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No small iPhone 5, says mole

Sources spin and counter-spin

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Apple isn't working on a smaller iPhone, contrary to previous rumours, but it is trying to make the handset less expensive.

So claim the inevitable unnamed sources "briefed on Apple’s plans" - our assumption would be Apple PR people speaking off the record, but that is just an assumption - who spoke to the New York Times.

Why, though, trust one unnamed mole and not another?

The previous whispers from the shadows had it that Apple is not only working on a smaller iPhone, to accompany the standard-sized model, but also that it might use software Sim technology to make roaming and network swapping easy.

Apple's problem is not, however, a matter of size, but the scope of the market it can address. Going smaller might help, but not half as much as simply making a less expensive handset. It's largely lower prices that's driving the Android smartphone market, for instance, not technological or design leadership.

Apple has tried this low-cost phone approach. It currently offers the iPhone 3GS as a cut-price alternative to the iPhone 4, but since most iPhone owners want the latest model, a better approach might be to offer parallel versions of a future iPhone, one pared back for buyers on a budget, the other offering more features to punters with cash to flash.

Says the NYT mole: a smaller-screen iPhone would force developers to rewrite apps.

Nonsense, provided Apple retains the 480 x 320 resolution of the original iPhone - more likely with a smaller display than the iPhone 4's 960 x 480. For apps that lack 960 x 480 graphic files, scaling the down would be a doddle for the phone's OS.

Of course, Apple may simply choose not to enter the budget market, preferring to position its offering as a superior, high-end offering. A lower cost offering would still boost its sales.

We should find out the truth in June, the month Apple traditionally announces iPhone updates. ®

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