On August 3, 2006, the UK’s Mail Online claimed that “Apple is about to launch a ‘nano’ version of the hugely successful iPhone. It is expected to be in the shops in time for Christmas.” The report went on to state that the product would be launched in the UK for pay-as-you-go customers by O2, the mobile phone group owned by Spain’s Telefonica. ‘This will be a big one,’ said an industry source. The report ended by stating that “one expert suggested the nano phone would have a touch wheel on the back and display on the front so that numbers would be dialed from behind.”
On August 5, 2008, Lehman Brother analyst Ben Reitzes said in a research report that while he believes that Apple is working on a lower-end iPhone form factor, he didn’t think it would arrive until Spring 2009. The reasoning behind this viewpoint has it merits and I’m not about to dispute that position being that they also held the view that such an Apple phone may arrive next spring.
Yet the UK rumor may still have some legs when you consider that a prominent Apple iPod and iPhone accessories company by the name of Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO) has been working on a nano-styled iPhone dock, illustrated here, since 2006. According to DLO’s published spring 2008 patent, FIG. 2A noted to your right, is a front elevation view of a telephonic portable digital media storage and playback device. Their patent FIG. 2B is a bottom view of the telephonic portable digital media storage and playback device of FIG. 2A. The rest of the patent is about the docking station that will hold two devices: This small nano-like phone and a TV remote device. I added the graphic of an Apple video iPod Nano beside the patent graphic to emphasize the similarity of the two devices.
The DLO design is proportionally equal to that of a current iPod Nano and comes very close to the idea that the UK expert alluded to in respect to his touch wheel description. Is DLO’s product concept a fluke? Or were they given a heads-up by Apple with a general wink-wink, nudge-nudge that the smaller iPhone would be identical in dimensions to that of a video Nano? I think the latter. Why else would a prominent iPod/iPhone accessories developer invent and patent this design and/or form-factor if it weren’t to be a coming reality?
Although the timing of an iPhone Nano is truly irrelevant in the big picture, DLO’s patent almost confirms that such a cool device is on Apple’s roadmap and in their pipeline. Yes, another headache for Apple’s competitors is on the way. Whether it’s for this or next Christmas is not for me to say â€“ but it sure would be a welcomed edition this year. Think of it as a recession buster.
Written and researched by Neo.
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