Apple Working on Smaller, Cheaper iPhone for Release this Summer

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Apple is going to release a version of the iPhone that’s about half the size of the current one, according to an unconfirmed report by the Wall Street Journal. This upcoming model will supposedly sell for half the price, too.

In addition, this same source says that Apple might stop charging for its MobileMe service.

An iPhone Mini
For many years, Apple has offered a very limited selection of smartphones. All four of its models so far have had the same size screen and no physical keyboard. In the not too distant future, however, this company is apparently going to offer a little bit more choice.

Citing unnamed sources, the WSJ says Apple is working on a model that is half the size of the current iPhone 4. It will supposedly have a screen that covers its entire front, without a bezel.

The current iPhone starts at $200 with a two-year wireless service contract, though AT&T also offers last-year’s model for just $50. The miniature version could sell for $100, or even less, with a contract.

The source for this report said this summer is the scheduled time for Apple to release this device, which some are calling the “iPhone Mini”. The company is also expected to release the iPhone 5 this summer.

The new smaller version will be sold alongside the company’s full-size one, not as a replacement. At this point, it’s not clear if both AT&T and Verizon will offer it.

Generally speaking, the WSJ  has a very good track record when it comes to unconfirmed reports.

Not for the First Time
This isn’t the first time that an inside source has claimed that Apple is working on a smaller version of the iPhone. Rumors of such a device have been around for years.

The last time reports of the so-called iPhone Mini came to the surface was in late 2009, when sources at Taiwanese component makers said the device will have a 2.8-inch display. All previous phones from Apple have had 3.5-inch touchscreens.

MobileMe Could Become Free
A smaller iPhone might not be the only change on Apple’s docket. Sources at the company have also told the WSJ that the MobileMe service might become free.

Currently, Apple asks $100 a year to use this online service, which lets users synchronize their emails, contacts, and calendars, not only with their iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, but also with a Mac or Windows computer.

Part of this move will supposedly be the introduction of a cloud-based music service. This will allow users to play the songs they have in iTunes on their desktop, freeing users from having to store the music on their smartphone.

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