Is Apple gearing up for the iPhone nano?

January 2, 2009 By Benjamin Pimentel

Apple Inc. may be gearing up to introduce cheaper iPhone and MacBook models in 2009, possibly including a device dubbed the iPhone nano, an analyst said Wednesday.

Judging by checks with Apple suppliers, it appears the Cupertino, Calif.-based computer maker may be getting ready to introduce "a lower-cost version" of the popular iPhone, according to Craig Berger, an analyst with Friedman, Billings, Ramsey & Co.

"Some call this device the iPhone nano," Berger wrote in a research note. "Whatever one calls it, we believe this device is on its way."

Shares of Apple fell 1.1 percent to close at $85.35.

Berger added he's also expecting "a new and smaller version of the iPod shuffle," possibly in the middle of the first quarter and a cheaper MacBook notebook, although he noted, "We do not believe this PC will qualify as a netbook."

Berger said he doesn't expect the products to be ready in time for a rollout at the Macworld expo next week.

Officials at Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple could not immediately be reached for comment.

Analyst Roger Kay of Endpoint Technologies Associates said offering lower-cost products "would certainly help volume" in a time of weaker demand.

He also noted that, while it is hard to know if Berger is right about Apple's plans, the potential for information leaks at the tech giant has grown.

"Since the company began working with a wider range of suppliers, its information embargo is more difficult to keep," Kay said. "Doesn't mean this guy has the scoop, but the likelihood is greater."

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Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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