3.4" or 3.3", but not much smaller than that. If you look at the interface design guidelines you can see that current software for the phone uses, in various places, exactly the minimum space for "buttons" according to the guidelines.



    There are other ways to lower the cost of the phone that would not require software changes. Less memory (back to 4GB), smaller battery, no GPS, no 3G, all plastic finish. There also are other ways to cheapen it which I think would be a bad idea: no WiFi, for example.



    The whole point of the iPhone is the screen. I would be surprised to see a significantly smaller screen.
  • Reply 7 of 66
    gqbgqb Posts: 1,934member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JavaCowboy View Post


    1) Data plan. There would only be voice service.

    2) Custom apps. There would be bare-bones apps only, similar to a regular iPod.




    #1: quite possible. I've been fine with wifi-only on my touch and could seriously think about a voice-only + wifi phone.

    #2: No way. Apps have become the biggest differentiator (after integration/ease of use). Apple has no benefit in going to 'phone only'.



    Maybe smaller bezel... screen right to the edges, on/off button on side?



    But overall, I'm not sure I see the current form-factor as all that big.



    The idea that such a new device could break with AT&T is interesting tho'.
  • Reply 8 of 66
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,709member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by vandil View Post


    If Apple does make an iPhone Nano (and thus also probably an iPod Touch Nano), they had better not dicker with the hardware specs beyond the the iPhone, iPhone 3G, Touch Gen-1, and Touch Gen-2. Too many hardware specs can spell doom for the App store. We're already seeing Apps running better on Gen-2 Touches than the other models.



    If there is an iPhone Nano, why would there be an iPod touch Nano? Doesn't make sense. An iPhone Nano will not be usable in the same sense as a regular iPhone / Touch. I bet it will have very limited functionality phone, iPod, games (not the same ones as its bigger brother and sister) and a much smaller selection of apps, if any. All downloading of apps / games will need to happen via iTunes. I wouldn't be surprised if there is no wifi, and no web, and no email. It may not even be G3. It will just be a very small and very cool little phone / ipod with a few extras. If you want smart phone you know what to get.
  • Reply 9 of 66
    Forget everything about the current iPhone and picture it as just an iPod Nano with a phone. It might not even have wifi. No touch screen. An Apple logo.



    They could bring back the fatty for this. For people who mostly use their iPod for music and have simple phone needs this would be a perfect fit.



    What separates it from other similar devices? It works with iTunes, which can't be overlooked. It's cheap. And most importantly, Apple will get a bounty from AT&T as they bring over more new subscribers.



    (Paxman - I would have beat you to the punch but the phone rang. Weird. I almost never answer the phone.)
  • Reply 10 of 66
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GQB View Post


    #1: quite possible. I've been fine with wifi-only on my touch and could seriously think about a voice-only + wifi phone.

    #2: No way. Apps have become the biggest differentiator (after integration/ease of use). Apple has no benefit in going to 'phone only'.



    Maybe smaller bezel... screen right to the edges, on/off button on side?



    But overall, I'm not sure I see the current form-factor as all that big.



    The idea that such a new device could break with AT&T is interesting tho'.



    The thing is, and I know this sounds silly, but the iPhone doesn't look like a *phone* at all. This will sound sillier, but the iPhone is like an iPod touch with calling and a camera bolted on.



    I would go so far as to say that the iPhone excels at the "touch" functionality, and is limited with its "phone" functionality.



    The way I see it, the iPhone Nano would be less of a "touch" device and more of a "phone". For instance, I can't see Safari running on a smaller screen.



    I'm not sure what Apple is thinking of doing, but I'm sure they're trying to expand beyond the limited smartphone market somehow.
  • Reply 11 of 66
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by walshbj View Post


    Forget everything about the current iPhone and picture it as just an iPod Nano with a phone. It might not even have wifi. No touch screen. An Apple logo.



    I agree with you. For $99 you won't get a lot. Not an iPhone nano but a NanoPhone. iPod Nano and phone capabilities. That is it. No data plan. Just voice. And maybe it is unlocked.



    Otherwise the iPhone Nano doesn't make sense.
  • Reply 12 of 66
    i vote that they wont do it. not this year at least. maybe 2010.



    i can see them making an ipod touch nano though.
  • Reply 13 of 66
    Doesn't make sense to me; they need to introduce something to get the Edge iPhone stalwarts like myself to re-up in June or risk them going to a competitor's device when their contract expires. A "nano" iphone at that point would do more to add insult to injury.
  • Reply 14 of 66
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JavaCowboy View Post


    The thing is, and I know this sounds silly, but the iPhone doesn't look like a *phone* at all. This will sound sillier, but the iPhone is like an iPod touch with calling and a camera bolted on.



    I would go so far as to say that the iPhone excels at the "touch" functionality, and is limited with its "phone" functionality.



    The way I see it, the iPhone Nano would be less of a "touch" device and more of a "phone". For instance, I can't see Safari running on a smaller screen.



    I'm not sure what Apple is thinking of doing, but I'm sure they're trying to expand beyond the limited smartphone market somehow.



    I don't have an iPhone but I've played around with it in the store. My phone needs are modest, but from what I've seen of the iPhone it's a step up in phone features from my Verizon phone. I can't stand the interface on it. The iPhone phone stuff looks more functional to me with features like Favorite Contacts. But is there speed dial?



    I also think the iPhone would be a great phone for seniors who'd be interested in semi-advanced phone functions, like sending a photo to someone. I've shown people the photo features on their own Verizon phones over and over and they get lost every time. The iPhone is far more intuitive.
  • Reply 15 of 66
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,528member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JavaCowboy View Post


    ... This also allows them to do an end-run around AT&T by breaking exclusivity.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GQB View Post


    The idea that such a new device could break with AT&T is interesting tho'.



    Note that if the speculation that this new phone is being designed for Asia only is true,

    AT&T exclusivity would not be an issue. It applies to US only.
  • Reply 16 of 66
    vinney57vinney57 Posts: 1,162member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post


    Doesn't make sense to me; they need to introduce something to get the Edge iPhone stalwarts like myself to re-up in June or risk them going to a competitor's device when their contract expires. A "nano" iphone at that point would do more to add insult to injury.



    So you are assuming there is only one new product being launched and no improvements to the existing iPhone? Not very likely...
  • Reply 17 of 66
    vinney57vinney57 Posts: 1,162member
    Slightly smaller screen, tighter form factor, no data - wifi & phone only. Will run all apps and games that don't need data. Cheap - sell like hot-cakes - no brainer.
  • Reply 18 of 66
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JavaCowboy View Post


    2) Custom apps. There would be bare-bones apps only, similar to a regular iPod.



    The App store is Apple's long-term cash cow. They aren't going to sell a phone that you can't spend more money on.
  • Reply 19 of 66
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,990member
    Let's not forget that the 2-year data plans are coming to an end for the original iPhone buyers. What will Apple do to keep them a happy and continuing Apple phone users? Will AT&T allow the phones to be unlocked once the 2-year contract is up?
  • Reply 20 of 66
    gqbgqb Posts: 1,934member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by quinney View Post


    Note that if the speculation that this new phone is being designed for Asia only is true,

    AT&T exclusivity would not be an issue. It applies to US only.



    The question is, does exclusivity apply to all Apple phones or just to the 'iPhone'?
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