Apple has several sizes and shapes in their line of computers and iPods, but only one size and shape to their phone. Sure, you can get 3G or 3GS with a variety of storage onboard, but the device itself comes with the same processor, same graphics, same screen size, same camera, same ins and outs.
This same-ness has eased developer adoption to be sure. Having a single device to design for means there’s one stream of code, with some tinkering for backward compatibility. It’s also great for the accessory folks. A single physical shape means more consumers available per accessory.
There might be a problem with such a robust device running the iPhone OS. Folks who’ve purchased an iPad might not need the next iPhone. The iPad runs almost all the apps that the iPhone runs, and with the larger screen the apps are often far better. Owning an iPad means that users, like myself, could actually get by with a cheaper, run-of-the-mill mobile phone.
iPad owners might be considering this alternative now that they can do almost anything they loved doing on their iPhone with their iPad. And anything that the iPad cannot do conveniently, like using a Google Map on the go, a cheap, non-iPhone might be capable of.
Enter the iPhone nano, or at least in my mind it should enter. This smaller, cheaper, slightly less functional device would slide nicely into a category designed for the 2 million iPad owners. It would come with a cheaper data plan and far fewer apps. Maybe it would only have Apple apps available initially, like the original iPhone when it first came out. It wouldn’t have any wifi, have just enough touch screen to support SMS, Google Maps, and making a phone call. The email could be dropped, no calendar, barely a clock to speak of and just a hint of iPod music (lest we forget to dance with them that brought us).
Without this device, or something like it, Apple and AT&T run the risk of losing iPad owners to rival device makers and phone networks. Could this be, after a long winning streak, the first mistake Apple makes?