Is There an iPhone for That?

I’m at the Mobile Web & Applications 2009 conference in London, where Sunil Gunderia, Vice President, Mobile at Walt Disney Internet Group, has just been talking about the company’s iPhone apps, how it leverages the richness of the platform, and the moves the company makes to make their iPhone apps discoverable.
Given the well-charted obsession with iPhone apps among brands, despite the phone's current low market penetration, it struck me as Gunderia was talking that there must be a mismatch between the typical iPhone owner, and the demographic of Disney’s target audience, a point I put to him at the end of his presentation. He conceded that it was a fair question, as the typical iPhone demographic is male, 18-34, but added that Disney was seeing a significant uptake in iPhone ownership among females, including over-35 females, which, he noted, includes mums. He noted too, that 10-year olds are buying the iPod touch, or at least their mums and dads are.
Which got me thinking (and apologies if this is an old rumour, but I’ve never claimed to be a handset specialist), wouldn’t an iPhone for Kids be a bit of a no-brainer, in the same way that after the original iPod, Apple followed up with the Nano for lighter or younger users? I take Gunderia’s point about the iPod touch, but at the point when parents are buying their kids a phone, which in my experience is often as they move from junior to secondary school, and start making the journey to school on their own, what they want is something they can use to make a phone call. Those parents buying their kids an iPod touch are effectively buying them a games console/web browser, rather than a phone.
Given the esteem in which the iPhone is generally held, I have little doubt that the iPhone Nano, let's call it, would clean up in the kids market. And having hooked ‘em young, it would be hard to see many kids switching allegiance when the time came to choose their next phone. The only issue is whether the kids, in between downloading apps and playing games, would ever make it to school on time.

David Murphy