Saturday, March 26, 2011

Apple may have a more inexpensive alternative to the iPhone - a smaller mini-iPhone

The new iPhone mini would cost half as much and be half the size of a regular iPhone.

The new iPhone mini would cost half as much and be half the size of a regular iPhone.

The iPhone may soon be competing against another slick new smart phone - a smaller, cheaper version of itself.

Speculation that Apple is developing a mini-iPhone has intensified after several media outlets cited multiple sources within Apple that a new phone is in the works for a possible summer release.

Dubbed the iPhone Nano by techies, it would be about half the size and sell for considerably less than the iPhone 4, which retails for $199 with the cheapest options.

The new iPhone would also come with little to no internal memory, relying instead on so-called cloud storage that saves data on the Internet, according to The Wall Street Journal.

There were conflicting reports about the possible cost of a mini- iPhone.

The Journal said carriers AT&T and Verizon - which buy iPhones from Apple for about $625 each, then sell them for $199 to $299 with a two-year contract - could either sell the new iPhone for half that amount or even offer it to consumers for free to lure them into signing a contract.

Other tech websites speculated that Apple would sell the phone directly to consumers for $99 without any contract.

The introduction of a smaller iPhone is seen as Apple's answer to inexpensive phones using Google's Android operating system, the leader in the worldwide smart phone market with a 33% share, according to tech research firm Canalys. Apple is third with a 16% share.

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