Why the iPhone nano won’t work

Yet another iPhone nano rumor surfaced over at MacRumors today, this one originating at “iDeals China”. The site claims that the iPhone nano isn’t as tall as the iPhone 3G or iPod touch, but is of the same width and depth, with the same iPhone 3G contour. From the renderings provided by the somewhat unreliable website, it appears the smaller version of Apple’s popular cellphone features multi-touch technology, physical volume controls and is believed to have a 2MP camera. Finally, the site states that the iPhone nano will be introduced on January 6th at Macworld San Francisco.

I very much doubt that the iPhone nano will be announced on this date, or indeed ever. Introducing a similar phone, but with a smaller screen would present many problems both for Apple and more significantly for developers. Apps would have to be completely redesigned to be compatible with the smaller screen. While developers could continue to use Xcode and the same tools provided for its larger cousin, overhauling 10,000+ apps would take months.

The idea of an “iPhone nano” goes against Apple’s central philosophy when it comes to the mobile platform. When Steve Jobs introduced the original iPhone at Macworld in January 2007, he boasted the iPhone’s 3.5 inch multi-touch screen. He made the point that small screens and “tiny plastic keyboards” make for bad mobile interactivity online.

If Apple were to announce the iPhone nano, it would probably not include a full-blown internet explorer like mobile Safari. I doubt it would include an App Store or Google Maps technology. The lack of these fundamental features would undermine the iPhone OS, and ultimately effect sales of both devices.

As MacRumors notes, it has been a relatively quiet lead-in to Macworld San Francisco 2009. This is one of the first rumors to surface about new products or announcements at the annual event. It hasn’t even been confirmed that Steve Jobs will be leading the keynote, which is extraordinarily uncharacteristic of IDG World Expo (Macworld publisher IDG’s conference subsidiary). We can only hope this means Apple is putting the finishing touches on an amazing and inexpensive technology that arrives on January 6th. – r.

[iDeals China via MacRumors]

The Green Room is providing live coverage of Macworld San Francisco 2009. Further information can be found here.

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