As discovered by the Verge, it seems that Apple was indeed considering a smaller and more pocket-friendly iPhone model. The device never saw the light of day but thanks to the ongoing legal proceedings in the Epic Vs Apple case, a treasure trove of internal Apple documents have come to light.
An email from Steve Jobs dated October 24th, 2010 contains references to the device. The email in question looks to be a meeting agenda. One of the bullet points in the agenda makes mention of the “iPhone nano plan”. Furthermore, the email indicates that Jony Ive was set to present some sort of model or render of the product. The intention being to offer a low-cost replacement that would supplant the iPhone 3GS.
In more recent times, the closest equivalent we’ve had to a smaller and low cost iPhone is the iPhone SE. But it sounds like this iPhone nano was intended to be smaller even than the iPhone’s of old with a 3.5 inch display. I imagine it would have been quite tricky to design such a product with an even smaller display class. Not least because of the additional work it would have created for developers.
We’ll likely never know how far this project progressed. Apple tests various prototypes and brainstorms all kinds of products that never see the light of day. The email in question is dated around 1 year before Steve’s tragic and untimely death. Who knows what might have happened had he still been alive and well.
You can read the full email below.
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