Is Apple building ‘The Device?’ [revisited]

In response to numerous requests from MacDailyNews readers, we are reposting SteveJack’s opinion article “Is Apple building ‘The Device?'” as it originally appeared on December 10, 2002:

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 Inkwell 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 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.

MacDailyNews Note: The original post is here.

FYI: New article(s) from SteveJack are on the way soon!

Related articles:
Apple debuts iPhone: touchscreen mobile phone + widescreen iPod + Internet communicator – January 09, 2007

28 Comments

  1. The iPhone is even greater than what SteveJack envisioned — great than what anyone envisioned — except for the thought of it containing a hard drive.

    If the iPhone had a hard drive in it, it would have been perfect…

    Oh well… I’m still making bets that Apple will release a 6G iPod that is similar to the iPhone, without the phone part of it and with a 100gb drive. I have no doubt this will happen.

  2. David,

    I really believe that the next generation of iPod videos (coming soon) will have this touch screen, and the top model will have a 100 GB hard drive.

    The price will probably be about the same as the present 80 GB iPod.

    This screen-technology is great for the iPhone, but even better for a video iPod with its capacity for storing films, TV shows, and videos.

    After all, 8 GBs doesn’t hold much video material.

  3. Hmmmm…

    iChat has had audio and video capabilities in place and functioning quite nicely for 3 years or so!

    Research?

    As far as an integrated Palm device is goes…
    If you took my current Palm TX… an excellent device with a big screen, Bluetooth, WiFi AND an SD slot already in place…
    THEN put the Treo series’ telephony bits into it and you’d have it!

    Alas, Palm seems to be content with slowly going down the tubes.

    Apple is doing it right!

  4. This is the next “iPod”. When Windows users keep seeing these things in use and realize what they can do with them… along with the ability to use that one Windows app they need… the beautifully functional OSX in a smartphone…

    Couple that with looming Vista tragedy…

  5. Who is Apple trying to kid? This is alien technology. Rumor has it that the so-called “Wingmakers” from the center of the galaxy gave these ideas to SJ in a effort to advance human intelligence. This product doesn’t look humanly made. It is too beautiful and too advanced.

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