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Ultra-portable Apple notebook to splash down at Macworld Expo - Page 8

post #281 of 296
I do like a good technology discussion!!!

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Originally Posted by appleeinstein View Post

Hey, I'd be totally excited if that was the case. I was just trying to demonstrate that unless Apple is losing money on the 16GB iPod Touch, then there is no way that 64GB of memory is going to cost $1000. Probably a lot less.

Agreed! Now I will say that he flash in the Touch is likely to b a slower grade but the point remains that it is very dense. There aren't many processes for that new generation of flash.
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Exactly. I think that Apple can make a no-HDD laptop that's priced reasonably. Hence the discussion of the iPod Touch's prices in re chip costs.

Yep very possible and very doable. The question is is it the path that Apple follows?
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Under $800? That's awesome but I doubt they would do that; probably not enough profit. The deal with this computer will be usability/portability/portable power, not cheapness. I don't think they are marketing it as "get a sortaMac for ultra cheap that's ultraportable" as much as "this full-power MacBook will do everything you ever needed in the realm of portability and more." But I agree that it should be under $1200 or they will have trouble getting people to buy it. We are talking about a full-featured computer without an optical drive or HDD and ostensibly multitouch - pricing that at $749 would totally upset the market. Not that THAT would be a bad thing. For Apple, that is.

Well the first thing is that we are talking about a small machine with possibly fewer features than its larger cousins. I honestly believe the issue with the current Ultra Mobile PC's is that they are simply priced to high and people cannot credit them with that much value. No matter how you look at it the small machines do not offer much beyond portability. Apple can some what address the usability issue with the release of new technology for the man machine interface. But I don't think they can over come the thought that many consumers have which is there isn't much there for my money. Which in reality is pretty much true.
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The biggest problem with tablets is that they are niche products. Apple needs to change that.

I think they are already doing this with the Touch and the iPhone even though that might not have been their original goal. Really when it comes down to it all I need is a larger iPhone, that because of the display size. It doesn't need to be extremely large either.
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But how flexible is flexible? I have been keeping track of polychrome e-paper development, etc, but I have yet to see anything that can actually do a 0 degree angle in a >1mm radius of curvature. And unfortunately that's what my model would require. I think. What's the maximum radius of curvature that you can have with something like that?

Some of them extremely flexible much like paper. It was a very good article you should check out a library. I don't know of an material that can with stand bending to that radius repeatedly, but I see that as just a design issue. Some of the displays where capable of being rolled up like a scroll. We could very well end up with a 'pad' that stores itself like the fine works from the beginning of recorded history. Your next iPod could very well be something that looks like one of those AA flashlights.
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LOL - I meant before 2009. I agree that it will be hard to have a basic glass LCD folder, but could you have a glass LCD (hence no new multitouch technology) with the central 4mm or so a flexible epaper display that doesn't require a bezel? Sure, you would probably lose the touchscreen sensitivity there, but since your finger is bigger than 4mm wide the screen would still be able to tell where your finger was. Granted, data entry with a stylus wouldn't be perfect but we've been dealing with two monitors on Photoshop for a while now.

I can't ever envision running photoshop on what amounts to a PDA. While what you describe might be acceptable to many I don't see it that way myself. I'd rather they wait on the right technology.
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That's one of the reasons that the tablet market has failed to take off, IMHO. Smartphones are becoming the easiest ways to consume information (I find myself using my iPhone on WiFi to look something up on Wikipedia while I'm sitting at my computer since it's just more convenient than using the computer) and so it doesn't make much sense to have a "tablet computer" for doing the job of a smartphone. It's bulky and it requires mobile broadband or WiFi.

Believe me I understand the consumption, it is all I can do to resist going out and buying an iPhone right now. However I know I would be frustrated with the device as it is now. Hopefully either Apple will release a new model or somebody else will come out with a better computer. Computer being basically what we are talking about. I'm not sure if I can wait all the way to the middle of next year to be honest.

I'm still tempted by OpenMoko too. Hopefully they can deliver a good product in December.
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I think that the people who want a Tablet Mac aren't looking for something to help with information consumption. It's not much easier to sit on my couch and read Engadget on a tablet as opposed to my MacBook, and it's a lot bulkier than my phone.

Well I have to disagree with that as I've tried to surf from a laptop on the couch. A well engineered tablet would very much make that easier. By a long shot. Just to clarify that really doesn't matter if the unit is a Touch or something bigger. The primary thing that makes it a better device is that you get rid of the hinged unit.
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In order for Apple to maximize on the tablet idea, they'll need to make extensive data entry possible. Very possible. People want to be able to travel with a tablet instead of their laptops, and so they don't want to sacrifice versatility for mobility. Unless a tablet can do as much as a real notebook, people will just say "if I wanted that I would get an iPhone." Especially with the upcoming SDK.

