Micro, not Nano

Another day, another Apple rumour. You can’t beat a good Apple rumour, can you? They’re such fun, because they almost always boil down to someone quoting someone else who’d heard that someone had actually seen something but in fact had read an article in which some analyst had said that Apple would be FOOLS if the iPhone 5 didn’t have a 3D display like the Nintendo 3DS.

In fact when Apple rumours are based on actual facts, such as Gizmodo’s, ahem, liberated iPhone 4 last year, it kind of spoils the fun. I want to have fun with conjecture and plenty of over-enthusiastic speculation, leading up to a big reveal that’s either a completely exciting surprise or an utter disappointment. Rather than, ‘Oh, it’s that exact thing that they said it’d be on that website. Well, great.’ Fuck that. Either give me a gushing great nerdgasm or grind my rather reasonable expectations into the dirt. Where Apple’s concerned I’ll accept no middle ground, because that’s where I’m perfectly adequately served by Microsoft, thank you very much.

So, this morning some guy said that Apple was making the iPhone Nano or something. More than that I’m not really sure about; I found a news story, clocked something about a price point of around £125, then got to the word ‘analyst’ and immediately stopped paying attention. Maybe Apple’s working on a budget iPhone, maybe it isn’t, but I’m guessing that this so-called analyst has about as much concrete information on it as I do.

And me, I don’t have a clue. No idea whatsoever. However, I do reckon it’d make a lot of sense. Apple’s basically owned the smartphone market for, what, the last four years, but now the opposition’s starting to catch up and things aren’t looking quite so cushy for the Cupertino mob from here on in. In particular the new Microsoft/Nokia hook-up. I had a brief go on Windows Phone 7 the other week and it’s really very nice. Apple’s going to have to fight for smartphone market share now.

It makes perfect sense for Apple to diversify its phone operations; it’s a model that worked for the iPod and it ought to work for the iPhone. The thing I don’t really buy is the Nano bit. The iPod Nano got a hell of a revision last year and it’s not a form factor that lends itself to a phone. Tricky nomenclature, Nano; you’d expect the phone to look like the iPod, and that just wouldn’t work, would it?

I like the cut of the current Nano’s jib, though, and I could see that body (or perhaps a slightly larger one) encased in a more phone-shaped mount that would also serve to take care of all that telephone hardware that I imagine wouldn’t fit into an actual Nano’s case. It’d run the same slimmed-down iOS that the Nano does, probably upgraded and ready for its own apps. You’d be able to use the screen as a keypad and, vitally, be able to type on it as well, which would affect the minimum size. Minimal web functionality, good SMS and MMS usability, crappy little camera and a speaker for blasting out N-Dubz from the back of the bus. Because obviously this one’s aimed at the kids.

It’d look a bit like this:

The Game Boy Micro’s a great shape to borrow, or at least start from. Screen in the middle then use the ends for your microphone and speaker and all those other necessary phone things. You could call it the iPhone Micro and the kids would love it. It wouldn’t look like their parents’ iPhones but it’d have that Apple cachet, it’d do all the things they wanted from a phone, it’d come in a range of colours, and it’d give Apple a huge chunk of the lower end of the phone market.

At least, that’s my analysis.

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