The Chinese-language Economic Daily News reported that the Taiwanese companies likely to manufacture the device and/or provide components for it are nearly finished bidding on a large contract with Apple.
The companies involved, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC), would be responsible for contributing chips.
DigiTimes says of the Economic Daily News report, "According to the paper, the chip orders may come in March and the launch of Apple's iPhone nano is expected to take place in June this year at the earliest."
Many factors will play a role in the debut of such a product, including when the bidding process for this contract ends, and when Apple decides to pull the trigger on manufacturing such a product.
Two weeks ago, we heard from analyst Craig Berger. An excerpt from a note he issued to clients says, "We have incremental checks into the Apple supply chain. First, we see several new Apple products coming in 1H09. Our contacts see a lower-cost version of the iPhone, possibly in mid 2Q. Apparently, Qualcomm is replacing Infineon as the baseband supplier in this device. Some call this device the 'iPhone Nano'; whatever one calls it, we believe this device is on its way."
So there you have it. Perhaps the first real shred of evidence that Apple may be bringing an alternate form of the iPhone to market.