The New York Times is reporting that Apple has been exploring ways to broaden the appeal of the iPhone by making the popular device less expensive and allowing users to control it with voice commands. But contrary to published reports, Apple isnot currently developing a smaller iPhone, according to people briefed on Apple's plans who requested anonymity because the plans are confidential. In fact, diTii reported on the rumor twice - based on reports by both Bloomberg and later The Wall Street Journal - which seemed to support the speculation.
NYT cited someone "who is in direct contact with Apple," who stated that the company isn't working on a smaller iPhone "at this time" because a smaller iPhone wouldn't technically be cheaper to produce than the currently sized model. Aside from that, a smaller iPhone would be difficult to operate and would apparently cause developers to rewrite their applications along with other fragmentation issues, which Steve Jobs has always voiced against.
As part of its effort to find new customers for the iPhone, Apple plans to make it easier to operate the device through voice commands, removing an obstacle for people who don't like using a virtual keyboard, said another person with knowledge of Apple's plans.
Apple is also considering changing internal components of the device to bring costs down. "Although the innards of the phone, including memory size or camera quality, could change to offer a less expensive model, the size of the device wouldn't vary," said the person, who has worked on multiple versions of the device.
Another person with knowledge of Apple's plans said that the company was actively building a more versatile version of its MobileMe service, which allows users to store music, photos and files online and have them accessible on all their devices.
The current version of MobileMe, which costs $100 a year, has failed to catch on with consumers. Rivals like Google and others offer similar services free.
The new version of MobileMe is expected to be free and would allow users to synch their files without using a cable.
[tags]iphone nano,virtual keyboard[/tags]