updated 02:35 pm EDT, Thu July 19, 2007
iPhone nano Before Holiday
The initially discredited "iPhone nano" may be real, purportedly very reliable sources have told AppleInsider. Apple is said to have been developing a smaller, lower-priced version of its phone to be ready just months after the June release of the flagship model. Timing has been close enough that engineering efforts for the sister device were already wrapping up as the current, full-size phone began production, according to the report. Appearances are said to represent a cross between the iPhone and the iPod nano and to focus only on media functions, with at least some Internet-based functions limited or removed altogether.
The site also speculates that while the new model will have a "revolutionary" new control scheme, the size of the device may require a new implementation rather than the multi-touch screen used today. Most likely is the click wheel dialing patent that creates virtual segments on the click wheel for dialing functions, saving space on the device while also allowing the iPod's trademark quick scrolling. No mention was made of a related backside touchpad patent which would allow full touch control without obscuring a relatively small screen.
If valid, the smaller iPhone would also ship in time for holiday shopping and would be part of a larger expansion into consumer electronics that would include more products outside of Apple's familiar iPod and Mac product lines, the report said.
While uncorroborated by most sources, the apparently confident declaration by AppleInsider backs JP Morgan analyst Kevin Chang's controversial claim that Apple would produce a smaller iPhone in time for the holidays based on both the click wheel patent and anonymous Taiwanese sources. Senior analysts at JP Morgan's American headquarters quickly issued a response that appeared to downplay the prospects of such a device, calling it "risky" but also exploring the potential effects of a launch so soon after the iPhone's debut.