Apple to release iPhone Lite, tablet by the end of the year?

Looks like the Apple rumor mill has begun churning again folks; what are the latest whispers to be churned out by this non-stopping machine? Well, we've got ourselves an iPhone Lite and MacBook Mini or tablet-like device, to be offered with Verizon. BusinessWeek are the ones reporting this, with a helpful hand from TUAW.

There are two sources close to the production and design of the devices, who say that there will be, firstly, the 'iPhone lite'. This will be physically smaller than the current iPhone, as well as thinner and be feature-reduced. Apparently, "It would achieve the effect by using a system-on-a-chip -- a processor that combines its necessary graphics core, controllers and other components on a single chip package -- and would let Apple "blow away" the profit margins on the existing iPhone as well as the Verizon-exclusive BlackBerry Storm, according to one of the magazine's sources," says AppleInsider.

The 'MacBook Mini' is an interesting concept, although not a new one. It's rumored that it's smaller in size than Amazon's Kindle, yet it has a larger touchscreen, due to the lack of a physical keyboard. Additionally, "It's envisioned as a 'media pad' with HD video, music and photos, but it would also allow calls over Wi-Fi." It's suggested that it will use the same system-on-a-chip set up as the iPhone Lite, to cut back on costs. This would roll with the rumors of all those 10" touch screens that Apple had purchased, and the source has said, "The media pad category might go to Verizon. We are talking about a device where people will say, 'Damn, why didn't we do this?' Apple is probably going to define the damn category." As you can tell, they are excited, and they expect Verizon to dominate a relatively undeveloped market "overnight". Poppycock, you might say. This won't happen, Apple wouldn't go there just yet. Well put away your pitchforks for a second, folks... the aforementioned TUAW link has found an interesting piece of info hidden away within the stats for Adium. The Apple news site is quick to point out that anybody can edit the stats for the IM client, but remember this: a certain Apple product named the MacBook Air was first discovered within Adium's stats, so this could be a sign that the MacBook Mini really is in the works.

A recent interview with the Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam at BusinessWeek has revealed that the company has indeed been having talks with Apple executives. "In the last six months, I have talked to Steve Jobs," McAdam says. Also, "Although McAdam would not say what the two companies discussed, two people familiar with the subject said talks covered the new smaller iPhone-like device under development." An Apple spokesman said that they were happy with AT&T's current partnership, though.

These are all interesting things, and no doubt everything will be much less murkier by the end of the year. What's your opinion, Neowin?

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