Money Hanging on ClotheslineRecent rumors suggesting that Apple was planning to release a smaller, less expensive iPhone model—dubbed the “iPhone nano”—don’t appear to be true, at least according to a new report. Apple is said to be exploring making a less-expensive iPhone model, but it won’t be making a significantly smaller device to achieve that goal.

Sources speaking to The New York Times said that Apple won’t shrink the iPhone “anytime soon” in order to offer a less expensive model. One source in particular noted that simply shrinking the iPhone wouldn’t necessarily make it less expensive. Historically, making a device with the same functionality significantly smaller often costs more (in the short term), not less, and the source suggested that little or no savings in manufacturing costs would be realized by building an “iPhone nano.”

A smaller screen size would also necessitate additional work on the part of developers to account for changes in user interaction. While the iPhone 4 has an increased resolution compared to older iPhone (and iPod touch) models, the physical size is the same. Developers take into account the specific screen size and area when determining placement and spacing of buttons and other interface objects; a different size requires a rethinking of the interface design and could significantly impact usability. Having a consistent screen size is seen as one of the iPhone’s benefits compared other platforms.

Instead of making a tinier device, Apple is exploring ways to reduce the cost of an entry-level iPhone by changing internal components. Apple could use less NAND flash memory, a lower-resolution camera sensor, or other cost-saving measures, an anonymous source who claimed to have worked on multiple iPhone prototypes told the Times.

“Although the innards of the phone, including memory size or camera quality, could change to offer a less expensive model, the size of the device would not vary,” the source said.

The “N97″ codename cited in previous rumors as that of a purported iPhone nano was apparently the code name of the CDMA-compatible iPhone 4 release earlier this month, according to the report. There’s some question as to the validity of this source’s knowledge, however, as developer Steven Troughton-Smith verified that the code name for the Verizon iPhone is “N92″ as we previously reported last year.

N97 is very likely a prototype device—for instance, an early prototype of the iPhone 4 was codenamed N89, but the released product is referred to as N90. It could indeed be a prototype that is smaller in size compared to current iPhone models, as a source for a Wall Street Journal report who claimed to have seen it said. It’s perfectly possible for Apple to be experimenting in the labs without immediate plans to release such a product.

Sources for NYT did corroborate that Apple is working on advanced voice control for iOS devices, as reported in previous rumors, and that MobileMe is expected to receive a significant upgrade in the near future to enable syncing more types of content “without a cable,” and could be made free to better compete with services offered by Google.

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iPhone nanoApple is in the process of building at least one new model of the iPhone that would be cheaper and about one-third smaller than the current iPhone 4, according to a new report.

Bloomberg, citing “people who have been briefed on the plans,” says Apple is considering launching a series of inexpensive phones as a way to counter the growth of Google Android. Apple is considering selling one of these devices for $200 without a two-year contract. The 16 GB iPhone 4 costs $599 without a service contract.

The device is supposedly “about one-third smaller than the iPhone 4?, according to one of Bloomberg‘s sources. The source supposedly saw the device sometime last year, so even if it is true, a lot could have changed.

Apple is also reportedly working on Universal SIM technology and dual-mode phones that can work on both CDMA and GSM networks. Neither of these reports surprise us. Apple has chosen Qualcomm to deliver chips that work on both networks. In fact, the Verizon iPhone could potentially work on both networks, since it uses a dual-mode Qualcomm chip.

Apple has also been interested in creating a SIM that would let users switch between networks. However, pressure from the networks could easily nix those plans.

A smaller version of the iPhone, one with older components and a smaller screen to keep the price down, would have to run iOS without compromising the integrity of the user experience. Apple has done this before in other markets (think about the iPod Nano), but Apple already sells a cheaper iPhone: the iPhone 3GS, available for $50 with a contract.

An “iPhone mini” or “iPhone nano” would be an interesting play, but like many projects at the company, it could be scrapped long before it sees the light of day.

