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Handhelds Communications Hardware

Here Comes iPhone Nano, But Not In the US 177

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the rampant-speculation dept.
jehovajerieh writes to us in the time-honored tradition of rampant Apple speculation, pointing to an article over on IBTimes suggesting that while the iPhone Nano may be on the way, the US might not be the first to experience this gadget bliss. "Despite limited information in the supplier channels and typical secrecy with new Apple products, insiders have confirmed that the iPhone nano is not yet in the testing labs at AT&T, Marshal says, leading him to believe that the launch will most likely be with a non-US carrier. 'Obviously, the best-case scenario here would be a China launch (~600mil+ wireless subscribers total in the country), but we have no definitive knowledge of this and are working on identifying the [locale] of launch and other pertinent details,' he said."
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Here Comes iPhone Nano, But Not In the US

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 12, 2009 @04:20PM (#26422311)

    What'd be the point? iPhone applications aren't coded to run at multiple resolutions (something that will be a problem when/if a hybrid MacOS/iPhone tablet PC comes along), and there's not much to be gained by using a smaller battery or lower-power CPU. I don't understand why everyone expects a smaller, cheaper iPhone to be released. Who'd buy it, and why?

    • by ByOhTek (1181381) on Monday January 12, 2009 @04:50PM (#26422795) Journal

      It makes them happier to be one step closer to the iPhone shuffle?

    • by samkass (174571) on Monday January 12, 2009 @05:08PM (#26423035) Homepage Journal

      Actually, a lot of iPhone apps would auto-scale to any resolution. Interface Builder defines the way panes adjust when the window size changes. It's the 3D games that will likely have to change if they've hardcoded frame buffer sizes, but even those should be a quick port to alternate dimensions. It's kind of inevitable that Apple will release an iPhone-like device of different screen dimensions, and they're pretty well-prepared for it even if perhaps it won't run EVERY fart-noise generator on the market from day 1.

    • by Malc (1751)

      Well I'm not buying the current iPhone because it's too large. It's not going to fit in pocket as well as my 83g Samsung SGH-E730, which I hardly notice is there most of the time - perfect. It's pretty functional too, giving my POP3 and SMTP access anywhere I go in the world except Japan and S. Korea. Maybe a Nano would be something I could consider as an eventual replacement.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by cinderblock (1102693)
      This will be a completely different class of iPhone. They don't want to make a small iPhone, they want a cheap iPhone. That means say goodbye to all the fun UI stuff that has made the iPhone so good because they'll probably make it an iPhone wheel (think MacBook wheel).
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Carewolf (581105)

      Because the classic iPhone is huge heavy brick that many potential customers would be embarresed lugging around. By going down a size the new iPhone nano might be the size of a mobile phone.

      • by Valdrax (32670)

        Because the classic iPhone is huge heavy brick that many potential customers would be embarresed lugging around. By going down a size the new iPhone nano might be the size of a mobile phone.

        I kind of stunned by this. What is the standard size for phones nowadays? My iPhone is a heck of a lot slimmer than the Nokia candy bar phone I was using up until now, and it's not much bigger than the RAZRs my family uses. I don't think I could actually reliably hit the buttons on a phone smaller than the iPhone, especially if a smaller phone were a touch screen.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Mister Whirly (964219)
          "My iPhone is a heck of a lot slimmer than the Nokia candy bar phone I was using up until now"

          You do realize we live in a 3 dimensional world, don't you? There are two other dimensions to consider in addition to width. And here is a hint - the other two dimensions are larger than the average cell phone size.
          • by Smurf (7981)

            "My iPhone is a heck of a lot slimmer than the Nokia candy bar phone I was using up until now"

            You do realize we live in a 3 dimensional world, don't you? There are two other dimensions to consider in addition to width. And here is a hint - the other two dimensions are larger than the average cell phone size.

