If you need one more reason against the iPhone nano – a miniaturized iPhone version which has been the rumor mill’s favorite pastime – Asymco’s Horace Dediu has a few in a piece entitled “iPhone Liquidity: Why an Unlocked Phone in the US Matters”. In a nutshell, the good ol’ iPhone we know today still has plenty of room for growth left before Apple eventually diversifies the lineup in order to cover a wider gamut of price points and market segments. Dediu’s piece tells us that Apple’s handset is still “a very restricted product” considering global mobile landscape:

If you contrast this with every other phone platform out there, Blackberry, Android or Symbian, the iPhone is extremely restricted and the number of people that are permitted to buy it much more limited.

For example, iPhone is still nowhere to be found in ten European countries with a combined population of hundred million people. Granted, we’re talking low-revenue markets such as Albania, Bosnia, Serbia and Armenia, but still – a market’s a market. Asia, however is a different story. In Asia, Dediu writes, “the number of countries without iPhone distribution outnumber those with distribution”. Jump past the fold for more takeaways.

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Africa, Latin America and the Middle East are mostly untapped markets for Apple’s handset, the author explains. Also, in countries where iPhone is being sold many would-be owners are still required to pledge to lengthy service agreements. “In those cases where you don’t sign a contract, you cannot use it with a service provider other than the one (arbitrarily) chosen for you”. Another thing to consider: Apple’s handset can only be purchased carrier-free in 34 countries, and via carriers’ online stores only. Carrier-free matters because “iPhones that can be purchased with cash, become as good as cash”. Remarkably, Dediu notes, “the number of operators supporting Blackberry outnumber the iPhone at least by a ratio of two to one”.

From the looks of it, Apple should easily overtake Nokia and become the world’s leading smartpone maker in terms of units, blowing every other phone vendor out of the water. All the company needs to do is work harder to cut deals with carriers left and right, bring iPhone to more countries and introduce a low-cost, carrier-free iPhone deal for people with low income who prefer pay-as-you-go handsets and otherwise couldn’t afford an iPhone plus a pricey two-year wireless contract.

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