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8/14/2009
09:32 AM
Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
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Apple Applies For Patent On Miniaturizing Phone

We could be seeing an iPhone Nano in the future if the new patent application by Apple is anything to go by. Much of the appeal of the current iPhone is the rich functionality that the large screen allows. Could Apple repeat that success with a phone with a much smaller screen?

We could be seeing an iPhone Nano in the future if the new patent application by Apple is anything to go by. Much of the appeal of the current iPhone is the rich functionality that the large screen allows. Could Apple repeat that success with a phone with a much smaller screen?MacNN has uncovered the patent application from Apple entitled "Embedded die system and method" complete with some sketches of some core components, though nothing of what a finished phone might look like.

The patent states "...it may be desirable to miniaturize electronic devices. More particularly, it may be advantageous to miniaturize electronic devices without sacrificing functionality."

I wonder though how you could have a materially smaller screen and still retain the functionality of the current iPhone. I would think at a minimum you'd need some sort of slide-out keyboard. Shrinking the existing virtual QWERTY keyboard on the iPhone too much would seem to seriously hamper its functionality.

Battery life shouldn't be a big deal though. Yes, a smaller phone has a smaller battery, but it is also powering a smaller screen.

Apple does need to move on a new form factor. The current iPhone is virtually identical to the iPhone first introduced in 2007, and the single largest complaint about the form factor is a lack of a physical keyboard. The iPhone is beautiful device, but it is nice to see concrete evidence that Apple is thinking about different designs.

For the engineers reading this, you can read the full patent application at the US Patent Office site.

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