Tim Cook: iPhone Nano Ain’t Happening

Tim Cook, acting CEO of Apple Computer, refuted the notion that the House of Mac is plotting a low-end iPhone during the company’s Q1 conference call a few days ago.

“We’re not going to play in the low-end voice phone business. That’s not who we are, that’s not why we’re here,” Cook told Apple’s investors. “[Our] goal is not to lead unit sales, but to build the world’s best phone.”

So if we can take Mr. Cook’s statement at face value, the iPhone Nano is a dead letter, at least for the time being. However, we have to wonder whether Cook is following Steve Jobs’ party line on this one; Jobs showed no compunction about hitting the low end when running competitors out of the MP3 player market in past years.

There’s also some question as to what exactly Cook means by the “low-end voice phone business.” It sounds as though the distinction he’s making here is between feature phones–the clamshell affairs you typically get for free when signing a cell service contract–and smart phones. We wouldn’t expect Apple to delve into the feature phone market, where margins are lower and iTunes compatibility becomes a potential issue.

We absolutely do think Apple is on guard against price competition from Blackberry, Samsung, LG, HTC and the rest of the smart phone gang. If one or several of those companies move to undercut the iPhone by introducing a “subcompact” smart phone, somewhere between today’s feature phones and the iPhone, Apple will probably be obliged to respond.

Never say never, Mr. Cook.

[from iPhone Alley]

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