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Holidays-iPhone Apps for Creating Expense ReportsIt’s that time of year. We just wrapped up the holiday festivities, which were full of buying employee gifts and taking clients out for holiday celebrations. The accounting department wants everyone to submit their expenses before year-end. We can’t procrastinate any longer. Besides, getting our expense reports submitted means some extra money for the holiday season.

But I think we can all agree that expense reports are possibly the last thing any of us want to be doing at this time of year (or any time of year, for that matter).

Luckily, there are plenty of mobile apps that make it easier to track and submit expense reports. Here are seven handy apps specific to the iPhone.


1. Expensify


Expensify (free) offers the ability to create photo receipts and iPhone expense reports, and it integrates with Expensify’s website for instant reimbursement. It also can connect with QuickBooks. Great for people who travel and want to record expenses as they are incurred.


2. Fresh Xpense Capture


Fresh Xpense Capture (free) allows you to record your expenses (including photo receipts) as they occur. Expenses can be submitted using a variety of different formats such as SMS, IM, Twitter and e-mail. They are stored on the Xpenser website (sign up is free), where they can be imported to Excel, Quicken or MS Money.


3. Out of Pocket


Out of Pocket ($1.99) allows you to record your out-of-pocket expenses including photo receipts. Then you can export your expenses to FreeAgent or IRIS OpenBooks (optional). Out of Pocket also provides search capabilities, for those times when you’re trying to remember a date or expense description.


4. Shoeboxed Receipt Tracker


After you snap a photo of your receipt, Shoeboxed Receipt Tracker (free) automatically enters the date, total, payment type and category. It generates expense reports that can be sent from your iPhone as well as exported to QuickBooks and Quicken.

Shoeboxed also provides a fee-based service that enables you to mail in receipts (and other documents) to be scanned and uploaded to your online Shoeboxed.com account.


5. ProOnGo Expense


ProOnGo Expense (free) allows you to not only track receipt and mileage expenses, but it also enables you to time expenses. This is very useful for consultants or professionals that operate on a billable hour basis. ProOnGo also integrates with Quickbooks. For an extra cost, a receipt reader service is available.


6. JetSet Expenses


Another app that offers billable expense recording is JetSet Expenses (currently on sale for $4.99). It allows tracking of billable expenses, reimbursable expenses and non-reimbursable expenses. JetSet focuses on business travelers by offering international settings along with airline, hotel and rental car databases.


7. iReceipt


Don’t need a bunch of fancy options? iReceipt ($1.99) provides a simple, basic service. Record your expense details or take a photo of your paper receipt. Then e-mail yourself a text-generated expense report.

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Samsung Flipper Mobile a "Dumbphone"At the recent New York Tech Meetup (a monthly event where 700+ geeks preview new technologies), some students from Brown University demonstrated a game where people in the audience could use their phones to battle each other in a real-time tank warfare game. The game was projected on the venue’s giant theater screen. It was not a game for iPhone or Android. The game could have been played on a payphone: Players dialed in and controlled their tanks using touch tone numbers on their keypads. The demo was awesome, even without a fancy touch screen.

News websites and tech blogs are brimming with stories about iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, and dozens more smartphone varieties. Apple just topped 300,000 apps, and worldwide smartphone sales grew 50% in the past year.

But the non-smartphone industry (“dumbphones,” as some call the handsets), has kept pace with some fresh innovation of its own. New York-based group-texting startup GroupMe just raised $850,000 from high profile investors like First Round Capital (Mint, StumbleUpon) and Betaworks (Bit.ly, TweetDeck). Other dumbphone-friendly startups like Snaptu and Fast Society are making waves, and mobile donation platforms that cater to non-smartphones are skyrocketing in popularity.

Given the meteoric rise of the smartphone, why would anyone invest in dumbphones right now? For one, “dumbphone” is probably a misnomer; the real market for mobile innovation includes phones of all IQs. Here are four reasons why the “everyphone” space is bursting with potential.


