Update – April 13, 2009: iPhonAsia reply to MacRumors post re new iPhone Models
An unlocked EDGE only iPhone makes perfect sense … Think BRIC countries where lower incomes and pre-paid (not “on contract”) wireless accounts are the norm. A low cost iPhone will be very appealing in Brazil, Russia, India and China. Toss in Indonesia and several other major “pre-paid” markets.
China Mobile runs a very robust EDGE 2.5 G network across China (290 million of China Mobile’s 461 million subscribers are pre-paid). Many wireless users have reported a very good EDGE connection in China. I wouldn’t dismiss the Nano iPhone. It’s possible that the unlocked EDGE iPhone will be the Nano iPhone. It is also very possible that the Nano form factor was a design experiment that will remain under “lock-in-key” somewhere in the vaults in Cupertino. Mobile gaming (wildly popular in China) is really becoming a major focus for Apple and carriers since the App Store has taken off and a full screen is important to the gaming experience.
As for the special “for China” iPhone … It will NOT support TD-SCDMA (China Mobile’s 3G network). Rather it will be W-CDMA 3G (China Unicom’s network). All signs point to Apple and China Unicom having concluded (past tense) a “3G” exclusive. The special iPhone 3G for China will likely come pre-loaded with several “for China” apps (e.g. Youku or Tudou vs. Youtube) and may not have WiFi. China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) currently prohibits 3G handsets from including WiFi (although this policy is now under review). More here > https://idannyb.wordpress.com/2009/04…-to-be-lifted/
Update – April 8, 2009: Kaufman Brothers telecom analyst Shaw Wu issued a note today speculating on new iPhone models. He suggests that Apple may have developed three (3) new iPhones, but based on clues that developers have uncovered in the beta iPhone 3.0 software, Shaw Wu now believes “only two will see the light of day” – An iPhone Sr. and iPhone Jr. Wu hears that the “Senior” model will have longer battery life and a more powerful processor capable of running more complex apps. The Junior model (iPhone Nano?) other would be less-powerful. No word on whether the Junior model would be 3G. Much more detail via Apple 2.0 > HERE
Update – March 31, 2009: Daniel Amir, a Lazard Capital Markets analyst issued a report yesterday noting that Lazard’s channel checks confirm two (2) versions of iPhones will be announced in June; a low-end (iPhone Nano?) and a high-end version. The low-end version is expected to run on a 3G network, rather than WiFi, while the high-end version is anticipated to double its storage capacity from 16GB to 32G and feature improvements to its camera.
Update – March 15, 2009: RUMOR According to iDeals site. the iPhone Nano will launch through China Mobile late Spring or early Summer.
iPhonAsia comment: If there is a formal iPhone deal with China Mobile, it has been well masked by rumors (now at least partially debunked) of a total “break down” in talks … If an iPhone “3G” deal evaporated it could have been due to TD-SCDMA network reliability issues and a power struggle over who controls the value added services platform (Apple or China Mobile?). Yet China Mobile CEO, Wang Jianzhou has consistently said he would be interested in cooperating with Apple to release iPhone in China. Moreover, Wang Jianzhou recently (in Feb and March) repeated that Apple and China Mobile remain “in cooperation talks” under an NDA, and on March 5, 2009 Wang said; “Apple has demonstrated its will.” What does that mean? Who Knows? Something big, something small, or nothing at all.
China Mobile gets iPhone Nano and China Unicom gets iPhone 3G?
IF (big “IF” = probably wrong) there is to be an iPhone Nano “deal“ with China Mobile, it most likely will not be for a “3G” model (iPhone Nano probably won’t support China Mobile’s TD-SCDMA 3G, however it would likely support their EDGE 2.5 G network). When the new iPhone 3G model launches in China, it will mostly likely be a “3G exclusive” (W-CDMA) with China Unicom. Best guess for a 3G deal announcement is May 17th 2009 for launch in Summer 2009. By the way, there have been several reports that a China Unicom executive team was in Cupertino the week of March 8th to finalize an iPhone deal. Hope it has now been signed, sealed and delivered.
Here is the latest comment from iDeals…
“The launch of iPod Shuffle is Apple’s opening act for iPhone Nano. All of the news in China is that we will see it very soon. We were told about a new iPod Shuffle at the same time we got the iPhone Nano news. The problem is that iPod Shuffle is not a big event for China accessory suppliers, the money is made on iPhone. In the meantime China accessory companies are busy making accessories for Blackberry Bold, Storm and their new Curve which is ringing in big sales. There is a lot of speculation that Apple will make iPhone Nano available when iPhone is offically released to China Mobile which is sometime late spring or early summer.”
Update – February 24, 2009: According to iDeals site; “An insider informed us that April is the launch date for iPhone Nano.” iPhonAsia comment: Be very skeptical … Unless Apple plans to distribute a non-3G iPhone Nano in partnership with Hon Hai (<details) and other non-carrier China distributors, then Apple will likely wait until May or June to make any iPhone in China announcements … most likely for a Summer launch in partnership with China Unicom. In other related news … Polite Apple/China Mobile “cooperation conversations” (<details) continue … so confirmed by China Mobile CEO Wang Jianzhou.
Update – February 13, 2009: Kaufman Brothers’ analyst Shaw Wu believes that Apple may keep the rumored iPhone Nano parked in the engineering vaults in Cupertino. In a February ’09 research brief he noted that he is “hearing” Apple is in “fairly advanced development” on three new iPhone models, but Wu is doubtful they will all be commercialized.