            In a 3 dimensional world, the most important measure of size is volume:
            iPhone: [apple.com] 4.5" x 2.4" x 0.48" = 5.184 cu in

            On the other hand,
            Nokia 6030: [wirelessinfo.com] 4.40" x 1.90" x 0.90" = 7.524 cu in (or 45% more than the iPhone)
            Nokia N73: [wirelessinfo.com] 4.33" x 1.93" x 0.75" = 6.268 cu in (or 21% more)
            Nokia N78: [wirelessinfo.com] 4.45" x 1.93" x 0.59" = 5.067 cu in (or 2.3% less)
            Nokia N82: [wirelessinfo.com] 4.41" x 1.98" x 0.68" = 5.938 cu in (or 15% more)

            So, the iPhone is pretty much as big as the smallest candy bar Nokia that I found in a fast query. [wirelessinfo.com]

            • by Tony Hoyle (11698) *

              Not even close. I have a nokia here that's so small I keep damned losing it. They make some *really* small phones. It's about the size/height of 2 ipod shuddles end to end and about half as thick.

              • by ncc74656 (45571) *

                Not even close. I have a nokia here that's so small I keep damned losing it. They make some *really* small phones. It's about the size/height of 2 ipod shuddles end to end and about half as thick.

                If it's that small, it has to be a pain in the ass to dial, most likely has crappy battery life due to the necessarily small battery, and picks up tons of ambient noise because the microphone is nowhere near where it needs to be. Why would anyone buy such a thing? I had an Ericsson T610 once (still have it, but I

            • by drsquare (530038)

              iPhone: 4.5" x 2.4" x 0.48" = 5.184 cu in

              It's not the depth so much as the surface area. The iPhone then is 11.25 sqin.

              My phone is 3.25" x 1.75" = 5.68 sq in, or half the size of an iphone.

          • by dangitman (862676)

            There are two other dimensions to consider in addition to width.

            But thickness is the least useful dimension. Making the other dimensions smaller means sacrificing screen size.

      • Because the classic iPhone is huge heavy brick that many potential customers would be embarresed lugging around.

        Yes there are smaller phones available but I've yet to meet ANYONE who objected to the iPhone by calling it a "huge heavy brick" or that they would be embarrassed by it. Quite the opposite actually - it's something of a status symbol if anything. ANY form factor will have tradeoffs. If you don't like the ones Apple chose then shut up and buy a different phone.

        The iPhone isn't for everyone and it is ok if you don't want one. I carry a different phone myself because I travel places for work where flashing

    • Do you honestly think Apple would give more than a passing thought to inconveniencing programmers?

      Here's how it would go.

      Launch Day: Programmers are notified that they will have to rewrite their programs to work on the Nano. Everyone whines, bitches, moans, and claims that the Nano will fail within weeks without programmer support. A lot of them vow not to buy it or program for it.

      Fifteen minutes later: The first fart app for the Nano is ported.

      A week after launch day: Programmers of apps that ma

    • by CAIMLAS (41445)

      Wait, you mean that MacOS and iPhone do not share the same code base and visual scaling capabilities? IE, the whole "graphical elements will scale with resolution" thing on OS X does not apply on iPhone?

      Wow, talk aout short sighted. Here I was, thinking they'd be well suited for such a market. Guess not.

  • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Monday January 12, 2009 @04:20PM (#26422319)
    TFA has absolutely nothing of substance. Looks like they're just trying to attract click revenue.

    If Apple did release the Nanophone elsewhere then it would be the first time they'd done a product launch that excluded USA.

    Of course it would not be surprising if competitors are pushing the concept to create demand which they can fill with a "me too" product. "Me too" that is, except that the original does not exist. Various Chinese companies make a bundle out of "me toos", so this strategy could appeal there.

  • Er... what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Monday January 12, 2009 @04:20PM (#26422321) Homepage

    So this guy is insisting that Apple's providing an iPhone Nano in spite of having no evidence other than, "I think it would make sense for them to do it", and when there's evidence that AT&T doesn't know anything about it, he draws the conclusion that they'll launch it in China first?