1. Market Penetration


ushahidi image

People bought nearly 62 million smartphones in the second quarter of 2010 (according to Gartner research). But compared to the 264 million new “dumbphones” sold in the same quarter, all those iPhones, Androids, and BlackBerrys are just a drop in the bucket.

“The latest figures suggest that some 90% of the world’s population now has access to a mobile phone,” says Patrick Meier, a director at the crisis-mapping non-profit Ushahidi, which tracks human rights violations around the world by allowing people to report via SMS, Twitter, and even landlines. “We are designing the Ushahidi platform in such a way that there is no single point of failure.” By catering to the lowest common denominator in mobile communication, Ushahidi has been able to respond to disaster and violence situations from Haiti to Kenya, and beyond.

Dumbphones rule the developing world, and at current growth rates, it will be years before smartphones outpace the rest of the market worldwide. The limiting factor isn’t price, but rather the availability of mobile broadband. The lack of 3G broadband in developing countries will keep dumbphones on the map for a long time. Although smartphone sales are growing at double digit rates –- we noted 36% in the U.S. earlier this year –- smartphones won’t be as popular as regular phones in the U.S. until Q4 2011 or Q1 2012, according to Nielsen.


2. You Can Build Apps for Non-Smartphones


Don’t think that smartphones are the only mobile devices that let you check Facebook. Mobile startup Snaptu, as well as Microsoft’s OneApp, provide software that let feature phones access popular apps like instant messengers, social networks, feed readers, news and sports updates. Companies can build apps and port them to dumbphone platforms, or even develop cloud apps based on SMS.

Twilio, for example, provides tools to build apps for SMS or voice, and allows the code reside in the cloud so less capable phones can access it.


3. SMS Doesn’t Go Away When You Upgrade


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“I think we are going to see a lot of amazing things happening in the SMS space,” says Matthew Rosenberg, co-founder of Fast Society, which recently launched an app that allows users to throw together temporary groups for parties or events of any kind, with instant conference calling and group texting. Since Fast Society is based on SMS, it works on any phone — dumb or smart.

“People are people, and we wanted everyone to be able to come party,” Rosenberg says. “Why exclude anyone?”

Mobile donations are another area that could have been limited to a smartphone app, but by using SMS, organizations like the Red Cross have been able to raise millions for charity.

“Done correctly, mobile giving has the potential to raise [organization]-transforming amounts of money for a cause,” says Jim Manis, chairman and CEO of the Mobile Giving Foundation, which provided the technology for the more than $43 million donated via mobile during the January 2010 Haiti earthquake. “It has the ability to acquire and engage new, younger donors and at response rates higher than other channels.”

Companies like Venmo (slogan: “Text money to anyone with a phone”) are evidence that SMS-based payment for everyday goods and services is on the rise as well.

The model for this new wave of mobile innovators is to build apps and phones that work for everyone, but to include advanced features for those with more capable phones.

“We start on SMS as our fundamental building block, but we’re already building the layers on top of it,” says Jared Hecht, co-founder of GroupMe. “Data, location, planning, group buying — these are all things that necessitate a smartphone.”

He continues, “The best thing about [what we’re doing] is you only need one person in your group to have a smartphone, or be smartphone savvy, to utilize these tools [and] to make them effective for the whole group.”


4. There’s Money on the Table


There are more than 4.6 billion mobile phones in the world, and there is at least half a decade or more until dumbphones stop being relevant. That means billions of dollars are on the table for innovators in the feature phone space.

The future of mobile is here, and it’s even in the phones you’d least expect. “For years, people have been saying that mobile is right around the corner,” says Hecht. “That’s not the case anymore… It’s an exciting time to be here.”

Marketing to the lowest tech denominator isn’t shortsighted in the case of mobile devices; it’s grabbing more of the market. Even as the dumbphone market shrinks, clever companies with useful apps should be able to keep their converts no matter what phone they upgrade to.

