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Apple was developing a “nano iPhone”, reveals an old email from Steve Jobs

Apple was developing a “nano iPhone”, reveals an old email from Steve Jobs

Last year, the iPhone 12 mini was not a great success, a setback for lovers of small smartphones designed for one-handed use. But as anyone who has followed Apple for years knows, former CEO Steve Jobs was an advocate of small phones. Now, thanks to an email written by Jobs in 2010, we know there was a time Apple was working on an “iPhone nano”.

This year, Epic Games and Apple have been engaged in a legal battle over the future of the iPhone app ecosystem. During these legal proceedings, several emails sent within Apple have been made public During the years. Most of the press coverage on these emails so far has focused on various statements from Apple executives denouncing sideloading, but we all already knew the feelings of Apple leaders on this topic.

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Now, however, we’ve learned something about the company’s product plans in an email first discovered and analyzed this week by The Verge. Jobs wrote and sent the email, which shows the agenda for an executive meeting on Apple’s product plans for 2011 in 2010. The email says “iPhone nano plans”, suggesting that Apple was planning an iPhone even smaller than that year’s flagship, the 3.5-inch iPhone 4. The email also appears to suggest that Apple’s chief design officer Jony Ive should have shown a model or rendering of the new device at the meeting.

The changing smartphone market

There were rumors at the time about a potential iPhone nano, so this email appears to confirm those rumors years later. Unfortunately, the email does not include information about the design or features of the device. The name “dwarf” however makes it clear that the phone was supposed to be smaller in size than the iPhone 4. The iPhone 4 was already tiny by today’s standards, with Apple’s iPhone 12 Pro now measuring 6.06 or 6.68 inches. Even the iPhone 12 mini, could be defined as the iPhone nano of 2020 due to the 5.42-inch screen. This proves how much the smartphone landscape has changed in the last decade.

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Today, there are reliable reports that Apple plans to stop selling the iPhone 12 mini, although the lower-end iPhone SE (based on the iPhone 8 design) is likely to remain. The market spoke: flagship one-handed smartphones are now defunct. We are just curious to know if the iPhone nano has been canceled because Jobs already knew at the time where the mobile market was aiming.

Image by Jan Vašek from Pixabay