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Leaks: budget iPhone half the size, MobileMe media locker

updated 06:15 pm EST, Sun February 13, 2011

Mini iPhone coming as MobileMe goes media hub

Apple's rumored budget iPhone may also be much smaller and come paired with MobileMe as a full-fledged media service, a leak on Sunday night. The new version would be half the size of an iPhone 4, putting it in the league of phones like the Sony Ericsson X10 mini and HP Veer. It was described by the WSJ's sources as much lighter and using a rare edge-to-edge touchscreen.

Its price wasn't named but is targeted at about half that of an iPhone 4 off-contract, putting it at about $300. Timing also wasn't supplied, but if ready in time it could come in sync with Apple's usual June or July iPhone introduction.

MobileMe in the interim would be much more heavily upgraded. The service would be overhauled from its traditional focus on web galleries and basic sync to include a full-fledged cloud locker. Users would have access a more advanced general file system but also remote access to music, photos and video, letting an iPad, iPhone or iPod user offload some of their less urgent media to the Internet. It would also drop from $99 to free.

Social networking would also play a role, though how wasn't described. It wouldn't require a brand new phone and would work with at least the iPhone 4.

MobileMe's upgrade is tentatively slated for June, according to the tips, but whether or not that would take place isn't certain. True to earlier rumors, Apple has to negotiate media licenses to clear the remote storage. Music labels in particular have often insisted that cloud storage of a user's own music counts as a second use and have tried to double-dip by charging for a second purchasing license.

The company's newly readied North Carolina data center may be evidence of the plans as the extra-large facility would be ideal for streaming large amounts of Internet traffic.

Both initiatives are almost certainly intended to target areas where Android was either first or hasn't explored at all. Apple has had success lowering the effective price of the iPhone to where it's now free on contract on some carriers, but Android devices can now cost significantly less while still offering competent though not as powerful features. An LG Optimus V, which can run Android 2.2 quickly, costs $150 even without a contract.

Google meanwhile has often had an edge over Apple in the cloud with Android. Its inherent advantage in focusing on web services like Gmail and Google Calendar has meant users could always get much of their non-media information back on a new or restored phone just through a single sign in. It hasn't, however, had fully integrated file or media storage.

Google has been facing the same obstacles as Apple but has also floated the possibility of a subscription fee if it ever gets the rights.

by MacNN Staff



    Comment buried. Show
  1. BaiGanyo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Doesn't surprise me

    When you are becoming increasingly irrelevant day by day, I guess you have to do something. Isn't apple something like 4% of all smartphones in use world wide? Not very impressive after 4 years. At least they had a good one year run on the ipad before their share drops to something insignificant as well.

  1. davedawgnyc

    Joined: Dec 1969


    iPhone doesn't need dumb downed version

    I call BS on this. The iPhone is one of the top selling phones in the world. It doesn't need a dumb downed version to increase sales. In fact, iPhone sales stay on top by increasing the iPhone's functions and features each year.

  1. Paul Huang

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It sure smells like road apples

    The iPhone 4 is too small for me to use comfortably, so I had to use an OtterBox Defender to triple the total mass.

  1. samirsshah

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Edge-to-edge screen

    If Apple can do that, it will be a game changer just like the retina display. I have seen many concept videos and the two things I want most...

    1) Edge-to-edge credit card like phones (See Microsoft Office 2020 concept video)
    2) Touch sensitive desks, this WILL keep Intel alive and then (a year or two) touch sensitive walls (Intel)

    Comment buried. Show
  1. wrenchy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    From dropping

    the size and price of the handset to making MobileMe free.

    Apple is just another Google wanna-be.

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    and wrenchy

    is a troll wanna-be

  1. SunSeeker

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Very Possible....

    The surface area of the current iPhone is approximately 67cm squared
    30cm squared is chin and forehead meaning over 40% could be shaved off
    If Apple can find a good way to provide earpiece and mic through a non existent edge we have ourselves another game changer
    Also, having looked inside a broken iPhone 3G and thought the battery to be missing it appears that there is actually some space available inside

    I have an A1153 ipod dock on my desk which is a bit thick, but otherwise very close to the size of the current iphone screen - if I hold it in my hand its size gives a very good idea of what an iPhone mini would feel like and it feels good

    My only question is why would the smaller version be cheaper - isn't the following more likely:

    1. New smaller iPhone with 64GB & 128GB models and similar specs to the current model at today's price

    2. Current model as an 8GB and a new much lower price and non retina display

  1. facebook_Frank

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Feb 2011


    Maybe not be an iPhone

    The product may not be an iPhone at all, but instead an iPod with 3g (or LTE). I just don't see how something that small can be a comfortable phone, but a comfortable iPod touch (mini) or something similar would be great, especially one that is linked to cloud storage. Take an iPod touch, chop off the top band with cam and the bottom home button (replaced with a home "gesture") and you've got this product they are talking about.

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969


    pre-pay market folks

    Even though the 'contract market' is the most popular in the U.S. - worldwide, the opposite is true - the 'prepay' market is the most popular.

    Prepay means "no subsidy" on the phone. So your $99 3gs is really closer to $600. You can't hide the price of the phone in the contract - because there is no contract.

    Apple tried just selling the 3gs to the prepay market at $600 - it didn't work folks. Apple tried it, knows it doesn't work, and now they are working on a new plan.

    Google has already started selling $200 phones to the prepay market. Heck I can buy one at my local grocery store, already.

    And worldwide - where prepay is the majority of the market - do they cede all of that to Google?

    Of course not, anyone with a brain knew this - but Apple, very wisely, never asks you to buy a product they don't have for sale. Until they had a prepaid phone, they were going to say to buy the contract phone, and that a prepay model would be stupid.

    So people like Davedawgnyc, believe this sort of thing.

    That's how apple does business. Now they will release a prepay phone without any apologies...leaving the fanboys looking stupid once again.

  1. Kees

    Joined: Dec 1969


    different preferences

    people's preferences differ. I know many people like myself who don't want or need a full fledged iPhone. I'm currently sporting an lg mini ( which isn't better than an iPhone, but it is a lot more pocketable. And it's email client and browser are very capable. People are always talking about the app store being so awesome, but I couldn't care less about apps on my phone
    The fact that the lg is so much smaller than an iPhone, is arguably better looking, and does the core things (phone, email, web and photo) well is what sold it for me.
    But if Apple's makes a smaller iPhone, I'll definitely be interested.

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