Apple's Low-Cost iPhone to be an 'iCloud' iPhone?

Tying together a series of earlier rumors, AppleNApps claims that Apple is planning to introduce a new low-cost iPhone in the coming months that will contain significantly reduced onboard storage and instead rely primarily on streaming content from the company's new iCloud service. The device is said to be referred to internally as the "iCloud iPhone".

We have three independent sources contributing to this report who are all connected to Apple in different capacities. The main takeaway is that Apple intends to launch two iPhone models in the fall with a full upgraded iPhone 5 as expected, as well as a cheaper iPhone which will be the iCloud iPhone.

According to the report, the iPhone 5 will indeed appear in a thinner form factor carrying the A5 chip that debuted in the iPad 2 earlier this year. But the iCloud iPhone will rely on many of the components currently used in the iPhone 4 and offer only a bare minimum of onboard storage in order to drop pricing to $400 off-contract or free with a two-year contract.

One of our contacts is familiar with the design of the iPhone 4, and says that Apple is cutting the cost of making an iPhone 4 without sacrificing any of its qualities. The main cost cutting will come from Apple reducing on board storage, using a smoother yet cheaper aluminum back and siding, and already having a majority of the supplies on hand. The result will be a cloud based iPhone experience that is unique in the market that will be accessible to a large percentage of users because of the price point.

Rumors of a low-cost iPhone have been circulating for quite some time, and claims of a smaller, cheaper iPhone relying on cloud streaming instead on onboard storage appeared earlier this year.

iphone icloud abbey road
One potential flaw in the idea that Apple will be introducing a cloud-based iPhone in the near future is related to Apple's implementation of iCloud, which is much more of a syncing service than a streaming service. Apple has presented iCloud as a distributed system in which a master copy of any given file resides in the cloud but is also duplicated on each device and kept in sync with that master copy, which itself can be updated based on changes made on any associated device.

The vision of a cloud-based iPhone with little onboard storage would require that that master copy be passed down to the device only as needed, functionality that Apple has not yet shown with iCloud and iOS 5. Aside from any technical considerations for the streaming model, such an arrangement would put significant strain on wireless carriers charged with moving that data down from the cloud every time it is needed.

AppleNApps is a relatively new site which does not yet have a significant track record when it comes to Apple rumors, although it was only off by a day in its predictions of a release for OS X Lion and revised MacBook Air models.

Top Rated Comments

addicted44 Avatar
133 months ago
How does this rumor make any sense?

1) iCloud does not interface with Windows.
2) The purpose of a low cost phone is to tap the developing markets, which are largely prepaid. Very few prepaid services offer reasonable data plans.
3) 3G internet speeds are not sufficient for vast amounts of media streaming.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dukebound85 Avatar
133 months ago
In the era of data caps, this would not appeal to me

Plus I use my iphone for both as an ipod and a dedicated gps with maps on the device so this would not work well in that regard.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Stella Avatar
133 months ago
Maybe cheap up front but requires expensive data plans.

yes, you could use wi-fi, but wifi isn't available everywhere.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nutjob Avatar
133 months ago
How does this rumor make any sense?

1) iCloud does not interface with Windows.
2) The purpose of a low cost phone is to tap the developing markets, which are largely prepaid. Very few prepaid services offer reasonable data plans.
3) 3G internet speeds are not sufficient for vast amounts of media streaming.
"Developing markets" don't buy $400 phones, they buy $20 phones. A smart phone without storage is a dumb idea.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
maattp Avatar
133 months ago
8gb of flash storage would be dirt cheap for apple, why the hell would they try to reduce the price by doing this? Data prices are insane, flash memory is cheap. This makes no sense. $400 is no deal either. If they can make an iPod Touch for $200, they can make an iPhone for $300.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
baryon Avatar
133 months ago
I don't really care for this cloud thing and the absence of local storage. I want to be able to access my data anywhere, at any time, regardless of whether I have an internet connection and how fast it is.

I don't think there is a need to make a device between the iPhone and the iPod Touch.

