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Apple 'iPhone Nano' rumors gain steam and conflict on details

February 14, 2011 | 11:13 am

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Rumors of an Apple iPhone Nano -- a smaller, lower-priced version of the hit smart phone -- are growing in the echo chamber of the Internet, and they're conflicting too.

Bloomberg on Friday reported that Apple is working on concepts for a possible mini-sized iPhone that could challenge lower-end smart phones running Google's Android operating system.

Bloomberg cited multiple unnamed sources at Apple in its report and on Monday the Wall Street Journal , TechCrunch and Cult of Mac published similar reports of their own.

Dozens of news agencies and blogs have re-reported the differing rumors, sending the Apple hype machine into a froth over what an iPhone Nano could look like if produced.

The Journal reported that the smaller iPhone concepts, which many on the Internet have nicknamed the iPhone Nano, are about half the size of the iPhone 4.

The cost of a smaller iPhone for wireless providers could also be about half that of the iPhone 4, which Apple sells to carriers for about $625 each who then sell the phone as low as $199 with a two-year contract to consumers, the newspaper said.

With a substantially lower price, telecommunications companies could sell the smaller iPhone for a much lower price, or even offer it for free after subsidies, the paper said.

TechCrunch reported a different plan, stating that its anonymous sources said Apple isn't looking to sell its smaller iPhone through any wireless carriers, but instead on its own for $99 and with no two-year contract.

The website also said the rumored iPhone Nano concept is about one-third the size of the iPhone 4 and use components from older-model iPhones.

The Cult of Mac blog again had a wholly different report of its own, from sources who could not be named, as well as possibly the most radical of the rumors thus far.

The blog reported that Apple is exploring a smaller iPhone model that would include no on-board storage memory and thus be completely reliant on "the cloud" using the Internet to store data and applications.

An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on the rumors.

The iPhone Nano rumors are churning at an interesting time for Apple. Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO, is on an indefinite medical leave of absence. Last month, Google's Android unseated Nokia's Symbian as the world's top smart phone OS.

Verizon started selling its version of the iPhone 4 on Thursday and the fifth-generation iPhone is widely expected to be unveiled within months, amid increasing competition from Google, Hewlett-Packard's WebOS devices and Microsoft's Windows Phone platform.

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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

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Photo: A Verizon Wireless employee waits to assist customers at a Verizon store in San Francisco on Thursday, Feb. 10, as the Verizon version of the iPhone is released for the first time. Credit: Ryan Anson / Bloomberg

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