[Via Mashable]

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Google Earth for iPhoneGet things done faster and more efficiently with an iPhone lifestyle app. These apps can organize your shopping, remember birthdays, find cheap gas or inspire you with thoughtful quotes and mantras. There are thousands of iPhone lifestyle apps on the app store but we’ve tried to come up with the best ones that are free too. Check out the top twelve free iPhone lifestyle apps below.

Google Earth

Free

Google Earth for iPhone iconIt’s, like, the entire world…on your iPhone. Google Earth is cooler than ever when you’re using your fingers to manipulate it, seamlessly zooming around the globe and diving into various places to take a closer look. Free.

Google Mobile

Free

Top 12 iPhone Lifestyle appsYeah, there’s no two ways about it: you have to have Google’s Swiss Army Knife app on your iPhone. Search the internet by voice, location, or now, with the recent addition of Google goggles, by picture. Free.

Yelp

Free

Top 12 iPhone Lifestyle apps

Everyone’s a critic when it comes to bars and restaurants; Yelp puts that impulse to work for you. Search for food, drink, or whatever else by location, price, style and then read up on what people have to say about it. Free.

Wikipanion

Free, $5 for Wikipanion Plus

Top 12 iPhone Lifestyle apps

If you aren’t using your iPhone to settle petty disputes, what’s the point? Wikipanion gives you iPhone-optimized access to all of Wikipedia, that great argument-ending resource, with added features like bookmarking, quick wikitionary lookup, intelligent search and more. Free, $5 for Wikipanion Plus.

AppShopper

Free

Top 12 iPhone Lifestyle appsAside from the shiny facade of the “featured apps” front page, Apple’s App Store is not easy to navigate. AppShopper delivers some sanity to the process, allowing you to easily check out new apps, create wishlists of ones you want, and get alerted when those apps go on sale. Free.

Amazon Mobile

Free

Top 12 iPhone Lifestyle appsAmazon Mobile does an admirable job of shrinking the shopping behemoth that is Amazon.com down into iPhone-friendly form. It recently picked up the ability to scan barcodes, which means that whenever you’re out there shopping in the real world (gross) you can easily check back to see if you can get a better deal on Amazon. You probably can. Free.

MenuPages

Free

Top 12 iPhone Lifestyle apps

If you live in New York, San Fran, LA, Philly, Boston, Chicago, DC, or South Florida and you like food, Menu Pages should be part of your arsenal. It has full menus for an impressive roster of restaurants, so you’ll be able to know what you want before you even get there. Free.

Layar

Free

Top 12 iPhone Lifestyle apps

Augmented reality is often cooler in theory than it is in practice. Layar’s one of the few places where you can peer into the future and see how this whole AR thing might actually amount to something. Free.

OpenTable

Free

Top 12 iPhone Lifestyle apps

Easily make reservations at some 14,000 restaurants which you can search by name or location. Just remember to put down your phone while you’re actually dining. Free.

Weatherbug

Free withads, $1 for Weatherbug Lite

Top 12 iPhone Lifestyle apps

It may not be as cute as some of the competitors, but who ever said weather should be. Weatherbug gets down to business with forecasts, maps, and video, doing so reliably and straightforwardly. Free with ads, $1 for Weatherbug Elite.

Epicurious

Free

Top 12 iPhone Lifestyle apps

A food app with a bit more context than How To Cook Everything—it lets you find recipes based on what’s in season, create interactive shopping lists, etc.—it is well designed and packed with utility. Free.

Adobe Photoshop Express

Free

Top 12 iPhone Lifestyle apps

It’s not the powerhouse that the desktop version is, but for basic edits like crop, straighten, rotate and simple tweaks like changing exposure, saturation, and tint, this stripped down Photoshop does the trick. Free.

[Via Gizmodo]

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Dropbox for iPhoneThe smartphones especially the iPhone is traditionally considered to be a distraction and . However, there are some iPhone apps that let you enhance your productivity. We’ve tested a host of different apps available from the app store and come out with the top five free iPhone productivity apps  you can’t go without.

