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Budget iPhone to drop all local media storage?

updated 10:50 am EST, Mon February 14, 2011

Would make device dependent on cloud streaming

The rumored upcoming budget iPhone model will drop local media storage completely, a Cult of Mac source claims. Whereas the iPhone 4 sports up to 32GB of storage, the new budget phone -- likely secondary to a flagship model -- may only have just enough memory to buffer streaming media. "It would be a mostly cloud-based iOS," the person says.

Users of the phone would allegedly become dependent on an upgraded MobileMe to stream movies, music and photos. Such a service is backed by a report from the Wall Street Journal, and could be the reason behind Apple's new North Carolina data center. The facility is extremely large, and Apple has been secretive about its purpose.

The budget iPhone has been described as half the size of an iPhone 4, closer in dimensions to something like the HP Veer. The device is believed to be much lighter than its predecessors, and also equipped with an edge-to-edge touchscreen. It would more importantly drop substantially in price, costing $300 off-contract instead of Apple's normal $600-700. MobileMe may switch from costing $99 a year to being free.

by MacNN Staff




  1. bobolicious

    Joined: Dec 1969


    iPhone Nano...'s about time... :)

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    sure why not

    I was concerned about iPhone nano cannibalizing iPhone sales, but this makes sense. Still a great smartphone, but if you want local storage for your media, get the regular iPhone.

  1. wrenchy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Perfect for those

    who just need a phone and not all the bells and whistles like media and picture storage.


    Will it still be Magical?

  1. Rezzz

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Data Plans

    If you are storing nothing locally, that is a lot of data moving over the air when not in range of a hotspot. Since unlimited data plans have been squashed, I could see some hefty cellular bills hitting mailboxes. It's the carriers who "Rule the Air" not the manufacturers. Apple will need to consider this when negotiating terms.

  1. Paul Huang

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Now the truth comes out

    We know what's cooking in North Carolina.

  1. Treuf

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Data usage

    In addition to the Data Plans comment, we often have issues (at least here in France) with overused networks.
    Data connection in dense places (La Defense business area for me) tend to be damn slow due to intense usage.
    Adding this would for sure kill the network capacity.

  1. Lifeisabeach

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Now it makes more sense.

    The prime difficulty in the whole "half-sized" rumor was that existing apps simply couldn't possibly run or look right. Apple has been committed to sticking with the existing dimensions and screen resolutions for very good reasons, and throwing in something much smaller, likely at a different resolution entirely, would complicate their market in ways they won't find acceptable. By lacking internal storage, it's clear that this will NOT have access to the App Store and 3rd party apps. This leaves it with whatever Apple puts on it, which will be tweaked and optimized for whatever display dimensions it comes with.

    I share the concerns about it being solely cloud-based and the effect this could have on those with limited data plans. Personally, I hope a data plan won't be required. I've come to realize that, especially with free wi-fi virtually everywhere I go, I simply don't need one and the financial burden of having 3 iPhone data plans on my family account is wearing me thin.

  1. B9bot

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not possible or feasible

    You need memory to run the OS and the apps. Without it, its not possible. And running off of the cloud would be WAY TO SLOW!!!!!!! Even if you were running at WIFI speeds running apps and streaming would be to slow. The whole idea doesn't seem feasible.
    Memory storage is cheap and I don't think it occupies that much space. The biggest space hog would be the battery, not the memory. And obviously you can't run it without a battery either.
    This whole story I believe is FUD!!!

  1. B9bot

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The networks can't handle what they have now

    The networks can't handle what they have now. Add a phone that strictly runs off of the networks would definitely kill them completely. I agree with Treuf, data usage would be to high and the networks would come to a stand still. I don't think they would even approve of such a device to run on there networks.

    Just not realistically possible with what is structured on the cell networks today even if it was a real 4G network

  1. jwdsail

    Joined: Dec 1969



    This rumor makes no sense at all.

    Who would buy an iPhone that doesn't run any of the existing apps? That won't be able to play music, videos, audiobooks, w/o a data connection? Who would buy an iPhone that had the best parts of the iPhone taken away? Seriously, tell me, I have a bridge I'd like to sell them...

    ATT is selling the 8GB iPhone 3GS for $49 with subsidy.. it can't be much more than $199 w/o, right?

    I could see a smaller iPhone, with an edge to edge screen, with the resolution of the original iPhone, and 8GB of storage memory... That could then make use of cloud data storage, or streaming/subscription music service, to *augment* that 8GB... but 0GB of storage? No 3rd party apps?


    I'll believe it when I see it.

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