    Based on what? How many products have Apple launched in countries other than the US in the past few years?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Macrat (638047)
      That's all it takes to make money off the web ads on the page.
    • Moreover, the iPhone only sells through the secondary market in mainland China -- you can buy unlocked iPhones in Hong Kong due to regulations.

    • by fermion (181285)
      What has apparently happened is that third parties have created iPhone Nano knockoffs in preparation for the Apple launch. This is evidently quite common. If once google iphone nano, there are many claims of phones in Asia that look like small iPhones, complete with the Apple logo.

      It is likely that this person has mistaken these knockoffs for the real product, unless of course these are not knockoffs but advance merchandise. As mentioned, however, this would be unprecedented as Apple has never launched

  • Hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ivan256 (17499) on Monday January 12, 2009 @04:21PM (#26422327)

    insiders have confirmed that the iPhone nano is not yet in the testing labs at AT&T, Marshal says, leading him to believe that the launch will most likely be with a non-US carrier.

    Simpler explaination: It doesn't exist.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 12, 2009 @04:23PM (#26422353)

    You shake up your iPhone and it tells you where the next iPhone rollout will be and where to get good sushi.

  • ScuttleMonkey (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kuj0317 (856656) on Monday January 12, 2009 @04:23PM (#26422361)

    Can we just get rid of him?

  • Who cares? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MikeRT (947531) on Monday January 12, 2009 @04:24PM (#26422369) Homepage

    The iPhone is a different platform from the original iPod. The nano worked there because there were no third part applications that depended on screen size assumptions and things like that. I would be surprise if a lot of the software written for the iPhone would work as well on the nano because it's going to be a smaller device, and that means that the user interface will be harder to deal with. Safari is just barely usable comfortably, for example. I can't imagine using it if it were even smaller.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by e2d2 (115622)

      This is something every mobile developer should already know and prepare for - alternate viewing resolutions. I know I do. Just like a windowed application one can determine the proper display format based on system information and adjust the display accordingly. IMHO It's not a huge hurdle for development, more like a tiny speed bump.

      Yes it's tricky making apps on really small screens. Welcome to mobile development.

    • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by joh (27088) on Monday January 12, 2009 @05:57PM (#26423747)

      There's no reason to assume that an iPhone nano will run *any* third-party apps at all. Think of it as an iPod nano with an integrated phone and it almost makes sense. There's no need for an sophisticated OS or third-party apps then. Just a small iPod with a phone, that's it. Nothing wrong with that idea either.

  • Smaller? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by A. B3ttik (1344591) on Monday January 12, 2009 @04:24PM (#26422381)
    How much smaller can they make the iPhone while still retaining the trademark touchscreen applications?

    The appeal of the iPhone is that you can do anything with it... it's an iPod, a phone, a browser, a gameboy, a GPS, etc. Making it even half as small is going to severely hamper a lot of this functionality. Who wants a browser with even less screen size than the current iPhone? What games could you play on a screen that small? How would you be able to use it as a TomTom when the screen size is no larger than a pack of matches?

    This is to say nothing of how difficult it would be to control such a tiny interface with the already inaccurate touchscreen.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hack slash (1064002)
      "The appeal of the iPhone is that you can do anything with it... "

      uh, MMS?
      • Re:Smaller? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by mini me (132455) on Monday January 12, 2009 @05:37PM (#26423423)

        Email can do everything MMS can. Clearly it is the phones that do MMS but not email that are broken.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Carewolf (581105)

          Can you email pictures to all 98.5% of worlds population that doesn't have iPhones? If 98,5% of devices does something in a certain way, it is not broken, it may be inefficient or silly, but it is the standard. Doing something else makes you non-compatible, and for a communications device, that means useless.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            Can you email pictures to all 98.5% of worlds population that doesn't have iPhones?

            Yes, if they have an email address, which generally has nothing to do with what kind of phone they have.

            Any other questions?

            • by Vegeta99 (219501)

              Yeah, what about the great percentage of people who have a phone that does MMS but not email?

