We have more detail on Apple’s iPhone nano, which according to Sunday’s Wall Street Journal is real and may be headed to market this year.
But what we have will blow your mind.
This week, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal and TechCrunch all published rumors that Apple plans to launch a smaller, more affordable iPhone, to be sold alongside the iPhone 4. (We predicted as much six weeks ago.)
The WSJ also reported that MobileMe is getting a major revamp in June, allowing users to store most of their data and media in the cloud. We’ve heard the same thing from several sources.
Firstly, according to our source (who asked to remain anonymous), Apple has been working on a smaller, mass-market iPhone for a long time.
But to do that, Apple had to figure out a way to strip away some of the components to reduce both its size and cost.
Apple decided to lose some of the memory, which is by far the most expensive component of the iPhone (up to one-quarter of the device’s cost, according to iSuppli estimates).
By “some” of the memory, we mean ALL of the memory. The iPhone nano will have no memory for onboard storage of media, our source says. It will have only enough memory to buffer media streamed from the cloud.
“I’m talking strictly storage memory here,” said our source.
The iPhone nano will pull ALL it’s content from MobileMe. When users buy a movie or TV show on iTunes, it’s available to stream to their iPhone or iPad. The service is based on technology from LaLa.com, a streaming service that Apple bought last spring and then shut down.
“It would be a mostly cloud-based iOS,” said our source.
The WSJ report reported many of the same details, and also hinted that the new iPhone nano will have limited storage: “MobileMe… would serve as a “locker” for personal memorabilia such as photos, music and videos, eliminating the need for devices to carry a lot of memory,” the Journal said.
The prospect of a memory-less iPhone is intriguing, and our source has a great track record, however, it does raise a few questions.
The device cannot surely come without any memory — what about the operating system and critical system data?
And what about pictures and movies taken by the iPhone, assuming it has a camera? No onboard memory means photos and video will have to be streamed UP to the cloud, and presumably in real-time.
The device will also have to stream a bunch of other data in real-time — from email attachments to documents and spreadsheets in users’ Home folders. Such a system must have some local storage, or could each and every piece of data be streamed to the iPhone’s RAM, and quickly swapped in and out depending on the task at hand? And what happens when the iPhone is inevitably offline?
And no more loading up movies for long-haul flights, I guess. Better hope more airlines start offering free WiFi by the summer.
The latest report restated much of what had been revealed in previous stories, including the fact that Apple apparently intends to sell the device at a low $200 price point without a contract or carrier subsidy. That would be a major discount from the current iPhone, which has an average selling price of $625.
“Phone users on tighter budgets have been shunning the pricey iPhones in favour of less expensive models which have Google’s popular Android software,” the report said. “Apple will now hope to lure away customers from the likes of Nokia.”
As in previous filings, an anonymous tipster claims to have seen the prototype, said to be about a third smaller than the iPhone 4. The person reportedly said that the early version of the device had no “home” button, and cautioned that the device could be delayed or scrapped.
The publication also reaffirmed that Apple has also worked on new iPhone software and hardware that would let customers choose a network directly from their handset, bypassing the carriers even more.
[source taken from http://www.cultofmac.com/ and http://www.appleinsider.com/]