RUMOR: Apple working on smaller, contract-free iPhone model

“Apple Inc. is working on new versions of the iPhone… according to people who have been briefed on the plans,” Peter Burrows and Greg Bensinger report for Bloomberg.

“One version would be cheaper and smaller than the most recent iPhone, said a person who has seen a prototype and asked not to be identified because the plans haven’t been made public,” Burrows and Bensinger report. “Apple also is developing technology that makes it easier to use the iPhone on multiple wireless networks, two people said.”

Burrows and Bensinger report, “Apple has considered selling the new iPhone for about $200, without obligating users to sign a two-year service contract, said the person who has seen it… While Apple has aimed to unveil the device near mid-year, the introduction may be delayed or scrapped, the person said. Few Apple employees know the details of the project, the person said… The prototype was about one-third smaller than the iPhone 4, said the person, who saw it last year.”

Read more in the full article here.

36 Comments

    1. iPhone shuffle voice activated. Just say “Call” and it will. You can opt up for the iPhone nano, ala Dick Tracey Wrist Radio, with video calling. Go, Apple, go!

  1. I’ve said for a long time that Apple should make an “iPod nano that happens to be a phone.” Back then, I was thinking a squarish touch-sensitive keypad area, that was also marked or textured to be a click-wheel. But now that the iPod nano has a touch-based interface, you can just use the screen as the keypad. It would obviously have a different case to hold the additional parts (including larger battery and larger screen) and be functional as a phone (not clip-on). Apple would expand the software that runs the current iPod nano to add the phone-related capabilities.

    It would NOT run iOS, but it would behave like iOS (just as the current iPod nano mimics iOS without being iOS). It would not run iOS apps or browse the Internet; you get the built-in functionality of a more typical mobile phone, done the Apple way. Therefore, this “iPhone nano” would capture a portion of the market that iPhone does not penetrate.

  2. There is absolutely not one shred of evidence in that paragraph to substantiate or validate anything..

    “one un-identified person who has seen a prototype.” hmmm.. that’s convincing..

    Not to say that Apple isn’t working on alternate models, but i’d take this rumor and “source” with a grain of sea salt..

    1. Keep in mind that Bloomberg predicted a Feb 2011 Verizon launch of iPhone way back in March 2010. Don’t know who they know, but it is not like they have nailed a prediction like this before.

  3. Yes, just after they acquire a major hollywood studio, add a slideout keyboard to the iPhone, and put out a 7″ iPad.

    Until then, just superglue an old candybar phone to an old iPod Nano. Enjoy.

  4. “Apple Inc. is working on new versions of the iPhone…” wow!! You think? Very newsworthy MDN!

    As for the smaller form-factor part. Yes, ’s always trying to make iGadgets smaller… to a point. I call BS on the idea that it’ll be a “cheap” phone that drops say camera, GPS, accelerometer, etc… NOT gonna happen!

    1. iPhone was Apple redefining the “smart” phone, and taking over that segment. If there is something like an “iPhone nano,” it would Apple redefining the “regular” mobile phone, and taking over that segment.

      In other words, it would have all the expected mobile phone features (plus iPod features), including a camera and texting/messaging, but NOT computer-like features, such as WiFi, Bluetooth, full web browser, third-party apps, multi-tasking, etc. Apple’s attention-to-detail on design and usability would set it apart from competition in the same class of product.

      Apple initially focused on the high end with iPod and gradually took over the low end as well. At some point, Apple is bound to do the same thing in mobile phones.

    1. The only reason Apple can sell it for $49 is because it requires a two-year contract, which provides Apple with a $400 (plus/minus) subsidy from ATT. The fine print at the Apple Store says an iPhone 3GS with NO contract costs $499.

  5. A phone, Ipod, camera that does video and facetime and can run on T-mobile or Att&T, or any other GSM carrier in the world and I’m good. One device for all things. Wonder if this device is somehow tied to the Maiden NC data center, and the one in India that Apple is building?

  6. The cost of the iPhone is not the major issue. The iPhone 3GS was recently available for $49 with a 2-year contract. It is the friggin’ monthly service fee that racks up the bucks.

    If Apple wants to sell a cheaper version of the iPhone as a pre-paid unit or as an unlocked unit, then I say great. It will be highly entertaining to watch the reactions of the carriers across the world.

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