RUMOR: Apple preps ultra-portable multi-touch wireless device

“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,” David Sieger reports for Eye On Apple.

“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,” Sieger reports.

“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,” Sieger reports.

“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,” Sieger reports.

More in the full article here.


  1. @DLMeyer:

    Why would Apple have to scrap the MacBook Air just to have another, smaller device? This device would fit many other needs, particularly if it uses Apple’s Inkwell handwriting technology (which has languished on OS X). This could be a much better option for people to carry with them rather than a laptop, but would not take the place of a laptop because the data entry via keyboard would not be available.

    It’s amazing that this analyst said this product would be “more than likely” based on Apple’s current mobile platform. Uhhh, why would Apple develop a new OS when it has the best one already in OS X?

    The whole power behind Apple’s products is OS X, which was significantly revamped for Leopard, and no other manufacturer can compete with the power and flexibility of OS X in a mobile environment. Sheesh.

  2. A 5.2 inch screen would be slightly larger than the iphone, which is about as big as you want a pocket device to get. If this is just the screen, then the device would be larger than that. There’s no way this a “pocket” device. unless you have really big pockets.

  3. It will be called a ‘Communcator’

    I saw it on star Trek. It will have GPS, two-way video and info on the proper way to make a Betelgeuse gin and tonic (replacing the olive with a lizard eyeball from Planet Zorks in the Neutral zone).

  4. I doubt this “product” is anything more than a rumor. It just doesn’t make sense from any real practical standpoint. It doesn’t fit into Apple’s lineup, and goes against much of what Apple and Steve Jobs stands for.

    One of Apple’s core philosophies is simplicity. In terms of product lines, ease of use, design, etc. They keep things pretty clearly delineated. This product wouldn’t fit that strategy.

    A fatter iPhone/Touch? Jobs has said on numerous occasions that he thinks for much of what we do, the small form factor of the iPhone is perfect. Watch the D Life discussion with him, Bill Gates, and Walt Mossberg. He doesn’t see this type of product as making sense, he doesn’t think tablets make sense either. He also doesn’t seem to see much market for a TRUE subnotebook. If he did, the Air would probably not have a full size screen and keyboard.

    However, as jdiz says up above, a touch-based in-car system might make sense. Think of Microsoft/Ford’s Sync system. Now imagine it as done by Apple. Touch-based GPS, Media, Climate, etc. control. Again, this idea doesn’t quite fit with Apple’s current strategy, but I could see this as making a lot more sense than a 5.2″ portable. We’ll see!

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