Kevin Chang reaches this conclusion after taking a look at a recent Apple patent filing. Chang seems to think that if Apple released a cheap iPhone – and man, it would have to be super cheap to be in Nano territory – potential Nano customers would favour it over a music-only device.
This is way too big a leap in logic for my poor little brain to accept. Let’s look at it from the customer’s perspective.
Chang’s assumption hinges on the behaviour of an iPod shopper:
You want to replace your existing MP3 player or are jumping into the portable player game for the first time. You could buy a 4gb Nano for around $200 and get all the benefits of this best-in-class device, or, you could opt for a $300 NanoPhone which is all that, plus a cellphone. Of course, if you fork out the extra $100 bucks for the NanoPhone, you’re also committing to a wireless carrier, possibly being locked into a contract, ditching your existing phone, and having to remind yourself not to play your music until the battery dies otherwise you can’t make or receive calls.
The caveats that come with buying a phone are extensive and often require some deliberation on the part of the consumer. Buying an MP3 device is a much easier purchase, and with the possible exception of the iTunes restriction (which is hardly a restriction these days) comes without any worries around monthly expenses, talk-time packages, mobility carrier etc.
I don’t think Apple has to fret over keeping the Nano in their stable while at the same time bringing a cheaper iPhone to market. The audiences for these devices remain distinct in their needs and buying habits.
Care to offer a different opinion?
Update: Looks like even Kevin Chang’s chums at JP Morgan think he’s off the mark on this one.