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Is an iPhone Nano Without Memory a Good Idea?

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Okay, I told you yesterday the iPhone rumours would be coming in fast and furious, and they have as promised. The WSJ reported from ‘sources’ that a smaller iPhone is coming, roughly half the size of the iPhone 4, along with a revamped MobileMe service for streaming multimedia.

Today, Cult of Mac reports that their ‘source’ has dropped a huge bomb on them–the iPhone Nano will not have any onboard memory at all.

By “some” of the memory, we mean ALL of the memory. The iPhone nano will have no memory for onboard storage of media, our source says. It will have only enough memory to buffer media streamed from the cloud.

“I’m talking strictly storage memory here,” said our source.

The iPhone nano will pull ALL it’s content from MobileMe. When users buy a movie or TV show on iTunes, it’s available to stream to their iPhone or iPad. The service is based on technology from LaLa.com, a streaming service that Apple bought last spring and then shut down.

“It would be a mostly cloud-based iOS,” said our source.

I agree that cost cutting by eliminating memory is a great idea. But to rely strictly only the cloud for storage means that users will have to change the way they use their device. Want to download apps or listen to music? You’re going to need wifi or data. Is Apple planning on eliminating involvement with carriers altogether by introducing a phone that does not need a data plan?

If anyone has taken their iPhone out of the country, you know what I’m talking about. With data roaming OFF by default, an iPhone without connectivity and relying on WiFi will make anyone jitter and nervous like a drug addict. It’s not easy always trying to find a free hotspot to check email. Will the iPhone Nano fall into this category?

If Apple’s plan is to introduce an iPhone that will have limited internal memory like the second generation Apple TV, how will users react to this? Our current generation is always on and connected. No memory for music, pictures, or apps and just relying on the cloud is a tough pill to swallow.

Lastly, no one seems to mention the carrier infrastructure to support this. FaceTime and VoIP calls over 3G are difficult enough–what about cloud support for your entire multimedia collection?

Apple will not release a product that would qualify as a ‘dumbphone’. The iPhone Nano surely will have reduced internal memory, but to rely solely on the cloud is something we are not ready for yet. Cloud access to your iTunes existing iTunes collection–yes. People want instant access to their stuff, without reliance on being connected.

What do you think? Is an iPhone Nano without memory a good or bad idea?

[Cult of Mac, Mock up: 9to5Mac via DorianDarko]

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  • Wuju

    Bad idea, I would not depend on cloud for all my storage. even if data is unlimited. Too slow and has too many variable like signal not strong enough in subway, underground, remote area, etc.

  • ward09

    While a phone with no internal storage is not for me, who am I to say what other people are looking for. I also think it’s cool that they are always innovating and trying to stay ahead of their competition. In any case, whatever Apple is working on, you know they will test the crap out of it, and not just the hardware itself – they have almost bottomless resources for focus-testing and marketing.

  • TK

    What happens with Multi Tasking then?

  • Anonymous

    No doubt that this is where the future is heading, but at this point it is waaaaay to premature to be predicting it for the next iPhone. Firstly, let’s get the CRTC to let us have unlimited internet, secondly, let’s get the telecoms to stop charging us exuberant amounts for data. After we achieve that, then we can see if Apple is willing to host my 2TB of media and stream it to me anywhere in the world.

    I think the idea of cloud based storage is a great one, but tech wise we just aren’t there yet.

  • Pommelgaie

    I think in theory it’s a great idea. But with the price carriers charge for data there is no way a phone that need to be constantly connected to the Internet is feasible. Just to listen to music would cost a fortune!

  • Zillypaul

    I think probably the ‘source’ will turn out to be wrong

  • david

    If you asked me PRE 3rd party multi-tasking I would have said no.. but assuming it has basic storage for OS and apps I think it is possible… I don’t store video, I use netflix now and I find I use Slacker radio or Tunein vs local music more often then not.

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  • I can’t see this saving money, memory is cheap, and while they may want it to be more reliant on cloud computing, having the same or even more won’t change that. If it came with free access, like kindles free data, at least for the cloud access, then it would work. And i agree with the infrastructure not being there for a pure cloud system.

  • I can’t see this saving money, memory is cheap, and while they may want it to be more reliant on cloud computing, having the same or even more won’t change that. If it came with free access, like kindles free data, at least for the cloud access, then it would work. And i agree with the infrastructure not being there for a pure cloud system.

  • Anonymous

    Of course not, it’s a horrible idea. It’ll just further fragment iOS.

  • Cyrus

    I am not againist the cloud. But, I dont like the idea of having the whole thing without memory.

    Include memory 4gb or something for music, apps and etc. And then rely on the cloud for movie rentals and large bandwidth using files which can be used in wifi or 3g.

  • Frankie

    Bad idea, at least for the next 3-4 years. Unless Apple gives the user the option for memory add-on, say by adding an optional micro SD port for memory .

  • Bndover

    I think the rumor holds water. Cheap mobile bandwidth (4G) and digital rights that are cross-device are the two ingredients needed to make this feasible, and both will be in market by the end of 2011.

  • Laura

    And what’s up with the camera?
    Apple was excited to introduce FaceTime and now they’re taking it off?
    I think this is just fake.

  • Kirk Armstrong

    This concept is soo bad it’s not even funny.

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