Will iPhone get a Nano? Probably Not
What does Apple do to follow up iPhone's release-day success? It makes a smaller, cheaper version, of course. Or does it?
Rumors of a smaller, less expensive follow-up to the iPhone may be greatly exaggerated. The rumors started last week when astute bloggers looked up the database of the U.S. Trade and Patent Office. It seems Apple filed a new clickwheel patent for its Nano design.
Patent drawings seemed to indicate Apple was working on a rotary phone design for a small iPod. Could this be a retro dial for an iPhone Nano? That's what many want to believe; including analyst Kevin Chang from JPMorgan Chase & Co. Mr. Chang goes so far as to say Apple will release a less expensive version of the iPhone in the fourth quarter. Chang even cites unnamed sources at Apple telling him a budget iPhone based on the Nano design is coming in the fourth quarter this year.
Rumor Mill Party Poopers
But it isn't so, says high-tech marketing firm DoubleClick. They say the 1.5" display on Nano is too small for any variation of iPhone, especially if you're expected to tap virtual onscreen keys.
The iPod Nano has been a huge success for Apple since its release back in '05. Its diminutive stature allows users to stuff it up a sleeve or even hide it under the tongue while playing 8GB of music. But Apple didn't release the budget Nano out of charity.
Nano arrived at a time when smaller, cheaper flash-based MP3 players were devouring some of iPod's market share. Back in 2005, offerings from SanDisk had much smaller capacity than a 20 Gig fourth generation iPod, but they could plug directly into a USB port for quick and easy access to the user's music library. Devices with only 1GB or less were getting more and more popular as Apple turned to the Nano and Shuffle to compete in these markets. Apple feared the scalability of newer flash players would trump the Eighth Wonder of the World that was the iPod.
When Apple went budget with an MP3 player, iPod had already been out for years and was in its fourth version. In my opinion, Q4 of 2007 is just way too soon for Apple to release a budget version of iPhone that was only released in Q2.