It's not Flash storage that makes a device expensive, 8GB of storage today is almost free, and that's plenty for a low-cost iPhone. It's the other hardware that the iPod Touch lacks, such as the better camera, screen, extra sensors, more RAM and 3G.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Kuo: iPhone 13 to Feature LEO Satellite Communications to Make Calls and Texts Without Cellular Coverage

Sunday August 29, 2021 7:39 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 will feature low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication connectivity to allow users to make calls and send messages in areas without 4G or 5G coverage, according to the reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Kuo explained that the iPhone 13 lineup will feature hardware that is able to connect to LEO satellites. If enabled with the relevant...
YouTube Picture in Picture Feature

YouTube Premium Subscribers Can Now Use iOS Picture-in-Picture: Here's How

Wednesday August 25, 2021 3:55 am PDT by
Google has rolled out picture-in-picture support as an "experimental" feature for YouTube premium subscribers, allowing them to watch video in a small window when the app is closed. If you're a premium YouTube subscriber looking to try out picture-in-picture, follow these steps: Launch a web browser and sign into your YouTube account at YouTube.com. Navigate to www.youtube.com/new. Scroll...
os x mountain lion macs 16x9 2

Apple Makes OS X Lion and Mountain Lion Free to Download

Wednesday June 30, 2021 12:19 pm PDT by
Apple recently dropped the $19.99 fee for OS X Lion and Mountain Lion, making the older Mac updates free to download, reports Macworld. Apple has kept OS X 10.7 Lion and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion available for customers who have machines limited to the older software, but until recently, Apple was charging $19.99 to get download codes for the updates. As of last week, these updates no...
tim cook spring loaded event

Gurman: Apple Planning Multiple Events for the Fall, M1X MacBook Pros to be Available by November

Sunday August 15, 2021 12:07 pm PDT by
Apple is planning to hold multiple events this fall, which will collectively include the launch of new iPhones, Apple Watches, updated AirPods, revamped iPad mini, and the redesigned MacBook Pros, according to respected Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman. In his latest weekly Power On newsletter, Gurman says that much like last year, Apple will hold multiple events this coming fall, with the...
apple screen time screen icons

Persistent Kids Finding Loopholes in Apple's Screen Time Limits

Tuesday October 15, 2019 9:44 am PDT by
Apple is currently engaged in a cat-and-mouse game with persistent kids looking to circumvent Screen Time restrictions, but the company has been receiving some criticism for not moving quickly enough to lock down some of the loopholes, reports The Washington Post. A few of the loopholes and ways for parents to shut them down are documented on the site Protect Young Eyes, while these and...
anker lightning cable mfi

Unwrap a New Apple Device? Stock Up on Extra Certified Lightning Cables for as Little as $6

Monday December 25, 2017 5:45 am PST by
If you unwrapped an Apple product today it likely came with one of the company's first-party Lightning cables, but having an extra on hand is always a good idea, so you can place it in other rooms in your house, in your car, or in a bag when you travel. For that reason, now's a good time to shop for third-party Lightning cables that are cheaper than Apple's own accessory, but still Made For...
personal hotspot 1

Apple Acknowledges Personal Hotspot Issues Affecting Some iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 Users

Saturday March 21, 2020 10:04 am PDT by
In an internal document distributed to Apple Authorized Service Providers this week, obtained by MacRumors, Apple has acknowledged that some iOS 13 or iPadOS 13 users may experience issues with Personal Hotspot. Apple has told Authorized Service Providers to expect customers who are unable to connect to a Personal Hotspot or experience frequent disconnection from one. Customers may also...
macos monterey safari beta 3

macOS Monterey Beta 3: Apple Redesigns Safari Tab Interface Following Complaints

Wednesday July 14, 2021 11:39 am PDT by
In the third developer beta of macOS Monterey, which came out this morning, Apple has overhauled the design of Safari, making the tab bar more similar to the current tab bar in macOS Big Sur. The prior Safari design did away with the dedicated URL and search interface, instead allowing any individual tab to be used for navigation input. Tabs were also all arranged at the top of the display...