Steve Jobs planned low-cost iPhone nano back in 2010

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ipod_touch
Apple hoped to make an iPhone nano based on the iPod touch.
Photo: Apple

Rumors circulating way back in 2011 said Apple was planning an iPhone nano, its first budget iOS device. The handset didn’t come out for years and it used a different name, but new evidence proves the early leaks were 100% accurate.

A trove of documents were made public by the Epic Games v. Apple lawsuit. The Verge went through the collection and found a meeting agenda from 2010 that explicitly mentions the iPhone nano.

The meeting was so long ago that the agenda appears in an email from Steve Jobs when he was still Apple CEO. After a discussion of the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5, the focus moved to the “iPhone nano plan.” There was a discussion of the cost goal and a demo of the device by Jony Ive.

iPhone nano got sidelined for years

Those who’ve been following Apple for years and have a good memory should be able to recall the iPhone nano. Obviously, no device of that name ever launched but the name appeared in rumors in early 2011.

The newly-revealed meeting agenda shows the design was going to be based on the iPod touch. The goal was a smaller, more affordable device that would sell alongside more premium models. As noted in the agenda, Apple hadn’t yet settled on an exact price but this was just after the iPhone 4 debuted at $485.

Exactly where the development of the iPhone nano went off the rails is unknown, but Apple didn’t introduce a budget iOS handset until 2016. And the original iPhone SE was $399 and was an updated version of the iPhone 5S from 2013 rather the a fresh design.