Friday iPhone roundup: Cheaper one on the way?

Given the enormous success of the iPhone, it was only a matter of time before Apple decided to expand its reach.

My, that's a big iPhone 5 screen you have

The company has already started to do that this year by launching a CDMA version of the device on the Verizon network, but it is also apparently considering releasing a less expensive version that would make the iPhone more accessible to a broader audience. According to a report in the New York Times, Apple is considering "changing internal components of the device to bring costs down" rather than creating a smaller version. Originally it had been rumored that Apple would create an "iPhone Nano" with a significantly smaller touchscreen, similar to how the iPod Nano has a smaller screen than the standard iPod, but the Times reports that a smaller version of the iPhone might be too difficult to operate.

The Times reports that the new device could be available as soon as this summer and that it could come with extensive voice-recognition software that would let users perform tasks with voice commands.

AT&T's 3G bests Verizon's 3G

The team at Speedtest.net has compiled data from its Web site's own iPhone application and has found that AT&T's 3G network offers iPhone users downloads that are twice the speeds on Verizon's network. Per Speedtest, AT&T iPhone users get an average download speed of 1.77Mbps and an average upload speed of 0.73Mbps, while Verizon iPhone users get an average download speed of 0.85Mbps and an average upload speed of 0.51Mbps.

The fact that AT&T's 3G network is so much faster than Verizon's shouldn't come as much of a surprise since the carrier has been investing heavily in upgrading its 3G network to HSPA+ technology that offers maximum theoretical download speeds of 7.2Mbps. Verizon, meanwhile, has been letting its CDMA-based 3G network stand pat while it's been plowing money into getting its 4G LTE network up and running. Once both Verizon and AT&T have LTE in more major markets by next year it will be easier to conduct more of an apples-to-apples test to see who has the faster network. But until an LTE-capable iPhone hits the market for both carriers, the advantage in this case will certainly go to AT&T.

Apple hogging touchscreen market?

Apple's domination of the touchscreen supply market could lead to production headaches for rivals hoping to create a challenger to the iPhone and iPad. According to a report in Digitimes, Apple has secured 60% of the global supply market for touchscreens, thus making it harder for tablet PC makers to meet customer demands. Digitimes reports that Apple's dominance in the supply market has forced "several notebook brands such as Samsung Electronics, Acer and HP" to look at "smaller touch screen suppliers" for their needs, including Sintek Photronic, Egalax-empia Technology, AimCore Technology and J Touch.

Earlier this year Apple made a $3.9 billion supply investment that is likely to be used for securing touchscreens for its devices. Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Hubert said at the time that the investment could purchase around 136 million iPhone touchscreens or 60 iPad touch panels, according to Apple Insider.

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