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Apple Planning to Launch iPhone Nano?

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After digging through the trademark office, JP Morgan has found a patent filing that has led the whole tech industry to believe Apple will launch a smaller, less expensive iPhone later this year.

Digital Journal -- I know, you just uttered the words "Holy jeez," under your breath, and scratched your forehead in disbelief. Welcome to the world of tech, where new products are rumoured to be coming before their predecessors have had any real time to play in the market.

Keven Chang, an analyst for JP Morgan is credited for finding the documents at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that outline a device that sounds almost undeniably like an iPhone Nano . It was filed by Apple on November 1, 2006 but published by the patent office on July 5, 2007.

The report shows Apple could be planning to launch a cheaper version of the iPhone based on its slim iPod Nano music player.

The iPhone has been on sale in the United States since June 29, and all reports indicate the phone is selling as expected (Apple has not released numbers, but analysts predict they sold as many as 500,000 units in the first weekend alone). Apple has targeted sales of 10 million units next year, giving them 1 per cent of the global cell phone market.

The current price tag will set iPhone owners back about $600 USD (depending on model), whereas the upcoming iPhone Nano is expected to cost about $300 USD or lower (some estimates suggest it could cost a mere $99 to $149).

It's no surprise that Apple would try another version of iPhone. After all, the company saw huge success with its iPod line for the very reason that it offered a choice: big units, small units, models coming in a rainbow of colours, thin profiles and large or small storage capacities. This success (in theory at least), could easily be repeated with the iPhone.

Also, as Chang says, the less expensive iPhone Nano is needed so Apple can avoid cannibalizing the iPod Nano. But with a lower price, Chang says next year's sales of a stripped-down iPhone could be as high as 30 to 40 million units, assuming their is no supply bottlenecks. Apple currently sells 50 million iPods per year.

The iPhone Nano will also change the business model for Apple and service providers, as mobile phone carriers could discount the phone to entice customers to sign long-term contracts.

Some analysts have suggested the more expensive iPhone will have trouble reaching the mass market because of its price point, but an iPhone Nano would easily bridge the gap, as Americans typically spend $100 or less on their mobiles
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