Source Reveals: Apple’s Upcoming Portable Wireless Capable

January 29, 2008 at 4:37 pm 19 comments

     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.

D.S.

Entry filed under: iPhone, iPod, tablet, UMPC. Tags: , , , , .

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19 Comments Add your own

  • 1. titusferguson  |  January 29, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    This is pretty amazing stuff! I would definitely silence the disappointment about the macbook air and lay to rest the “is it a computer is it a phone” iPhone debate.

    Reply
  • […] Original post by David Sieger […]

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  • […] a more in depth analysis check out David Sieger’s Eye on Apple blog. Mac Rumors  has also discussed this device […]

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  • […] Sieger has written a detailed insight into what he calls “Apple’s rival product to the Intel Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC) […]

    Reply
  • 5. faulken  |  January 30, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    Well its about time that apple has made a larger version of the iphone/ ipod touch. This is the device I was convinced that was going to debut at Macworld this year. To be honest I hope the device doesnt have cell phone capabilities. Its just a feature I dont want to have to pay a subscription service each month. Just need a touch portable device that has internet , email, sdk apps/ hardware and itunes.

    Reply
  • 6. faulken  |  January 30, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    This is the device I have been waiting on. Was convinced that this was going to appear at this years macworld.

    Reply
  • […] Source Reveals: Apple’s Upcoming Portable Wireless Capable [EyeOnApple] tr { border: 0px } td { cellborder: 10px} table { border: 1px solid black } […]

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  • […] detalhes no artigo completo de Sieger. No momento da finalização deste artigo nosso iTunes tocava: Karunesh, Orient Express […]

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  • 9. jv  |  January 30, 2008 at 7:34 pm

    faulken, I agree with the specs you would prefer as I also would prefer a device that size that does NOT have phone capabilities.

    Preferred specs (in order of preference):
    * NO PHONE (a devide with a 5.2″ screen would be too big for a phone anyway)…
    * An “always connected” connectivity to the web (through WiMax or Cell Phone Tower???) … and preferably NO monthly bill for this web access (or at least a very small monthly bill, like maybe $20/mo or less)
    * email application (or web based Gmail access)
    * spreadsheet + word processing application (or web based Google Docs access)… I do a lot of stuff with Google Docs for both business and personal (I could also see how it may work good for going to the grocery store with access to an electronic grocery list, etc, which can help save paper)
    * calendar application (or web based Google Calendar access)
    * GPS driving directions + Maps (similar to Garmin GPS products “with audible directions”)
    * iTunes
    * WiFi “N” (to access my local wireless network when I am at home)
    * a 16GB or larger flash based storage capability (but, preferably 32GB or more)
    * built in speaker + headphone jack (so I can listen to it with or without headphones)
    * a vehicle accessory to prop up the device to the right of the steering wheel or near the middle console (for GPS directions usage while I am driving)
    * capability to view photos and videos

    Give me all this at a cost at approximately $700 or less and I will be one of the first in line to purchase one of these “life helpers”…

    Reply
  • 10. mikecane  |  January 30, 2008 at 8:26 pm

    Is Apple’s Tablet The iPod Air?

    Reply
  • 11. Piko  |  January 30, 2008 at 8:33 pm

    The Newton® lives!!!
    🙂

    Piko

    Reply
  • […] Eye on Apple  fresqui |  menéame | permalink | trackback url Si te ha […]

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  • 13. Roger Brunke  |  January 31, 2008 at 12:35 am

    Yeah, I don’t want it to have 3G built in but the rest sounds great. I do hope it is a little bigger than 5.2″ though. I know a big argument for that size will be that it is pocketable but as I carry a messanger bag around, I would be much happier with a 7″ or 10″ screen.

    Since the rumors have it that this device was meant to premire at MacWorld but was delayed at the last moment, I hope it premires with the SDK.

    Jobs comes out on stage, talks about the SDK and what 3rd party companies are already developing with early, seeded versions. But he slips up and mentions that it is for 3 devices, not two. He walks over and reveals the new device, much to the oooohs and ahhhhhs of all in attendence. Apple’s stock skyrockets, recession is stopped, and world peace is declared!…Got a little over eager there…:-P

    Reply
  • […] Source Reveals: Apple’s Upcoming Portable Wireless Capable « Eye On Apple by David Sieger .   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. […]

    Reply
  • 15. Philonoist.net » I called it.  |  February 4, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    […] rather, I guessed it. I have some new insight to share with you regarding the portable device Apple is working on. In a […]

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  • […] 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 […]

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  • […] Sieger has written a detailed insight into what he calls “Apple’s rival product to the Intel Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC) […]

    Reply
  • […] a more in depth analysis check out David Sieger’s Eye on Apple blog. Mac Rumors has also discussed this device […]

    Reply
  • 19. eWreckers  |  March 30, 2008 at 10:32 am

    Ditto. The AirBook was pretty disappointing

    Reply

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