That old rumor – that Apple would introduce a stripped-down version of the iPhone – is being floated again. This Sunday, Daily Mail has run a story citing sources close to Apple who claim the company will release iPhone Nano by Christmas. The gadget would allow for listening to music and phone calling, but won’t offer mobile Internet connectivity, according to the report. It’s supposedly destined for the prepaid market.
Do I buy this idea? Well, it is a possibility, though it would be surprising to see Apple step into the prepaid market; such a move could cheapen its brand. On the other hand, such a phone may be exactly what the prepaid market needs to revamp its image. Today’s prepaid phones tend to be un-cool, and there’s a perception that only people with poor credit sign up for prepaid service. Equipped with iPhone nano, prepaid carriers could turn into cool kids on the block, and start making real dent in the postpaid wireless market.
An iPhone Nano also makes sense for another reason: Many people like to carry smaller phones. Though cellular radios aren’t as easy to compress as music players, I have seen several super-small phones, such as the modu device. Apple took four years after the first iPod came out to release a nano version, and three years to introduce iPod mini, the size of a business card. But though it’s only been a year since the first iPhone came out, it is possible the company will roll out its phone versions at a much faster pace. After all, different cell-phone buyers have different preferences. Some crave smaller size. Many want a physical keyboard. If Apple wishes to accommodate everyone, it’s got to roll out a lot more versions of the phone than it did of the music player.