“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.