Smaller iPhone

It all started on Valentine’s Day. Yukari Iwatani Kane and Ethan Smith at The Wall Street Journal reported a Smaller iPhone sighting:

One of the people, who saw a prototype of the phone late last year, said it is intended for sale alongside Apple’s existing line. The new device would be about half the size of the iPhone 4, which is the current model.

Then Miguel Helft and Nick Bilton at The New York Times weighed in:

But contrary to published reports, Apple is not currently developing a smaller iPhone, according to people briefed on Apple’s plans who requested anonymity because the plans are confidential.

But then here’s something that got my head scratching:

More important, a phone with a smaller screen would force many developers to rewrite their apps, which Apple wants to avoid, the person said.

And John Gruber at Daring Fireball agrees with the NYT:

Anyway, a smaller iPhone would be stupid, if by “smaller” you mean a screen that measures less than 3.5 or so inches. The physical size of the UI matters more than anything else.

Picture this: a kid in elementary school wielding an iPhone 4. Kinda big if you ask me. If Apple is building a smaller iPhone, it would be for guys and gals with smaller hands. The physical size matters, which is exactly the reason Apple would build a smaller iPhone. A smaller screen would force app rewrites? No. What if the smaller iPhone had a pixel format of 480×320? The same as the iPhone 3GS, 3G and the original? No rewriting required at all. And guess what? Apple would classify it as a Retina Display. Pure genius.

But is Apple really working on a smaller iPhone? Who knows.