Posts filed under ‘tablet’
MacDailyNews reports that “the company that does television for Apple’s live events and MacWorld” is hiring for an Apple event at the end of February. If Apple is indeed holding a Special Event at the end of this month, it’s likely an opportunity to introduce the touch platform SDK ( Software Development Kit ), a few select applications ( maybe games? ) made by 3rd party vendors who got an early release of the SDK, and perhaps a totally new device ( 3G iPhone or the larger-screened wireless device I have reported on ). As I have said in a previous post, the last 3 weeks in February should be interesting to watch.
AT&T has announced that it plans to roll out 3G service to 80 more cities in the US throughout 2008 bringing 3G to 350 leading U.S. markets, including top 100 U.S. cities. The company also said that it’s planning for the future of wireless broadband by “establishing a clear path to a 4G network”.
Another AT&T wireless spectrum, previously bought by the company, has received FCC approval. The 12MHz wireless spectrum, which covers 60% of the US and 196 million of the 303 million US residents, is in the highly sought after 700MHz band which can carry broadband signals with a wide footprint.
AT&T’s expansion of its 3G network can be attributed to the 3G Apple iPhone introduction ( due mid year ) but the 12MHz wireless spectrum purchase has fueled speculation that AT&T may be executing plans to introduce a nationwide wireless broadband network independent of the 3G network in anticipation of an unannounced Apple wireless product.
I have some new insight to share with you regarding the portable device Apple is working on. In a previous article, I described the mysterious portable as perhaps Apple’s rival product to the Intel Ultra Mobile PC ( UMPC ) initiative. In talking to several sources close to the secretive project, a few more details have emerged while the actual identity of the device is still shrouded in mystery.
First Some Background
I was first tipped on the existence of plans for a previously unknown Apple portable device, somewhat larger than the current iPhone, a few months ago. The device was described as having a touch screen and best suited to be gripped with both hands. A little later, another source provided a key piece of evidence that pointed to Apple working with the German company Balda on securing 5.2″ touch panels ( more than likely pre-production units ) for an unknown device. This tip was crucial in determining the approximate size of the device and where it best fits in the Apple product lineup. Balda is one of a handful of companies that design and manufacture ( in Xiamen, China) high scratch and shatter resistant, multi-touch capable displays for mobile handsets and is thought to have received orders for Apple iPhone. However, Balda’s financial troubles and its recent sale to KS Plastic Solutions cast doubts on its future as a supplier to Apple. The final contract to produce these panels may be in fact be awarded to Wintek, an Asian component supplier, or Samsung, the electronics giant which also has the multi-touch technology.
What We Know Now
In the previous article, I concluded that the mysterious device could be an ultra-portable Mac and the expectations were that Apple may officially announce its support for the new Intel Silverthorne processor at Macworld ’08 and/or the iPhone SDK may see an early release. Why Silverthorne and the SDK? The new Intel Silverthorne is ideally suited for ultra-portable computing devices such as this one, hence substantially clarifying the purpose of the device. The iPhone SDK would have also provided crucial insight into the capabilities of the present Apple touch-sensitive platform including possible support for larger screens and/or alternative input methods. However neither of these 2 scenarios played out, in fact the release of the iPhone SDK was officially pushed back to the end of February. This prompted me to further inquire to see if there’s a connection between this portable device and the SDK. According to my sources, the new device is more than likely based on Apple’s current portable platform ( ie. iPhone/Touch ) and once the SDK is released, a little digging inside the platform interface should reveal the extent of the platform’s capabilities and Apple’s plans for the portable multi-touch lineup. Moreover, 3G is part of the device specs with WiFi included as well.
What We Can Conclude
Based on what we know to date, the mysterious device resembles less an Ultra Mobile Mac and more an upper model iPhone or a more capable next gen iPod Touch. In other words, the portable’s hardware seem to suggest not a fully capable and portable Mac but a device which depends heavily on wireless connectivity. Likely it’s Apple’s version of the Intel MID ( Mobile Internet Device ) showcased at CES ’08. With the limited wireless sharing of content between machines premiering on the optical drive-less MacBook Air, it wouldn’t surprise me if Apple introduced a device that lets users pull media content from their computers and play on a thin portable client and even run small native apps using the device’s limited resources. Such a device is likely a year from introduction although, due to its 3G capability, may be introduced a full six months before being shipped ( similar to iPhone ) to clear the FCC hurdle.
It seems like everyone’s jumping on the ultra-thin Mac notebook bandwagon these days. BusinessWeek’s Arik Hesseldahl reports that when guessing about upcoming Apple products, “it’s particularly helpful to look at the roadmap of Intel”. Hesseldahl goes on to say, Intel “may help lead Apple into uncharted, possibly lucrative, territory starting in late 2008″. He calls the new Apple product MacBook Mini, “with a screen of less than 10 inches and weighing no more than 2 pounds” featuring Intel’s newest chip named Silverthorne. The new notebook will come “without a traditional hard drive, relying instead on at least 32 gigabytes of flash memory for storage” and no multi-touch screen for now to keep the price down.
I think an ultra-thin Mac notebook makes more sense if Apple included an optional docking station with more storage and the flexibility to upgrade its hardware, similar to the docking station patent that I reported on yesterday.
Crave.CNET has apparently received confirmation from ASUS, over dinner no less, that they’re helping Apple build a tablet pc. Now I find an Apple tablet in the traditional pc sense very difficult to believe, nonetheless, I’ll be checking with my sources to see if I can find out more on this.