Shaw Wu believes that one of new “under lock-n-key” iPhone models, has a smaller 2.8 inch screen versus the current model 3.5-inch screen. Wu feels that this so called iPhone Nano is “less likely to see the light of day in the near term as it appears that software and thus feature sets will be the key differentiator” … Read more details via > Fortune Apple 2.0
February 10, 2009 Latest via iDeals site “We have inside information that an established premium case company, XSKN.com, has not dropped iPhone Nano for their web site and in fact XSKN continues to manufacture 2 styles of iPhone Nano cases. They must have information which makes them believe that Apple will launch iPhone Nano in the near future and is preparing a stock to take as much iPhone Nano case business as they can by offering immediate delivery. XSKN.com was the first company to release iPhone 3G cases months before iPhone 3G was known to exist.”
Update – January 16, 2009: Rumor: China Unicom to start selling the iPhone Nano??? … The story > HERE should be filed under “rumor” with a capital “R” … but it is interesting nonetheless. Regardless of whether Apple and China Mobile failed to come to terms (perhaps a dispute over too much “demanded” customization for China Mobile and their value-added services?), iPhonAsia has always felt that China Unicom would be a prime candidate for iPhone. The combined China Unicom/Netcom has 139 million subscribers and they are anxious to make a serious dent in China Mobile’s 485 million subscribers. It is interesting to note that over 290 million of China Mobile’s subscribers are pre-paid (no contract) and hence free to move to another carrier. China Unicom has been granted a license for W-CDMA 3G and the current “standard model” iPhone 3G already supports W-CMDA 3G. The rumored Nano iPhone may or may not be 3G.
Update – January 14, 2009: from iDeals site: “A new rumor has surfaced – A number of Foxconn employees will not be going home for Chinese New Year. The rumor is that they will be working on a secret Apple product. The Chinese New Year is the most important Chinese holiday, workers normally go home for 15 days and China shuts down. Fifteen days production could mean 1.2 million iPhone Nanos.”
Update – January 13, 2009: DigiTimes highlights a report from Taiwan’s Economic Daily News stating that two chip manufacturers, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company and United Microelectronics Corporation, are expected to receive chip orders for Apple’s rumored iPhone nano. The report states that orders would likely come in March, leading to a June release of the iPhone nano at the earliest. More > HERE
Update – January 12, 2009: from iDeals site: “Today we got some information that a few more cases companies are making iPhone Nano cases. Investment in iPhone Nano accessories has not stopped which indicates that more companies have new information or they believe enough in the existing information to continue to invest.”
Update – January 7, 2009: from iDeals site: “We feel that iPhone Nano is in production and if our production information is correct then they are making about 2.5 million iPhone Nanos a month, as of Dec 20th. If they need 10 million before they hit the market then don’t expect it until the end of March.”
Update – January 5, 2009: – iDeals site in China is now reporting that accessory manufacturer XSKN.com is moving forward with their iPhone Nano case production and “they feel confident the iPhone Nano will happen.”
Update – January 1st 2009: – iDeals site in China… the prime mover of the original iPhone Nano rumor… says they may be wrong about iPhone Nano January 1, 2009 LATEST “We Just got word that a major company stopped production on all iPhone Nano accessories. They believe the information they got is not real and want to cut their loses (sic). This is the first negative information we got that might mean that there will be no iPhone Nano. If so a number of accessory and clone companies will lose a lot of money.” http://www.idealschina.com/Insider/N…x?ArticleID=32
iPhonAsia comment: This all begins to make more sense if you consider that the Nano iPhone might have been specially built for China Mobile. There are many reasons why a “Nano” iPhone does not make sense (e.g. screen too small, at least by Western Standards) … yet there are reasons why it might fly in the Far East . Consider that this could be a low price “customized” model designed in concert with China Mobile (see >”customization” for back story re Accenture’s involvement). This model would be EDGE 2.5G and TD-SCDMA 3G ready and would support Monternet – China Mobile’s VAS platform. No iTunes, no AppStore, no WiFi. China Mobile is building their own app store and they are subsidizing all “TD ready” handsets authorized in China. Of China Mobile’s 485 million users, approximately 290 million are pre-paid users (no contract). Many pre-paid users aspire to iPhone but cannot afford without a price incentive (China Mobile subsidy to go on contract). This rumored deal to build a customized TD iPhone for China Mobile flies in the face of Apple’s model for doing business with all other world carriers. In many ways it’s hard to fathom and I wouldn’t blame anyone for saying “no way!” However, this customized model may be a pre-requisite for doing business in China’s highly controlled handset market. China Mobile’s parent company CMCC is majority state owned (by China) and they need to get the new TD-SCDMA network off to a fast start. It has been a struggle thus far and cool handsets are key to user adoption. IMHO Apple will not do an exclusive deal with China Mobile. The next deal TBA will be with China Unicom , who will be launching their W-CDMA 3G network mid-May 2009. This will be a more standard model iPhone 3G, which already supports W-CDMA 3G. More > HERE & HERE & HERE See also >
Update: 12/18/08 One more clue … type www.iphonenano.com into a browser window and see where it takes you. Caveat: Apple’s ownership of www.iphonenano.com does not necessarily mean will soon see a Nano iPhone. Apple owns many URLs that they may or may not use at some point in the future.
Update: Dan Frommer over at Silicon Alley Insider is quite dubious over the idea of a Nano iPhone. See > HERE Gizmodo is also throwing a pail of cold water on the “Nano” (small) iPhone idea. See > HERE
Update: December 15, 2008 – More on Nano iPhone from iDeals site … link below to more images of size/shape of rumored Nano iPhone > http://www.idealschina.com/Insider/NewsDetail.aspx?ArticleID=32
According to iDeals “once one company starts making a mold their information is passed onto other mold companies or accessory companies through a China underground network.”