Contrary to recent reports from Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal, new information uncovered by the New York Times indicates that Apple is not developing a smaller iPhone. Anonymous sources that were allegedly briefed on the matter claim that Apple is considering offering a cheaper iPhone, but will not change its size.
The iPhone 5 is expected to debut this summer, and rumors have surfaced that Apple is experimenting with different form factors and even a physical keyboard. Although unlikely, these possible scenarios show how Apple is coming under pressure from a variety of Android handsets in the works. The New York Times insists that Apple has no such plans, and will produce an iPhone 5 that is similar in size to the current iPhone 4.
The reasons for no mini-iPhone or iPhone nano are twofold. A smaller iPhone would not really be cheaper to manufacture, and a device smaller than current models would be too difficult to operate. Some people have enough trouble trying to navigate with their fingers on the 3.5-inch screen. Apple has also been hyper-aware of fragmentation in the Android space, and wants to avoid multiple screen sizes and more variation in hardware than necessary.
As long as iOS and the App Store are centrally controlled, Apple can maintain quality and consistency across its mobile devices, or so the story goes. Older models are usually offered alongside the current iPhones for a cheaper price, too. Right now the iPhone 3GS can be purchased for only $49 with a two-year contract from AT&T.The New York Times also reports that part of Apple's strategy going forward is to add more voice command capabilities to the next iPhone. If the voice commands are good enough, people won't need to use the touch screen or virtual keyboard as often, making it simpler to get things done. The report also states that the mythical name for the non-existent iPhone nano, "N97" was actually an internal code name for the Verizon iPhone which has already been released. Well at least it sounded cool.
Read more details in the New York Times.