iPhone nano -- with no storage?

iPhone nano -- with no storage?

Cult of Mac is following up on the iPhone nano rumors from Bloomberg and Wall Street Journal saying Apple will make the low price points by getting rid of all onboard storage. No NAND Flash storage, no big price tag. Apple would get around this by streaming everything from an iTunes.com/MobileMe cloud just like Apple TV 2 does today.

However, Apple TV 2 still has NAND Flash storage to hold the OS and apps and cache the content. Sure streaming media could make up for lower storage levels but no storage? What about apps? Would Apple let me stream Infinity Blade from the cloud? Would I even want to?

It sounds far fetched. However, an 8GB iPhone nano using components from the huge iPhone 3G/iPhone 3GS production runs of the last few years, augmented by cloud storage could be super cheap and super sweet.

What do you think?

[Cult of Mac]

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Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, co-host of Vector, Review, and Isometric podcasts, and should be followed on Twitter @Georgia_Dow.

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Reader comments

iPhone nano -- with no storage?


Super sweet? Do you hear yourself? People want smartphones with bigger screens, not smaller ones. And a device that further burdens the data bandwidth of the US carries is anything BUT sweet.

I'm with you. Not a fan of cloud storage because it gives what you own to someone else on the premise of easy access if you stay connected to them at all times. Also, a bigger screen would be preferred without making iPhone bigger. But I'd also take a smaller iPhone while keeping the screen the same size. Both are currently possible.

No, not a good idea. The home button works when I need it to. Replacing it with some gimmicky gesture based operation that may or may not work everytime is stupid.

Doubt it.
My bet would be having the same specs as a 3GS, with 8gb, maybe even 4gb, and it will all be on a smaller scale. 2.7inch maybe, with the non retina res.

I think we must not forget that just like with PCs in the 80s and the 90s, prices of mainstream smartphones will go down a lot in the coming years. If Apple doesn't want to be marginalized by 2020 like they were in 2000, the nano makes a lot of sense indeed.

Resist this rumor with all of your might. We had 4 years of "Verizon iphone just around the corner" which is utterly ridiculous. Now that we finally have the Verizon iPhone, the next biggest rumor that never came true is making the rounds, the iPhone nano.
My problem is simply that websites are crying wolf way too much these days. Find me some content and analysis of current stuff, and maybe some more examples of great apps, please stop posting rumors every day.
That or at least provide an RSS feed without rumors.

My thoughts exactly - who is the potential consumer for this phone? Someone who, for instance, wouldn't pay $199 for an iPhone 4 right now, or $99 for a 3GS? This would have to retail for free or $49 wouldn't it?

This actually would work for some. It's not replacing the iphone it's only adding to the lineup. My nephew has an ipod touch and if this was true then this would make it a super cheap buy to add a "phone" for him and still be able to sync contacts, calendar, etc...

Then keep the original iPhone. Nobody is saying "When and if the iPhone 'nano' comes out, we're going to force Dave to buy it! We're going to torture his family until he surrenders his iPhone and purchases a smaller, weaker, more feminine version!"
Yes Dave, this is all a plot to pry your beloved iPhone from your clutches. Beware.

NAND flash is actually pretty cheap. Withholding it from the design really would't save that much money. Apple simply charges a premium for memory on its devices. It's not that it actually costs that much to add it.

I agree, that it would work for a small percentage of customers. I notice a few people I work with not utilizing the full potential of their iPhone. But I don't think making a whole new line of iPhone would be better than using backstock of old generation iPhones. The price comes down pretty low on some.

My feeling on this is that they're going to make a 3gs like device, with a super small bezel. I imagine Apple wouldn't call an iPhone Nano... maybe iPhone Air? A super thin device, with only 2 gigs or so of flash storage, a standard display and a special data plan. If they could introduce this for customers the traditional smart phone market is skipping over (those that just want a phone that can do some wifi web surfing and maybe do some email on the go) I think they could definitely make a go of it. Make it free or at max $99 on contract.

I really dislike this whole idea of a iphone nano. I dont really see ppl getting this unless it's parents getting their pre teen their first phone. but whatever works for apple.

Just don't buy it. It will be like it never existed in your world, but available for everybody else! It's your chance to play god!

Who would supply the data plan? Unless this is some plot to let some smaller carrier break the 'big boys' with a cheap unlimited data plan, this would fly in the face of where the Cell industry wants to head! I'm all for breaking them... I'm just not so sure they would let that happen.

It would be nice to stream content from the cloud, but it still has to have some sort of storage/flash for things like settings and photos, right?

Simply keeping the 3GS supported by iOS would allow for a full smartphone experience without a high pricetag. Re-case it a bit and bam- cheap smartphone!
This is like apple taking steps BACK like they did with the atrocious new iPod nano that robbed us of a video option AT ALL in that category. Apple is getting really crappy these days

Syncing to the cloud without need for an intermediate Mac/PC == great
No local storage, so the device is a paperweight in no/low connectivity situations == the antithesis of great.

They don't do failures? How does the koolaid taste. The first Apple TV was a failure. Mobile Me is for the most part a failure. Antenna design failure on the IP4. They make some good products, but to say they don't make failures is fanboyish.

There's a difference between innovation of a current product and "reinventing", Daniel. But I wouldn't expect your feeble little brain to comprehend that.

Hehe, the difference is that when Apple does it, fans call it "innovation of a current product", but when everybody else does it, its simply "reinventing".

So, a device with practically no on-board storage, everything get's streamed "from the could", but yet the carriers are imposing data caps..
Who exactly designed this device? Apple, or the carriers ?

A zero-storage device like Google's ChromeOS netbook approach would be quite surprising anno 2011. Here in Europe it would have little succes as we still pay hefty prices for data roaming, luckily this is going away progressively.
This leaves a simple option as a way out : an SD slot, just like some Ipad2 rumors mention.
But that strategy could in turn mean loosing customers again... I just paid a mere 23€ on Amazon UK for a 16GB Transcend HDSC Class 10 card I bought for my videocamera.
Bottom line : the true differentiator won't be the storage.

What do i think?
I've got over 150GBs of music. i have no interest in this. i like storage. i hate the new touch screen nano. i just would never be interested in this. just like i'd never be interested in an appletv that can't play 1080p and all the formats of other players.

Wow. The comments from readers on TiPb show they have no vision. This is the perfect phone for people who primarily travel with their MBP/MBA or iPads. Also, if it's carrier agnostic its a double win. 3.5 edge to edge glass, no contracts, free MobileMe, etc. I'd by one day one. My iP4 is a paperweight.

I personally want Apple to implement a 4" screen not to go smaller! With all the video features available and games out now we need a bigger screen not a smaller one!

It would fill a market, some folks don't need all that extra stuff and it will still sync with iTunes. Perfect intermediate phone

I think if Apple is to release a iPhone that is cheaper it will have the same screen resolution as the 3GS with a phone but no 3G data. It will be kind of like an iPod Touch but with a cell phone. You will need WiFi to use data. It could be just another model of the iPod touch line with a cell radio. Maybe that is why they will release it on the iPod cycle. I think the talk of half the size of the iPhone4 must refer to the thickness and getting rid of some of the top and bottom bezel not reducing the usable screen size. And it will not get rid of all the storage but may come with just 8GB and rely on streaming for music. It would be similar to the Apple TV which still has storage but relies on streaming for most content. It will probably stream just like the Apple TV from your computer over WiFi.