A new report from the Wall Street Journal has corroborated a story from late last week indicating that Apple is working on a smaller, less expensive version of the iPhone, while adding details of a revamp to Apple’s MobileMe online service suite that could include a cloud-based streaming media service. Citing a person who saw a prototype of the phone late last year, the report states that the new model is codenamed “N97,” is said to be “about half the size of the iPhone 4,” and is to have “an edge-to-edge screen” as well as “voice-based navigation.” It is intended for sale alongside Apple’s existing iPhone line and would be available to carriers for roughly half the price of traditional iPhone models. The new phone is expected to be released this summer, although those plans could change, according to the report’s source.
Also mentioned in the report is a revamp of Apple’s MobileMe online service suite. According to a person familiar with the matter, Apple is considering making MobileMe a free service to serve as an online “locker” for personal data such as photos, music, and videos. In addition, MobileMe could also be part of a new online music service for Apple, that would give users access to their iTunes libraries from mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad without the need for the devices be synched via cable with a computer, or for physical onboard components to store the actual files. The report notes that the new service could debut as early as June, dependent on the progress of licensing talks that are said to be in their preliminary stages; according to the report, Apple had planned for the service to roll out last year.