              Face it, not having MMS is a pretty big loss for the iPhone. MMS is a push message, email on a phone generally isn't. Plus, it doesn't require a data plan. In fact, most phones don't require a data plan.

            • by Tony Hoyle (11698) *

              I know lots of my friends phone numbers but not their email addresses. Half of them don't even have email outside work anyway.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by mini me (132455)

                Many providers provide an email to MMS gateway.

                But more importantly, I'm not sure when you'd want to use MMS. If I take a cool photo I want to show my friends, I will send it to Facebook. That is where photo sharing happens these days. I can always follow it up with a text message if I feel they need to have people at it right now .

                Adding MMS to the iPhone would not be a bad thing when there is nothing left to do with the platform. But there are so many other features that are much more important: Push, fo

    • by mini me (132455)

      Who says the screen has to be smaller? They could make a flip phone that is half the size when closed, but has the same sized screen when open.

    • by babyrat (314371)

      I suppose you might argue that Apple couldn't make an MP3 player without a screen - I mean who would want an MP3 player that didn't display the song that was playing, or have an interface to select which song to play?

      Of course they did do exactly that.

    • If Blackberry can do it I'm sure Apple can. The Blackberry pearl is a massive success.
  • by Lester67 (218549) <`ten.skcapym' `ta' `28027sletar'> on Monday January 12, 2009 @04:25PM (#26422391)

    Maybe the specific, full sized iPhone is the only product that that Apple is required to carry through AT&T for 5 years?

    Maybe the release of the iPhone Nano would open the door for another wireless vendor to handle that product.

    Just thinking out loud.

    • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Monday January 12, 2009 @05:40PM (#26423479)
      Yes if that was the case, Apple would be launching it on another GSM network like T-Mobile if Apple decided to go that route. But using another network would require some work by the network. Remember Apple got AT&T to implement a number of network features like visual voicemail. As for launching first in China, that's pure speculation considering the iPhone isn't in China now and there are no immediate plans so far. The analyst justifies this with saying China is a large market, but that's virtually true of any product but you don't see every company launching their gadgets in China.
  • Economic Downturn (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rolfwind (528248) on Monday January 12, 2009 @04:30PM (#26422455)

    The article speculates that an iPhone nano may be in the works due to economic downturn (although I fail to see where the great savings lie, and how such a device would be in the works just scant months after the big crash...) but if Apple comes out with it, it still doesn't address the reason I won't buy an iPhone: lock-in.

    It's been said millions of times already, but I would like to point out the prepaid market is currently booming. I'd rather spend $500 on the iPhone upfront, get an unlimited monthly data plan cheap ($30 or less) and not have a monthly talk plan - just prepay that part as I need it.

    I don't see how a slight change in hardware will change AT&T's rates which is what hurts long term more than the cost of the phone itself. I believe Apple wants to address the lowend of the market (which is does with it's iPods, although imo the shuffle is a poor attempt without any lcd/oled at all), I just don't see it being effective.

    Right now, I can go out and buy a prepaid phone for $10. It has a decent color lcd screen, actually, and probably is better/as good as a Razr in many respects (which is piss poor at anything but being a phone out of the box). Coupled with an iPod Touch - it can do about 75% of the iPhone. I won't pretend it is as good as the iPhone unless you're near wifi access at the moment.

    But still, when I look at the iPod Touch vs iPhone, I feel like I'm paying through the nose for a gps and phone chipsets added on because of ATT and adding models won't change that component.

    *(Everyone is different. ATT's plans are decent for already heavy callers, but I'm not one and there are many other people who just want mobile internet+ipod and don't care about the phone component to the point of thinning the wallet).

    • by Macrat (638047)

      I don't see how a slight change in hardware will change AT&T's rates which is what hurts long term more than the cost of the phone itself.

      Yup. If Apple wants to grow their market, they need to put pressure on ATT to lower their rates.

