Rumor mill dishes out iPhone nano

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Rumor mill dishes out iPhone nano

Chicago (IL) – Macworld Expo may be a bit different this year. It will be the last year of the tradeshow and there will not be a Steve Jobs holding a keynote. It could be a rather boring event, but one could also expect a big announcement – such as the currently rumored iPhone nano. If we believe media reports, then Apple could prepare a device that is wider and thicker than the iPhone 3G. The selling point is believed to be an aggressive price to put the entry-level iPhone within reach of people who cannot afford an iPhone 3G. However, a lack of 3G and a lower-resolution display would make such an iPhone nano incompatible with any of the App Store programs or games and raises some doubt whether this product is real.   

As Apple’s last keynote at the Macworld Expo approaches, the rumor mill churns out one more round of Macworld predictions. The most interesting so far is about a smaller version of the iPhone 3G called the iPhone nano. According to unconfirmed reports, the device will be wider and thicker than its bigger sibling and carry a mirror screen. Its biggest selling point may be a lower price, but we don’t quite buy this rumor just yet.

Most of us here at TG Daily do not believe that an iPhone nano is in the works and that such a product would make sense anyway, despite those pieces of “evidence” popping up all over the Web with a “smaller, cheaper” tagline. If we exclude enthusiast drawings and wish-lists of features, the only so-called evidence of iPhone nano is hidden in a blog, whose authors claim to have access to industry sources. A rough rendering of the device published on the site of the online store iDeals China generated lots of excitement as it depicts some of the features of a (not yet) non-existent device.

If we believe these rumors, the iPhone nano will share the outline and height of its larger brother but with wider and thicker appearance. Miniaturized iPhone will also sport a smaller 320×240 resolution touchscreen with  mirror reflection while it is turned off, in addition to a 2 megapixel camera, an accelerometer, proximity sensor and an ambient light sensor. The rumors claim that there will be no 3G capability. The bloggers expect Apple to unveil the iPhone nano at the Macworld Expo in January 2009, with an anticipated early-January availability at all distribution points across the nation that currently carry the iPhone 3G, including Apple and Wal-Mart stores. The handset is expected to come at an aggressive price point to cater for a lower segment of price-conscious consumers who cannot afford a $199 iPhone 3G with a two-year service contract.

The same website claims the third generation iPhone is currently “being worked on in China.” iDeals China incorrectly predicted in August that the iPod touch will gain GPS capability and published fake iPod renderings but it did hit a home run with an actual Griffin iPhone 3G case molding shown ahead of the handset’s official launch in July. Another source, a well-known silicon case vendor XSKN, already has a section on its online store dedicated to the upcoming accessories for the iPhone nano. XSKN was one of the first sources to showcase the final shape of the current iPod nano.

We doubt that these renderings in fact show a future iPhone nano, but we also know that this vendor started selling real iPhone 3G cases ahead of official handset release. That said, the report should be taken with a grain of salt, since the track record of these sources isn’t exactly perfect and some have been accused of fabricating Apple-related rumors in the past to draw traffic to their sites.

In our opinion, the biggest deal-breaker for an iPhone nano is its smaller-resolution 320×240 display that is consistently mentioned across all related iPhone nano rumors. Even if we put aside the fact that a smaller screen dimension would make typing on a virtual keyboard a frustrating experience, it would render the iPhone nano incompatible with all current App Store programs and games that are hard-coded for the iPhone 3G’s 480×320 resolution. If you ask us, Apple would be foolish to add a non-App Store-compatible iPhone to the lineup. It would make the lives of developers much more difficult and it certainly would be a very unusual decision from a company that likes to keep things simple.