As I see it the unit would be of the same family as the Touch and IPhone. Ideally it would have Cell capability built in or be optional. Once you have Bluetooth or wired headsets there really isn't any limitation on the devices size other than the average pocket. At least for a pocket device, there is still room in the family for something much larger.
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Here's one reason I think this upcoming ultraportable will feature a multitouch on-board (and thus naturally independent-tilt) keyboard. This U.S. patent that is explained here by Engadget specifically talks about knowing the difference between finger contact, multi-finger contact, resting, palm contact, scrolling, and even "handwriting" (apparently by figuring out if you are mimicking the action of holding a pen).

It would be an interesting machine. Note to that handwriting recognition would be key for a tablet also. I'm not sure how much progress Apple has made here, or even if the current "i" hardware can handle a stylus. What I do know is that it would make a good alternative data entry method.
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This is a multitouch keyboard and touchpad combination. And it wouldn't make sense to have a touchpad like this without a screen behind it; you would never know where the keys were. \

If Apple is planning on applying this, the greatest place to do so would be on an ultraportable. And if you are going to take advantage of a keyboard, you have to be able to rest your fingers on it. So I would hope that it would be able to be tilted separate from the screen so that you could actually use it sensibly.

So assuming that the folding tablet idea doesn't work, what other innovative ways would there be to have a two-screen (at least one of which was ultramultitouch with keyboard) tablet? Or something with the functionality of a tablet (holding it at a 90 degree angle and writing on the screen, carrying it like a legal pad, etc). You know, an Apple-worthy concept.

The real innovation doesn't involve two screens but rather one that takes up less space than its physical size. That is a roll up or folding screen.
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Of course I naturally hope that they can pull something together using flexible displays or something. 'Cause that would quite literally pwn. The rest of the market, that is.

Only if they can get a lock on the market. Unfortunately this is not technology that Apple is developing, so it is likely to go to the highest bidder first.

Another tech that might be here soon is the idea of a micro projector. Your PDA/iPhone/Whatever could potentially have a second display that gets projected on to a convenient surface. For the most part I think this would be difficult to use all the time but that is why it would have to be a second display. Getting such into an 8mm case is still a ways off from what I understand.


Dave
post #282 of 296
What about the incorporation of a phone / multimedia telephony experience in this next product? I'm not sure this has been mentioned and yet it may be achievable.
post #283 of 296
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Originally Posted by PhuzzyToes View Post

What about the incorporation of a phone / multimedia telephony experience in this next product? I'm not sure this has been mentioned and yet it may be achievable.

Any thing that Apple comes out with that is part of the "i" line of hardware, that is the iPod Touch and the iPhone, has the potential for cell communications. Further I would not be surprised at all to see Apple move this technology into the laptop line as a standard feature. Telephony however would be first seen in additional "i" products.

Dave
post #284 of 296
I'm of two minds regarding a folded screen. On the one hand it's efficient. But on the other hand, it does not seem durable to me. I wouldn't think Apple is moving toward delicate assemblies.

I believe there is a market opportunity for an ultra-portable notebook in the family hardware type: an elegant, optical-disk-free, harddrive-free, cell-enabled, sturdy, thin and light-weight tablet. By tablet, I mean multi-touch screen akin to Jeff Han's project (TED talk, February 2006).
post #285 of 296
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Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

I do like a good technology discussion!!!

Equally.

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Well the first thing is that we are talking about a small machine with possibly fewer features than its larger cousins. I honestly believe the issue with the current Ultra Mobile PC's is that they are simply priced to high and people cannot credit them with that much value. No matter how you look at it the small machines do not offer much beyond portability. Apple can some what address the usability issue with the release of new technology for the man machine interface. But I don't think they can over come the thought that many consumers have which is there isn't much there for my money. Which in reality is pretty much true.

I agree in part; the thing about UMPCs is that they are seen as bulky, hard-to-use smartphones without the phones. Hence, not very smart. And not good for much of anything either. Apparently the only thing that they are good for is mobile media and mobile gaming or mobile internet use. Nice, but if it's too big to be pocketed then you might as well just use a laptop. Sure, it's a little less convenient for taking out of your backpack and using on a subway, but the difference isn't great enough to purchase both. Puh-lease.

The other end of the spectrum is the full-featured convertible laptops. My friend has this one, and it's just like a high-power desktop replacement PC except that the screen flips over and it goes into ubercool mode. It's amazing for Photoshop, games, and walk-around note-taking of all kinds. But it can't be used with a great deal of mobility as far as mobile surfing or consumer stuff is concerned simply because it's two inches thick and weighs half a ton. There's no way to hold that in front of you while you're sitting at a bus stop and read a blog on it - the thing is massive! The tablet ability isn't mobile enough to be worth spending a premium for.