    • by e2d2 (115622)

      You're preaching to the choir here. I actually develop applications for the iPhone but inside I want Android to take off. It's more open, it's easier to code for (just my opinion, but a popular one), and even has some better features like wake an app at a specific location, iPhone does not have this. Then toss AT&T wireless into the mix and you got a nice NO THANK YOU stew.

      The real bugger is trying to make a cross platform mobile applications that reside on the client. iPhone, Android, Crackberry, Symbi

  • China is a huge market, but several of the iPhones features are a no no there. (GPS etc) Could it be that rather then sell an iPhone with half its functionality disabled for the chinese market, Apple has decided to make a new phone without those features just for the chinese market.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Malc (1751)

      Yeah, China, don't make me laugh! Why would they launch there? The market for them isn't that big!

      • There's already big market for iPhone clones, that are much cheaper. You see them everywhere
      • There's a big market for MyPhone. Runs an illegal copy of Windows, and is more popular with my work colleagues because it's cheaper than the iPhone, runs Windows applications, and has applications that they actually like
      • Does Apple sell hardware cheaper in China? My Airport Express at Best Buy in Shanghai was 20% mor
      • by TRRosen (720617)

        wow you almost seemed intelligent till you said you shopped at best buy.

        but seriously Apple doesn't make iPhones to sell hardware...its to get subsidies from the phone co...something it cant get now.

        • by Malc (1751)

          You haven't shopped in China have you? I went there because it has a better returns policy than most places, and at least a few people on staff who speak English (some of the staff I spoke to had been over to Vanvcouver for training).

          Even then when I had an obviously broken Airport that needed to be rebooted every 15 minutes when it lost connectivity, I spent days arguing with them that it was faulty and that they should at least exchange it for another. They insisted that I either have somebody come to m

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SeaFox (739806)

      No, it doesn't make any sense. Because it would be much cheaper to make the original iPhone with a few features disabled or components not included than do an entire new design, testing, RF certification, ect of a new model for a single market.

  • by BRSloth (578824) * <julioNO@SPAMjuliobiason.net> on Monday January 12, 2009 @04:34PM (#26422547) Homepage Journal

    As someone who worked with the iPhone SDK, I can say that iPhone Nano is not going to happen anytime soon. Reason: There is no layout managers in the SDK so, if you want your button to be in the right side, you have to provide a position in pixels from the left side. If Apple build a smaller version of the screen, about 90% of all AppStore applications would not work properly. Either that or you'd have very small buttons all over the place and it'd be really hard to read anything in the screen ('cause you need to keep same aspect ratio of the "normal" iPhone.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I can say that iPhone Nano is not going to happen anytime soon. Reason: There is no layout managers in the SDK so, if you want your button to be in the right side, you have to provide a position in pixels from the left side.

      Unless the number of pixels in the screen stay the same.

    • by e2d2 (115622)

      Yes existing apps would have to be rebuilt but so what. One could simply store a configuration that's has layout information out for each device, determine which display view to use for that device, and then do so.

      Hypothetically the application developers should've thought of this. Will the current iPhone display resolution always be standard? Probably not.

      I'm not stating anything about this vapor phone, only that developing for multiple resolutions is not new in mobile development.

    • by GizmoToy (450886) on Monday January 12, 2009 @05:52PM (#26423655) Homepage

      I think the most compelling argument for the iPhone Nano is "Who said it would provide App Store support?" A cheap iPhone Nano that is merely a cellphone + iPod would make a killing. Then there's a clear upgrade path: Get hooked on the iPod and phone integration, then step up to the full iPhone with application support when your contract's up. I don't think it would be unusual to have a basic phone (iPhone Nano) and a smartphone (iPhone) in the Apple lineup.

      Also, the official SDK specifically warns against using hard-coded pixel values to place items on the screen. They are supposed to be in relation to the actual pixel edges, for which an easy access method is provided. I doubt many people design this way, which will undoubtedly create a nightmare when the resolution is inevitably changed, but Apple did warn everyone.

