A Valentine’s present from Apple if this morning’s Wall Street Journal can be believed. We’ve had many rumours over the past two years that there is a smaller iPhone – dubbed the iPhone Nano – in the pipeline. Now comes a definite steer towards a cheaper phone that would dramatically improve Apple’s potential to tap the mass market.
Currently, even with a long contract, the iPhone is an expensive item for mainstream consumers. A smaller phone, perhaps costing half the price of the current iPhone 4, would allow carriers to offer a free device in return for a long contract. This would take Apple right into the mainstream market which, despite the phenomenal success of the iPhone, they have been unable to tap. According to the WSJ, this new Nano phone could be half the size of the current phone.
I can see such a phone appealing not only to the lower end of the market, but also to the current owners who carry both iPhone and iPad. If you have access to a larger browsing device such as the iPad, there is less need for a larger-screen phone. As such, the introduction of a cheaper iPhone could cannibalise sales of the existing standard phone and that is something Apple will be bearing in mind.
Other news in the same article heralds a revamp of the MobileMe service with a suggestion that it could become free and could act as a conduit for iTunes streaming. This makes sense because we have still not heard what wonderful things Apple plan for their massive – and expanding – North Carolina server farm.
MobileMe has not been the runaway success Apple expected. Most of us wouldn’t be without it because of the email service and the faultless synchronisation of PIM data between Apple devices. Yet it has failed to deliver on convenient storage and synchronisation of other data. That role has been subsumed by Dropbox, the darling of the blogosphere. Dropbox does well everything that MobileMe was intended to do but failed to deliver.
Having said that, there is a compelling argument for making MobileMe into a free service that comes with every Mac and iOS device by default. It could become one of Apple’s biggest USPs and would further cement the relationship between Apple and its customers.
Source: Wall Street Journal via MacRumors