Ok, for those of you that made it past the oh-no-not-again rumor-esque title, I have an interesting theory to throw your way. No, this isn’t another article regarding next-gen iPhone rumors, though it is undoubtedly related.

9to5Mac passed along an intriguing report coming from a Dutch publication known as AppleSpot. The blog is claiming that Apple is looking to change the handheld electronics market again this fall, by adding 3G data connectivity to their iPod Touch line. I know this must sound crazy, but humor me for a minute…

Obviously, there’s been plenty of rumors suggesting 2 variations of the iPhone this fall, one high-end and one low-end. More recently, the gossip has pointed to the possibility of an iPod Touch with 3G phone service to make up the lower-end model.

But consider this, an iPod Touch that has built-in 3G data only, no voice. Not only would this break the Wi-Fi-only restriction on the device for app and music downloads, it would give users the ability to use services like FaceTime and iMessage while out and about.

So video chat and text messaging are nice, but what about voice calls? Without 3G voice capability, is there any way this thing could make phone calls? Of course! Any VOIP app would do the trick. There’s Skype and Viber to name a couple, or Apple could conceivably develop its own VOIP platform. (iTalk?)

Ok, now that we can download apps, text message and make phone calls, where do we get the 3G connection? This one is a doozy, and could play out in a couple of ways. One would be the obvious — major carriers. Build-in a universal 3G chipset and let users hook it up to the provider of their choice.

The next way is a little more out there, but try and stay with me. Over the last few years, there has been some speculation that Apple was looking into becoming their own wireless carrier. In fact, it was a popular topic just before they launched the original iPhone.

Though much of that talk has died out, an interesting patent surfaced last month regarding Apple’s work with MVNO, or Mobile Virtual Network Operator, systems. The filing explains a system where carriers rent their unused wireless spectrum to Apple, who would then offer the service at a discount to users.

While “renting network space” isn’t a new idea, the thought of doing it across multiple carriers is (talk about coverage). Add into the mix that Steve Jobs and company could sell blocks of prepaid data service to customers through their iTunes platform, and I think you’ve really got something.

Of course, I’ll give the usual “the above information hasn’t been confirmed” line, but hopefully the article evoked some outside-the-box thinking. Who says Apple can’t release an iPod Touch with 3G data capabilities? Users could call, text and surf the web, for considerably less than the average phone bill.

What do you think?

  • old tom

    Interesting concept. Could have some potential there.
    I know my son is using a current model ipod touch, google voice and wifi rather than the conventional route of a cell phone. It took a little adapting to get used to, but he’s been doing it for almost a year now. So something like this could find a market. There are those out there that are doing it. And making it more “mainstream” so to speak could most likely make that market segment grow. Especially in the face of consumer choices for wireless providers becoming smaller and smaller, at least here in the states. Would be good to make the “big guys” a little nervous by shaking things up some.

  • DeltaJB

    It would just be an iPhone then as it would require a baseband

  • Gtfxx

    Intersting… If they make a 3G iPodTouch it will be a matter of time until someone turns it into a phone through jailbreak software, like the Egyptian iPhoneIslam did with the iPad…

  • Ryan

    How does this compare to, say, the Kindle 3G? I know that doesn’t require a plan at all and is just 3G out of the box. But I’d that because the amounts of data are so minimal compared to something like a 3G iPod?

  • I would so buy this what an awesome idea

  • matt

    My theory is this will be the cheaper less expensive iphone that everyone is talking about

  • Sotigris

    Very probable this rumor is true, don’t forget the iCloud service would be crippled on devices without 3G.

    • goofygreek

      that is true, makes sense to release on ipod touch with 3g now that icloud is coming.

  • gffdzjlngjd

    It would be better if it had 4g and NFC instead. It would be cool if Apple launched five products at the September iPod event. iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone Nano, iPad 3, and iPod touch fourth generation. Plus it would make better sense the ipod Touch 4th gen. had 4g right? (4gen and 4g).

  • DeltaJB

    What? Their is no such as 4g ha ha
    iPod 4 is I pod 4g as the 4g means 4th gen
    If you wanted you could call the iPad 2 The iPad 2g and you’d be correct

  • Josh shire

    It all sounds amazing I hope it happens but I don’t think apple would deliberately give their <£200 idevice the same capabilities as thier significantly higher priced iPhone handset. it would surely reduce iPhone sales

  • Aiden

    Apple are trying to keep the iPod Touch line as thin as possible, and as far as I know, adding a 3G thingy will make it thick and bulky.

  • It would be even better with no contract … Hey everyone check out ioscustomiZer on YouTube.com/iOSCustomiZer one of the best way u can customize ur iPhone ur way

  • DeltaJB

    I’m from Ireland and they do come with no contract, but if you buy it from apple store Ireland (no contract) the iPhone is€599 ($800) but their all factory unlocked! If you get with a contract The iPhone 4 is free, but you are stuck on an 18 month contract @ €40 per month for 350 mins, 1000 texts and 10th Internet so it’s not a good deal for 40 a month (as for 30 per month on prepay you get 2000 mins 2000 texts and 50gb Internet, that’s the best offer out their!) and also the handset will be locked to that network, they do not get unlocked until the contract is up

  • DeltaJB

    YouTube.com/iOSCustomiZer
    this is a stupid copycat video wit info not related to it,
    its just telling you about jailbreakme3.0 lol

    cop on lad postin that shit