April 28, 2009, 7:59 AM — Fresh fodder from the rumor mill: Apple is looking at new ways to put the internet in the palm of your hand. According to a BusinessWeek article (which cites "two people familiar with the matter"), the company is partnering with Verizon Wireless to introduce two new devices: an 'iPhone Lite' and a media pad of some kind. What's curious is that this rumor surfaced at about the same time that rumors of a CDMA iPhone from Verizon did.
It would seem that these are separate rumors talking about different iPhones (but that isn't certain). BusinessWeek says it is talking about an iPhone that is thinner, smaller, and cheaper than the existing model. Smaller in what way? Smaller screen? Details are not available. The CDMA rumors seem to reference an iPhone that differs from the current model only in that it uses CDMA.
And then there's this media pad device. BusinessWeek says "The media pad is smaller than an Amazon (AMZN) Kindle electronic reader, but its touchscreen is bigger than the Kindle's, says the person who has seen it." A curious comparison, given that the Kindle doesn't have a touchscreen, and is an e-reader while the media pad is meant for listening to music, looking at photos, and watching videos. They further say the device "would place calls over a Wi-Fi connection" which is also puzzling. Why would Verizon Wireless want to sell us a device that we can use to place calls over Wi-Fi?
Turning the rumor around some more, we know that Verizon Wireless is set to start offering netbooks (which, admittedly, also allow users to place calls over Wi-Fi once they install Skype or something similar) to its customers soon, and this media pad does fit in with that kind of a product line. Something larger than a phone, but smaller than a netbook. And it fits in with the earlier rumors of Quanta buying large numbers of 10 inch touch screens from Wintek for an Apple device. Is this the 'iPod HD' that was rumored in March?