      • I agree, the iPod will be mostly dead in the future.
        Today people want a phone that can play music. At least that is what I am seeing when I use public transportation.
        Luckily for Apple many phones have had horrible music player interfaces(have not followed the phone market the last 2 years). Yes my Nokia had 2 gigabytes of storage, but the way to control and select music was horrible.

        So Apple will need to make a cheaper phone+ipod, if they not want to get Sony'd.

    • by kc8apf (89233) <kc8apf&kc8apf,net> on Monday January 12, 2009 @06:05PM (#26423883) Homepage

      Interface Builder lets you choose to specify offsets from either side for both axes (top/bottom for Y and left/right for X). Further it lets you defined resize behaviors. The only apps that will be bitten by a change in screen dimensions are those from developers who didn't bother to learn what those controls do and assumed that the screen size will just never change.

  • by John Bayko (632961) on Monday January 12, 2009 @04:52PM (#26422823)
    Isn't it more likely that the manufacturing drawings, supplier rumours, etc. are for a "iPod Touch Nano" rather than a nano iPhone? That would explain the lack of reported phone testing.
  • by kimvette (919543) on Monday January 12, 2009 @05:13PM (#26423089) Homepage Journal

    http://www.metropolismag.com/pov/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/zoolander.jpg [metropolismag.com]

    "Hansel? This call is for you."

  • by javacowboy (222023) on Monday January 12, 2009 @05:21PM (#26423219)

    The reasoning that the iPhone Nano can't exist is that iPhone apps rely on a certain screen size and resolution.

    Well, who says the iPhone Nano won't be a device that lacks the functionality to run custom apps?

    There's a great demand by people like me who carry an iPod and cell phone who would rather carry a single device. This device would have simple requirements:

    1) Music player
    2) View and Edit Contacts
    3) View and Edit Calendars
    4) No contract
    5) No data plan/ voice plan only
    6) Sync with iTunes/Addressbook/iCal
    7) Calculator and other simple apps

    Essentially, it would be an iPod Nano would a phone attached, and it would sell like hotcakes. Apple could charge a premium over other "dumbphones" because it would be an Apple phone. It wouldn't need anymore than simple first party apps. Later on, the iPhone SDK would be updated so that third party developers could port their existing apps to it.

    The only reason Apple wouldn't do this is if, despite the flood of volume, it simply wouldn't be profitable enough.

    • by GizmoToy (450886)

      I think you're probably right on. Apple likes clearly-defined product groups with certain features.

      I wouldn't be surprised to see:
      iPhone Nano = iPod + Phone (Data plan not required)
      iPhone 3G (or whatever is next) = iPod + Phone + Apps (Data plan required)

      Then there's a nice upgrade path for Apple from one to the other.

    • by svnt (697929)

      More importantly, who says you can't get a physically smaller LCD screen than the iPhone with the same number of pixels.

      There are several phones out now (HTC, OpenMoko) with a 2.8" 640x480 LCD. There is no reason an iPhone Nano couldn't sport a 480x320 2.2" display and have zero resolution-based issues.

  • Despite limited information in the supplier channels and typical secrecy with new Apple products, insiders have confirmed that the iPhone nano is not yet in the testing labs at AT&T, Marshal says, leading him to believe that the launch will most likely be with a non-US carrier.

    Either that, or it's not on the way at all. :)

  • And? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Flere Imsaho (786612)
    I don't know if it's just me, but who gives a fuck? It's a phone, people. Get a life. Not trolling, just saying...
  • by altek (119814) on Monday January 12, 2009 @11:56PM (#26427619) Homepage

    The whole basis for this "speculation" (the mobile device world already seems to have moved on from this rumor) was a mock-up of a rubber skin for an iPhone nano device from a chinese supplier that makes rubber device skins.

    Likely due to all the knock-off companies in China making knock-off devices, one probably has a mini iPhone knockoff in the works.

    It was all over engadget, et al, like a month ago. (and this is /. so naturally i'm too lazy to go dig up links)

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