Is Apple building ‘The Device?’

By SteveJack

While the Handspring Treo’s top model offers a color screen, cell phone, Palm OS PDA and more, it also lacks the ability to upgrade the OS, an expansion slot, and most noticeably, Bluetooth. As I look at my current phone and my current Palm PDA, I realize I am in serious need of what I call, “The Device.” I really thought I wanted a Treo with Bluetooth, OS upgradeability, and an expansion slot, but since this didn’t exist, I was left dreaming of the Sony Ericsson P800 or even the Palm Tungsten W, if they ever become available.

But, then I got to thinking about the recent iChat rumors. iChat is rumored to be getting audio and video capabilities in addition to its current text messaging. Basically, you’d be able to chat with sound and pictures; iChat would become, quite simply, a videophone. It is not much of a technological leap to imagine a device running this new iChat, that contains at least a 20GB hard drive, a color screen and uses both and a thumb-keyboard. This device, from Apple, capable of utilizing wireless GSM/GPRS networks, with SMS ability, could also run iCal, Address Book, iSync, and incorporate Rendezvous technology. I mean, Apple is obviously laying the foundation for something special with iSync and Rendezvous, and I don’t think it is just for the standard-issue “Digital Hub” Macintosh desktops and portables.

This device, able to be made today with current technology, would easily be “The Device.” Running Mac OS X or a mobile variant, it would allow the user to communicate via text, audio, and video. It would snap digital photos and organize them, do email, and browse the web. It would sync automatically with your desktop or portable Mac. It would run Sherlock for web services. With its large hard drive inside, and its included FireWire port, it would absorb the iPod by playing AAC / MP3 audio and interface with iTunes, but it would also play feature-length MPEG-4 movies, too, in full color. It would have the AM/FM tuner that iPod lacks, too. It would incorporate Inkwell for jotting down notes, interfacing with the device or sketching ideas. It would have built-in Bluetooth, which would allow for, among other things, short-range personal broadcasts; your own radio/TV station and any number of websites in your pocket. McDonald’s Drive Thru’s would accept payments via Bluetooth from “The Device.” And, of course, it would have the basics like any PDA; your date book, to do list, calculator, etc. I figure a form factor about the size or a Newton or a bit smaller would do the trick.

This would be “The Device.” iDevice?? And only Apple, in concert with a partner like Verizon, Cingular, or Sprint, has everything in place to make “The Device” a reality today. I wonder if they are close, yet, or still far away from fruition? I really hope they are building it. Everything seems to point to it or am I just wishing too hard? I’ll tell you one thing, if Apple can produce it, they’ll really change everything this time, and they’ll never be able to make enough. Nearly everyone would have an Apple device in their pocket that worked best (or only) with a Macintosh computer. Would you buy one for, say, $799? I would.

SteveJack is a long-time Macintosh user, web designer, multimedia producer and a regular contributor to the MacDailyNews Opinion section.


  1. Conecting the dots here.. Looks like this person had/has an inside line to apple. Did read in the Steve bio that around this time they did start working on a touch screen tablet which led to an iPhone launch in 2007. Maybe helping Apple with testing the market about new product launched. Nice.

    1. From the Internet Archive of MacDailyNews’ original page:


      From: kforrest
      Feb 27, 03 | 12:57 pm

      I will start saving my money right now….sigh….

      Anyone who can produce those features under a $1,000 will draw “first blood” in the marketplace.

      From: fanx
      Mar 03, 03 | 11:56 pm

      Nice – but a totally different enchilada compared with a simple iPod. Released too early, it could go the way of the Newton.

      From: hank
      Jul 03, 03 | 9:54 pm

      I figured by now I’d be able to take my Palm or Visor and just plug it into the expansion bay — or cable (wireless?) connect it to the Powerbook, put the Powerbook in my backpack, and use the handheld as my workspace while standing on the subway, when I want to read or edit something. I was talking about that in forums six or eight years ago and hoping. Still hoping.

      From: Jody
      Aug 20, 03 | 4:49 pm

      “I was talking about that in forums six or eight years ago and hoping. Still hoping.” 6 to 8 years ago? Yeah right…

      Regarding the device, if anyone could do it, it would be apple, they have the people and drive to build the perfect device, just look at the latest gen of iPods…
      And it would be nice if it would only sync with a mac, could slightly help the mac in market share..

      From: Erik
      Aug 25, 03 | 2:09 pm

      I don’t understand that marketing concept… regardless of what anyone thinks regarding the quality of apple products, they DO have a small market share – make it only mac-compatible, and it won’t get enough cash to pick it up off the ground no matter what its capabilities are. I would buy this “iDevice” in a heartbeat, but not if it wasn’t compatible with my Windows PCs at home and work…

      From: Stephanie
      Aug 29, 03 | 2:35 am

      I agree with Erik. If this was only marketed to sync with mac, that certainly would not help the mac in the market share…….Are you seeing planes, is your name tattoo, because I swear you are living on Fantasy Island if you think it would. Just look at how many end users are mac users and how many more end users there are using PC….DUH, sell to the masses. It’s not rocket science. But of course a biased Apple User would think that way. WAKE UP and smell the STARBUCKS…

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