Could The ‘iPhone Nano’ Launching In September Be Based on the iPod Touch? [Rumor]



Speculation that claims Apple is set to launch two new iPhones this September doesn’t look like it’s going to die down anytime soon. The latest report, citing information from a previously reliable source, claims that in addition to an all-new iPhone 5 this September, there will also be a low-end device, possibly based on the iPod touch.

The whole idea behind the “low-end” device is that Apple can compete with the cheap Android market, according to the source, which it has yet been unable to do since the iPhone first launched in 2007. Apple’s best attempt at addressing this market is with the iPhone 3GS, which the company continues to sell at a discounted price since the launch of the iPhone 4.

So will the iPhone 4 be the “cheap” device when Apple announces the iPhone 5? Well, Seth Weintraub of 9to5 Mac doesn’t think so. Instead, he believes that an entirely new device will launch based upon the iPod touch.

The iPod touch boasts the same Retina display as the iPhone, but it’s not quite as good — especially with regard to viewing angles — because it doesn’t boast in-plane switching. So it’s safe to assume these displays aren’t as expensive as those packed into the iPhone 4.

The iPhone 4 also packs a better camera, GPS, more RAM, and, of course, data connectivity — all of which the iPod touch doesn’t have — which means it’s nowhere near as expensive. Without contract, the iPhone 4 retails for around $600, whereas the iPod touch starts at just $229.

So, what if Apple was to just take the iPod touch — in its current form — but add in the “phone bits,” Seth says.

By introducing a GPS, 3G connectivity and maybe a better camera, you’re left with an iPhone that’s nowhere near as expensive as the iPhone 4, but with largely the same functionality.

Seth continues:

I think Apple changes how it positions this device. It just sells this iPhone like it sells iPods in Apple Stores, at Amazon, in kiosks at Airports. Let the carriers all compete on price and quality of service like case manufacturers do. It works on AT&T but if they aren’t treating you right, you can go hook up with Verizon or Sprint.

It’s certainly an interesting concept, but surely it would be easier for Apple to continue selling the iPhone 3GS, but reduce its price tag even more and open up its availability, as Seth suggests?

What are your thoughts? Do you think this is what Apple’s low-end iPhone will be like, if/when it launches?

  • MattSTKC

    I think they have to design an entirely new “cheap” iphone to avoid it looking like a cheap iphone and make it look like an affordable iPad companion. I’m so excited by this rumor because an “iPhone lite” or “iPhone Air” would be great for me since I have an iPad and don’t need the full functionality but would still love the ease of use provided by the device.

  • MacGoo

    Looking at the iPad and other tablets may give a clue as to where this iPhone nano might go – and surprisingly it could be sans-data. Cellular data, anyway – could have only wifi just like the current iPod Touch and Wifi-only iPad (as well as versions of the Kindle, Nook, etc), which is more than enough for me in most cases (since I’m generally in range of one except while in transit). What if this was the replacement for the “dumb” phone and didn’t require any data commitment because it didn’t have data capability outside of wifi? A $200 phone with no data requirements and no contractual obligation? Oooooo…do want.

  • Matthias Breuer

    An iPod Touch with 3G and a better camera would be sweet – but I’m sceptical of this whole iPhone Nano thing.

    For one thing, it’s not so much the hardware as the data plans that make the iPhone too expensive for many people (I should know – I spent more than 600 Euros on a SIM-Lock free iPhone but use it on a super cheap prepaid plan for about 20 Euro per month, including 1 GB of Data). 

    Also, I’d bet Apple wants to keep fragmentation to a minimum – meaning any recent device should be equally capable of running any given app – which a low-powered iPhone Nano might not be able to do…

  • Matthias Breuer

    I doubt that…

    Apple is focussed on the future – non-data phones are the past. They are not trying to make a better dumb phone – they’re leading a movement to replace the dumb phone category as a whole. I’d guess it’s far more likely that we’ll see an iPod Touch with cellular data than an iPhone without it…(though crippled in some other way (camera?), so you’d have sufficient incentive to upgrade once they got you hooked ;-))Also, I might be misreading your post, but do you actually have access to free Wifi in so many places that you would not noticably benefit from having cellular data (additional cost aside)? If so, this ubiquitous wifi situation seems to be a US thing (and quite probably  limited to certain cities or even certain neighbourhoods) – I have lived or spent significant time in a few German cities, Beijing, Tokyo and Rome (I’m from Germany) and the only place where I could count on finding free public Wifi in lots of places was my neighbourhood in Beijing. (Tthere’s lots and lots of Wifi hotspots in Tokyo, for example, but they’re generally not free…)

  • Bob Whipple

    iPod touch + dumb voice capability = Apple would sell tens of millions IMO. The primary difference between the iPhone and the Touch would be the lack of the ability of the new Touch to access data over 3G. That is enough of a difference that tens of millions would still go for the iPhone.

  • Bob Whipple

    I do live in a large metro area in the US… so perhaps my situation is not typical for all. I have FREE WiFi access at: Home, office, almost every friends house, every coffee shop, most fast food restauraunts, most deli/sandwich shops and through out my city of 20,000 (tax payer funded.. mounted on telephone poles) although the city WiFi is sloooow.

  • Freek Monsuur

    The low-end iPhone could be an iPod touch, but it should include voice as well, otherwise it’s no reasonable alternative for a phone. Many areas just dont have good 3G coverage and nobody could reach you on a phone number. I guess it would be a device in between the regular iPod touch and the iPhone, that includes voice and 3G, but has no 8mp camera and no gps.

  • MacGoo

    In my particular situation, I have access to secured wifi about 90% of the time, but free wifi is pretty ubiquitous if you know where to go. Honestly, I think PHONE is a more important distinction than 3G. If I were to venture a guess, I think Apple is trying to phase out the iPod line completely. They like continuity and simplicity more than almost any other company out there, and further complicating their line by offering multiple iPod types isn’t really typical Apple. However, simplifying and unifying the product line within a paradigm that users already understand (thanks to the iPad) is very Apple. iPhone with 3G and iPhone Wifi fall right in line with the already existing iPad with 3G and iPad Wifi. This allows Apple to jettison a product that admittedly is becoming more and more niche while also allowing them to continue their upgrade path of adding features of the iPod Touch. Not everyone wants or needs a mobile data plan – there is a HUGE market out there that Apple can tap without even needing to involve the carriers. They can sell the iPhone Wifi direct to consumers at a similar price to what the iPod Touch is now, and MILLIONS will buy them.

  • oriorda

    If you have ever used Facetime you’ll probably agree how addictive it is. You need a front facing camera though. 3GS doesn’t have one. Facetime seems strategic to Apple’s objective of optimizing the user experience, hence on this factor alone a lower priced iPhone could not be a renamed 3GS. At a minimum, surely, it would have to be an iPod Touch with GPS plus the radios needed for cell usage?

  • ijeoma

    The problem with the 3GS is its age. This device is 2 years old, and in these fickle times people always aim for “newer”, even if apple released a new device with identical specifications to the 3gs, it would still sell better, why? because its new.

  • Michael Le Page

    There is only one other product Apple has used the moniker “nano” for, and  I would bet my left kidney that the iPhone nano (when it comes) is going to have the same screen size, and be only a little more chunky if that.  There are two things that make it possible: iCloud – you no longer need lots of flash memory to store your data, and the Nuance partnership – your main input method is by voice, a “smart” nano-sized phone.  Since battery life is going to be severely constrained, I doubt they will allow 3rd party apps.  You won’t even use the touch screen for much, as your email, text messages, rss feeds, notes, reminders, weather, stocks can all be read out for you.  This is my next phone :)