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The Future of the iPhone Nano
The idea of an iPhone Nano has been around for the last couple of generations of the iPhone. The idea behind the iPhone Nano rumor follows the same logic as the iPod Nano, which was a smaller and less expensive iPod that could perform specific functions well. We waited through the release of the iPhone 4 and saw no sign of the iPhone Nano, and instead of a new iPhone Nano released at the 2010 Keynote address there was just the release of a new iPod Nano with a touch screen. Some of the iPhone 5 previews have looked forward and recognised the possible release of an iPhone Nano and iPhone Pro, but there is really nothing concrete about the iPhone 5. Here is a look at some of the more interesting iPhone Nano rumors and what it could look like.
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Long Standing iPhone Nano Rumor
The iPhone Nano rumor existed long before it even seemed logical. It was further propagated when an iPhone case developer put together a model for an iPhone Nano, which most of the tech blogs interpreted as hard evidence that an iPhone Nano was actually on its way. In this model there was essentially an iPhone Mini that would utilize the touch screen, be about half as large, and would include only the basic features of the iPhone. With the iPhone 4 here, and the iPhone 5 on its way at some point, it would be interesting to now see what the iPhone Nano would include as basic functions.
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New iPhone Nano
The new iPod Nano may be the best place to look to get a sense of how the iPhone Nano may look. This new iPod Nano includes a 1.54 inch touch screen and a tight design, but still includes the external plugs and volume buttons. Inside the new iPod Nano includes nice features like FM radio, 8 to 16 GB, and a generally nice design. The new iPod Nano does not, however, act directly like an iPod Touch in that it really does not run on the iOS and is not really a vessel for apps from the App Store. This could easily stand as the model for the iPhone Nano where it would allow for a larger range of iPod features, yet would really dial out of the app model of the conventional iPhone.
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What the iPhone Nano Will Include
We would expect the iPhone Nano would not be released until the full release of the iPhone 5, at the very earliest. It would likely include solutions for the iPhone 4's calling issues and would try to mark itself with its own unique features and price. You could expect the iPhone Nano to be two thirds to half the price of the iPhone 5 and it may even come without a data plan or internet connectivity. From looking at the new iPod Nano it seems as though it may not have any actual internet connection at all, but right now it is hard to imagine a smartphone that will not have any internet connection. If it does the iPhone Nano may have a set of embedded applications, such as one for video and Facebook, but not allow for any others. It may just want to focus in on the features allowed in the growing iTunes parts of the computer - iPod interaction with items like Ping and Air Play. It may just come in like an iPhone Mini instead of a full iPhone Nano, as an iPhone Nano implies that it has its own specific features. An iPhone Mini may just be a smaller version of the iPhone 5, lacking features and offered at a smaller price. The iPhone Mini may just be a bare bones version of the iPhone, the same as the iPod Shuffle is to the iPod Touch.
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Chance of Release
The release of items like the iPod Nano and the iPod Shuffle in the first place were because of the democratization of the iPod technology. Apple wanted to open up the iPod to all users, not just those who were somewhat wealthy and could afford such a device. Therefore they released more inexpensive versions that would appeal to those who were less musically inclined, less technical, and less in need of expensive portable electronics. The same will become increasingly true of smartphone technology as it becomes more of a standard and is not just for those who have the money, and social or professional need, for such a device. This is already being seen in the release of cheaper and less feature oriented smartphones and Apple has begun to try to appeal to less affluent users by retailing at places like Wal-Mart and selling the iPhone 3Gs for cheaper after the release of the iPhone 4. All of this indicates that a less expensive model of the iPhone is on the horizon, and this inevitably leads us back to the iPhone Nano and iPhone Mini. Whether or not this will take the form of a unique iPhone Nano is undetermined, but if Apple has been listening to the rumbling at all it will show that this is what the people have been waiting for.