Apple may be building a miniature iPhone, with a waterproof, ultra-durable capacitive touchscreen, iLounge is reporting. Or is it a giant iPod Nano?
The new device, a leaked image of which appears above courtesy of iLounge, would boast a 2.8-inch screen; the current iPhone has a 3.5-inch screen. ILounge says the touchscreen pictured would be more rugged than the one featured on the current iPhone/iPod touch: less sensitive to high temperatures, water, humidity, and aging. The developer of the displays, Host Optical, is the source of the leaked images, and is claiming to be an Apple supplier. Host's images also show another iPhone screen size--3.2 inches diagonal--suggesting Apple might be shrinking the size of one of its current devices, as well as adding the diminutive 2.8-inch version (shown below).
ILounge approaches the leaked images with appropriate skepticism, theorizing that one or both of the screens might be intended for a future iPod versions (touch-screen iPod Nanos, for example) and not necessarily iPhone revisions. Shrinking the iPhone's screen size would seem an unlikely and boneheaded move for Apple; as people become more reliant on their iPhones, they'll need as much keyboard space as possible.
But if they're real, the new, smaller touch devices may be designed to fill in the lower end of a product line graced by a tablet device at the high end. Apple may be envisioning that current iPhone users will upgrade to a tablet for their heavy mobile use, and want to simultaneously pare down their handset to something more compact. AT&T may even offer bundled deals for a tablet + iPhone/iPod plan that features a shared voice and data pool.
AppleInsider thinks differently. According to their sources, the new iPhones will also be "world-phones" compatible with either UTMS or CDMA networks, and will be build specifically for Verizon. The new, smaller device may be a way for Apple to two-time on its exclusive iPhone contract with AT&T, or it may indicate that the exclusivity is about to end. Whatever the case, the increased incidence of iPhone-related rumors suggests an announcement is nigh.