Apple surveying market for next-gen Internet handheld device?

“Apple Computer is one of few high-tech companies which may have been responsible for a recent market survey that asked participants to rate their preference of form factor designs for a next-generation Internet handheld device,” Prince McLean reports for AppleInsider.

“The study, conducted earlier this spring by a private firm, placed approximately ten mock portable devices of different overall size, shape, screen size and weight, in front of participants and asked that they rate those devices based on which offered the most appealing structural design,” McLean reports.

“According to one participant, the mock devices consisted mainly of hollow casing enclosures. Behind the mock display area on each device was a printed image of a Yahoo! website displayed in Apple’s Safari web browser,” McLean reports.

McLean reports, “After having the opportunity to handle the devices, the participant was asked in a survey to indicate which features and form factors were most desirable. A broad range of feature possibilities were presented, including RSS access, full Internet access versus partial Internet access, Internet access via hot spots versus Internet anywhere, cell phone capabilities, as well as MP3, movie and television content access.”

“The survey also asked whether the participant preferred the device be optimized for automobile integration rather than the Internet access. One example described a car device with a built in FM transmitter and GPS capabilities. Another asked if the participant would prefer subscribing in advance to an associated service agreement for $50 per month in order to save $200 off the cost of the device or pay two years in advance to save $400. Pricing preferences for the various devices were listed between $200 – $900,” McLean reports.

“While there is little concrete evidence to suggest Apple was responsible for commissioning the survey, information to rule out the Cupertino, Calif.-based iPod maker is also lacking,” McLean reports. “Interestingly, in the months following the survey, the participant matched two of the devices from the study to illustrations that appeared in a September Apple patent filing entitled, ‘Hand held electronic device with multiple touch sensing devices.'”

More on that Apple patent filing, including image, here.


  1. No. It’s Not Apple. They don’t do that kind of thing. Consumers generally don’t know what they want, they need to be shown what they want. Steve Jobs knows this better than anyone..

  2. This is the most useless story yet. There is no information linking this to Apple, but there is no information NOT linking this to Apple, so they conclude that it must be Apple.

    I just want to know if the mockups were white or s**t brown. That info would narrow the choices down quite a bit.

  3. “While there is little concrete evidence to suggest Apple was responsible for commissioning the survey, information to rule out the Cupertino, Calif.-based iPod maker is also lacking,” McLean reports.

    Good Christ. This is one of the cheaper ways I’ve seen a reporter try to draw attention to his story.


  4. IF Apple was doing this, they would NEVER indicate that they were by putting a faux Safari web page on the mockups. I suspect that whoever is doing it is trying to get generate some “Apple” excitment (I mean if it’s from Apple it must be cool) to their test products so as to document some “desirability” to them.

    Magic Word: “food” as in “food for thought”

  5. I can’t figure out where any of this misinformation leads someone to think that Apple is behind it.

    The illustrations are of old technologies, many of them failures. And I agree that Apple is very well aware that people, as a whole, lack creativity and imagination (unless you do your polling in a Gay neighborhood). All people do is regurgitate what is currently popular. It is something Microsoft might do, but not Apple.

    Apple already knows that its next iPod/PDA device will have no buttons at all. It’s touch-sensitive screen will create only the customized buttons it requires for that particular application. This would even include emulating the iPod scroll wheel while in iPod mode. Apple aims for simplicity, and a device with just a smooth screen is extremely simple.

    In less than a year after its production of this buttonless PDA, Apple will take the next logical step and create a true notepad-style computer utilizing the same technology.

    My prediction will be that Apple will innovate XGrid into an auto-configuring, Rendezvous function via any network (ethernet, wireless, internet, etc.). Any home or office with 2 or more Macs will be able to be a mini-supercomputer, sharing unused clock cycles for CPU intensive projects. No new equipment would be required and businesses will see a huge boost in over systems’ performances. At the same time, hard drive space can be made into a virtual RAID array as well. Screamingly fast transfer rates via parallel connections with multiple hard drives, and no data loss if any hard drive or Mac were to fail. The Windows machine will be left alone to whir and crawl in their own little isolated corners.

    Boys, ya gotta start thinkin’ far outside the box. YOU are exactly why Apple doesn’t poll the general population.

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