Apple Closing out 4 Potential iPhone Gaps?

A veritable avalanche of Apple rumors this week (curiously timed with the huge MWC cellphone show in Barcelona which Apple didn’t attend), and if the rumors are to be believed Apple might be closing 4 key gaps with the iPhone experience.

Rumor 1

iPhone Nano, and if this mockup from Boy Genius Report is believed, the iPhone Nano will keep the current screen size. This cheaper iPhone could allow carriers to offer a free iPhone with 2 year contract. Some rumors that the device might be devoid of internal storage, but why keep the current screen size to allow for the full spectrum of apps and games and then not have internal storage. Now MoD can see it limited to 4 GB or 8 GB, but the device will be able to store apps and games.

Rumor 2

Bigger screen iPhone. From Digitimes, there are now rumors of a 4 inch screen iPhone 5  being readied for production this summer. And if the Nano rumor is true, then upgrading the screen size on the regular iPhone is a necessity from a feature pricing standpoint. It also erases any advantage in screen size that the high end Android devices might have. A 4 inch screen is becoming standard on high end Android phones that are being introduced in waves in Barcelona this week. Here’s an image from 9 to 5 Mac of what a big screen iPhone would look like

Rumor 3

Going to combine several rumors into one big rumor – Apple gets serious about Cloud computing. First, Apple is rumored to make MobileMe free which makes total sense. MobileMe really adds to the iPhone experience, and tying all those iPhone users to a @me.com seems like a huge asset to Apple. Syncing calendars, email, and contacts plus Find My iPhone with the security features it provides for free gives Apple a powerful feature to promote. Second, Apple is rumored to make your iTunes library available via streaming. Now this would help a number of Apple devices save space by making music/videos available in the cloud. MoD thinks some folks are getting this issue confused. Customers won’t be uploading their iTunes library to the Cloud. More likely is that customers will upload an index file of their iTunes purchases which will then be available via streaming. Apple’s super server facility will provide all those streaming feeds, not gigs of storage space. In addition, Apple will then also do wireless syncing back to you Mac for media purchases made on your iDevices. Also, look for Apple to improve the file syncing experience of MobileMe to match or surpass the user experience offered by leaders like DropBox or Box.net. Both the iPad and iPhone for working with business files could really use a more friendly experience than the one offered by iTunes or the current iDisk applications.

Rumor 4

Now this final story seems the least possible, but there’s a practical element to it. An iPhone with a slide out keyboard.  Appleinsider is now relaying a story from a Taiwanese Apple Blog that there are iPhone 5 prototypes being tested with sliding keyboards. Now Steve has mocked physical keyboards since the iPhone launched (he also mocked the idea of watching video on the iPod) and the iPhone’s virtual keyboard is still considered a best in class approach. But just like after a few years you offer a hot sportscar/convertible in Automatic as well as Manual, it comes to a point where you need to maximize your marketshare by increasing your offerings. Apple did this with the iPod, and the iPhone business is much more important. Adding a physical keyboard to an iPhone model might be Apple’s final death blow attack to RIM. That device might even challenge the faith of the most diehard RIM users. Also, Apple seems intent if the other 3 rumors are right to attack the Android platform, so offering a keyboard phone would eliminate another feature safe haven for Android devices. Apple could probably add a reasonable markup on the device to justify the complexity in design, development, and logistics. Apple could even offer the keyboard slider as an exclusive to one carrier, more than likely Verizon in the US.

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