Since the iPhone first dropped in 2007, people have been making all sorts of predictions about the appearance of an “iPhone Nano” (many going so far as to use the word “confirmed”), but where is it? Nowhere to be seen, despite strongly-worded assertions from the press that an iPhone Nano was a given… confirmed… Apple’s last resort, etc.
The affable and insightful Harry McCracken of Time takes a good, long look at the history of this rumor that refuses to die in a retrospect that spans five years and reviews eleven pronouncements of the iPhone Nano as all but a certainty by some of the biggest, most respected publications on the market. Engadget, ABC News, The Guardian, The Mail, The Financial Times, AppleInsider, Electronista, Bloomburg and BGR (as well as countless others McCracken didn’t single out) have all puffed out their chests and pronounced that the iPhone Nano was as good as confirmed (or, in some cases, actually confirmed) and twisted the tips of their scholarly moustaches as they leaned back awaiting accolades for shrewd industry vision.
Yet, the iPhone Nano hasn’t appeared. Not only has it not appeared, but it has never been hinted at by Apple in any way, shape or form. Additionally, the market doesn’t seem to suggest there’s a need for it: With Apple still selling the iPhone 4 (not S) and the iPad 2, consumers who crave an Apple product can still get a top-quality device without Apple having to scramble to fill a hole, which, frankly, doesn’t seem to exist.
These ongoing pronouncements of an iPhone Nano spring from a persistent, almost reflexive need to predict doom if Apple doesn’t follow the crowd. It happened before the iPhone arrived, and it’s been a nonstop diatribe ever since. The industry itself — not just tech journalism — is victim of this bad habit: How many of Apple’s competition have looked at what Apple doesn’t do, declared “That is their Achilles’ heel where we shall strike”, and then utterly failed on almost every level on which it’s possible to fail? With Apple outstripping the competition’s sales by literally tens of millions (which is saying something considering that not all of Apple’s competitors even break the 1M sales mark with their “iPad/iPhone Killer” products), perhaps it’s time to stop thinking they’re in danger if they don’t mimic the companies that have failed to pose even a modest threat?
I’d suggest to Harry that, for his next article, he write up something about a 7-inch iPad… but I don’t think there’s enough space in a single issue of Time for all the failed predictions of that particular product.