Instapaper

Free with ads, or $5

Top 5 Free iPhone Productivity apps Perhaps the most universally loved of all iPhone apps, Instapaper, in conjunction with a bookmarklet on your PC, strips websites of all that crap and leaves just the text, synced to your iPhone and pristinely awaiting your eyeballs.

Simplenote

Free

Top 5 Free iPhone Productivity appsIt takes notes, simply. That’s a good thing! Without any whiz-bang features for tagging or appending images, SimpleNote just lets you jot things down and, crucially, keeps them flawlessly in sync with the app’s website, a client (like Notational Velocity, for Mac), and its iPad app. Total note nirvana.

Dropbox

Free

Top 5 Free iPhone Productivity apps

Dropbox is like the SimpleNote of files—seamless, effortless syncing across as many machines as you want. And with the slick native Dropbox app, you can count your iPhone among those machines. Check out documents and photos, attach them to emails, export them to other apps, all with the cloud as your safety net.

BoxCar

Free

Top 5 Free iPhone Productivity apps

Most apps, if they send you push notifications at all, do so on their own terms. Boxcar lets you pipe in notifications for all aspects of Facebook, Twitter, and email for the unbeatable price of free.

Kayak

Free

Top 5 Free iPhone Productivity apps

Sometimes it seems like the internet can make traveling more of a hassle, what with all the different rates to sort through and confirmation numbers to manage. Kayak actually makes the process easier—from booking your flights and hotels to organizing your itinerary.

[Via Gizmodo]

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Angry Birds for iPhoneTraditionally, I didn’t like playing games on my phone. However, with iPhone’s amazing capacitive touchscreen, you can’t resist procrastinating by playing Angry Birds on the iPhone. While the app store is full of colourful and joyous games, we’ve selected the top seven games to save you some time researching.

Angry Birds

Price: $1

Top 7 iPhone Games

Probably the world’s most popular iPhone game, and for good reason. There’s something about launching these different sorts of aviary ammunition into the precarious pig pens that just never gets old. There are always new birds and new stages coming out the pipeline to keep things fresh, too.

The Incident

Price: $2

Top 7 iPhone Games

With excellent pixel art and an admirably morbid sense of humor, twisting your iPhone around to avoid falling objects is way more fun than it sounds. And you have to appreciate anything that makes the apocalypse this enjoyable.

Cut the Rope

Price: $1

Top 7 iPhone Games

Some have called it the heir apparent to Angry Birds for quick, clever, doesn’t-really-ever-get-boring iPhone gameplay—lofty praise, but in many ways deserved! Cutting a rope to swing a candy into a little monsters mouth, avoiding electrical currents and spiders along the way, is quite fun.

Real Racing

Price: $5

Top 7 iPhone Games

It’s just the best racing game out, walking the tightrope between looking highly realistic and being incredibly fun to play. There’s a good selection of cars and tracks and the graphics look wonderful.

Archetype

Price: $1

Top 7 iPhone Games

An exceptionally shiny first person shooter optimized for the iPhone 4, with slick, functional controls. Best of all is the 5 v 5 team deathmatch mode, which is just like the multiplayer action you’re used to on the consoles-including multiple guns, grenades, maps, and medals-except this one you play while you’re sitting on the toilet. $1 (map updates cost extra).

Doodle Jump

Price: $1

Top 7 iPhone Games

You know those people you see standing on the subway or waiting in line at the grocery store clutching their iPhone to their face and tilting their entire body to the side like they’re the leaning tower of Pisa? This is the game they’re playing.

Words With Friends

Free with ads, or $3

Gizmodo's Essential iPhone Apps, October 2010

Why did we, as an iPhone-wielding society, suddenly decide that push-notified Scrabble (or, more specifically, this knock-off) was the most fun to be had with words since Alphabet Soup? That I don’t know. But it is a hell of a lot of fun trying to slot that Triple Word Score against friends, family, and coworkers.

[Via Gizmodo]

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