If Apple releases this ultraportable/tablet/whatever, I see it as bridging the gap between these two product families. Something that has the fully mobile functionality of a UMPC but the versatility and productivity of a notebook or convertible. Thus the whole thing about "super-chic and impossibly thin" - a lightweight aluminum 13" tablet that somehow has the ability for dedicated text entry.

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Really when it comes down to it all I need is a larger iPhone, that because of the display size. It doesn't need to be extremely large either.

How much larger? I've got fine eyesight and I find the iPhone very simple for just about every form of information consumption. Just get a flash plugin and things are GREAT. I find it easier to read blogs, check weather, do email, check facebook, and check the news on my iPhone than on my MacBook.

As far as flexible displays are concerned, I am sure Apple couldn't be coming out with anything TOO revolutionary at this point in the game. There's just an outside chance that they might use it for a hinge or something.

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I can't ever envision running photoshop on what amounts to a PDA. While what you describe might be acceptable to many I don't see it that way myself. I'd rather they wait on the right technology.

What about a 13" PDA? Any tablet released by Apple MUST run OS X, not Mobile OS X. If it runs Mobile OS X, then it will be seen as an iPod Touch with extra screen real estate. Not that I wouldn't mind it if my iPhone would stretch out a couple extra inches, but I seriously doubt that many people would buy an iPhone or iPod Touch Ultra just because its screen was a bit bigger.

If it runs OS X, then the only limit to usability is the innards (processor, etc). Which are probably negotiable. Can you imagine how amazing it would be for a professional artist to take his ultraslim 13" TouchMac out to the field and do sketches in Photoshop right on the screen? Photoshop on my friend's tablet Gateway is positively astounding. Now imagine using the same TouchMac for watching movies, reading emails, writing emails (either by putting it on your lap and typing on the semitactile pressure-sensitive keyboard or by designing your own one-handed keyboard and doing it like that), flicking through photos, giving a presentation (using a stand, of course), or setting up on your desk with a Bluetooth keyboard and Mighty Mouse and writing a novel. That's what people would go crazy after, and that's what Steve Jobs would love.

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Well I have to disagree with that as I've tried to surf from a laptop on the couch. A well engineered tablet would very much make that easier. By a long shot. Just to clarify that really doesn't matter if the unit is a Touch or something bigger. The primary thing that makes it a better device is that you get rid of the hinged unit.

The hinge is bad until you want to type fast and still see the screen. Besides that a hinge just helps prop the screen up. Both of these functions are slightly important, but a good enough virtual keyboard should be able to get around them.

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As I see it the unit would be of the same family as the Touch and IPhone. Ideally it would have Cell capability built in or be optional. Once you have Bluetooth or wired headsets there really isn't any limitation on the devices size other than the average pocket. At least for a pocket device, there is still room in the family for something much larger.

Well, bluetooth headset screens are still awfully expensive. Until those become mainstream I see the more-screen-real-estate-means-less-pocketable battle raging ad infinitum.

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It would be an interesting machine. Note to that handwriting recognition would be key for a tablet also. I'm not sure how much progress Apple has made here, or even if the current "i" hardware can handle a stylus. What I do know is that it would make a good alternative data entry method.

The real innovation doesn't involve two screens but rather one that takes up less space than its physical size. That is a roll up or folding screen.

Another tech that might be here soon is the idea of a micro projector. Your PDA/iPhone/Whatever could potentially have a second display that gets projected on to a convenient surface. For the most part I think this would be difficult to use all the time but that is why it would have to be a second display. Getting such into an 8mm case is still a ways off from what I understand.

The current touchscreen stuff can only handle a stylus that's specially engineered to mimic the capacitive qualities of human flesh. But the patent isn't talking about using a stylus. It's using the fingers-holding-pencil gesture to mimic a stylus and the computer is supposed to be able to tell (and put the point of the virtual stylus a centimeter or so in front of your fingers). Amazing alternate data entry method, but touch typing is still a lot faster and easier. Virtual handwriting cramps, anyone?

I'd love to see a folding screen; I just don't think the technology is all there yet. Especially not for Apple to release now. Same with a microprojector.

The one thing that might be an outside possibility would be a polychrome epaper pop-out that would display a large part of the screen at an angle while you were typing in landscape mode on the touchscreen. That would help with overall data entry but it would possibly be messy. Basically my dual screen idea except that they don't merge and the top one slides inside the bottom one when not in use.

Remember, any dual screen or otherwise two-part design will need to be less messy than Gateway's 2-inch convertible system.

And for the record, I'm nearly positive that a device like this would start to incorporate more phone-like qualities. Telephony, built-in 3G or WiMax/whatever-else-is-coming radios, etc. Although Jobs' dream is for everyone to have an iPhone, a MacTouch, and a touchscreen iMac for extensive desktop stuff.

