Smaller, Cheaper iPhone Coming Summer 2011

Just the other day, Bloomberg reported on the long-anticipated iPhone nano, a smaller iPhone in the works at Apple. Now the Wall Street Journal has confirmed that such a device is in development and should see release this summer. According to the report, the smaller iPhone will be around half the size of the current iPhone 4.

apple mini iphone nano N97 summer 2011

Patents for a mini-iPhone first surfaced almost four years ago, and since then Apple executives have discouraged rumors that a smaller smartphone is under development. Sources speaking to the Wall Street Journal claim to have seen a prototype device, dubbed the N97.

According to these sources, the N97 features an "edge-to-edge" touchscreen with an on-screen keyboard and voice navigation. In previous reports, some analysts had speculated that an iPhone nano would lack GPS and other functionality to help reduce the cost of the device. This summer, an iPhone 5 launch would showcase Apple's latest and greatest hardware, while a smaller phone offered at the same time could use last year's components to save on manufacturing costs.

Carriers would be able to acquire the iPhone nano for around half the price of current models, which would significantly reduce costs to the consumer. Apple's strategy in offering a lower-tier model would be to increase smartphone sales in the face of increasing competition. Expanding the range of iOS devices in the hands of consumers also helps Apple to drive content sales, such as iTunes music and software sales on the App Store.

Apple took a similar approach when they diversified their line of iPods into smaller form factors over time. The company has also offered older, less expensive model iPhones alongside newer models, although it has yet to reveal a smaller version.