Although with the way this MacTouch is sounding, you could probably just slide it into a stand that's linked to an extra HDD and optical drive and there you would have your iMac.

By the way, has anyone thought about having mainly SSDD in this MacTouch with an optional 1.8" HDD for files? 1.8" isn't fast enough to run programs off of, but it should be fast enough for file storage and it would maximize that sort of storage onboard.
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post #286 of 296
Quote:
Originally Posted by appleeinstein View Post

Equally.



I agree in part; the thing about UMPCs is that they are seen as bulky, hard-to-use smartphones without the phones. Hence, not very smart. And not good for much of anything either. Apparently the only thing that they are good for is mobile media and mobile gaming or mobile internet use. Nice, but if it's too big to be pocketed then you might as well just use a laptop. Sure, it's a little less convenient for taking out of your backpack and using on a subway, but the difference isn't great enough to purchase both. Puh-lease.

One of the reasons I would like to see a slightly larger iPhone, that is more hardware capable, is this issue of "what good is it without the phone". There have been times when I've heard comments to that effect and the reality for most people is that UMPC's don't have the usefulness to justify their expense.

It is very instructive to see how ASUS has changed that equation with the Eee PC. The question right now is the devices current good sales number just a bubble. Right now I'm under the impression that the reason it is selling well is that there is little out there that is smaller and reasonably priced.
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The other end of the spectrum is the full-featured convertible laptops. My friend has this one, and it's just like a high-power desktop replacement PC except that the screen flips over and it goes into ubercool mode. It's amazing for Photoshop, games, and walk-around note-taking of all kinds. But it can't be used with a great deal of mobility as far as mobile surfing or consumer stuff is concerned simply because it's two inches thick and weighs half a ton. There's no way to hold that in front of you while you're sitting at a bus stop and read a blog on it - the thing is massive! The tablet ability isn't mobile enough to be worth spending a premium for.

I've seen such machines in the stores and frankly come to pretty much the same conclusion - to massive. At least for the usage I'm envision with respect to tablets. I'm thinking, at least for a larger tablet, that the device not be heavier than about 12 ounces. That for something with maybe a 6x9" screen. It needs to be thing too, ideally under 3/4".
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If Apple releases this ultraportable/tablet/whatever, I see it as bridging the gap between these two product families. Something that has the fully mobile functionality of a UMPC but the versatility and productivity of a notebook or convertible. Thus the whole thing about "super-chic and impossibly thin" - a lightweight aluminum 13" tablet that somehow has the ability for dedicated text entry.

Once you get below a 10" screen the whole laptop human interface needs to go out the door. This is where a tablet and a touch based interface would be ideal. UMPC's, of the current designs, are just not useful enough to over come the troubled attempts at a keyboard interface. SOooo, what I'm saying is that once you get below a certain screen size the traditional laptop keyboard interface becomes unworkable for the vast majority of users.
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How much larger? I've got fine eyesight and I find the iPhone very simple for just about every form of information consumption. Just get a flash plugin and things are GREAT. I find it easier to read blogs, check weather, do email, check facebook, and check the news on my iPhone than on my MacBook.

First; I suspect that you must be a bit younger because eventually you will have visual problems with things up close. That however while a problem isn't the whole story.

Having looked at both the iPhone and Touch more or less side by side the very slightly larger screen of the Touch is noticeable. Now the question becomes how much larger of a device. Keeping the same ratios (about 16:9) on the device I think something 2.8 to 3 inches in width and correspondingly longer would work nicely. The display itself should be very close to 16:9, in fact I see it as more important than the physical size in the end. While such width would put the length of the device at 5 to 5.5. inches I still believe that is pocketable, further it shouldn't be much of a problem to trim a little from the end bezels.

Now many will say that this is only adding a half inch in width to the display or some place around that. Depending on how tightly the screen can be fitted into the device you might be able to see a full 3/4 of an inch increase in width over what we have now. I would have to say that that would make all the difference in the world. This would especially be the case if Apple could up the pixel density a bit. Ideally supporting 640 x 480, which I believe is doable.

Go to 640 x 480 resolution and you effectively have an excellent computer screen, more than enough cell display, a fantastic iPod display and whatever all rolled into one. This would be about 170ppi which isn't excessively denser than the current display (480 pixels across 2.8"). So visually it is still manageable, physically the device isn't that much bigger but that can be an advantage as it would be easier to handle.
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As far as flexible displays are concerned, I am sure Apple couldn't be coming out with anything TOO revolutionary at this point in the game. There's just an outside chance that they might use it for a hinge or something.

It is probably a stretch for this year but it is something in the pipe line.
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What about a 13" PDA? Any tablet released by Apple MUST run OS X, not Mobile OS X. If it runs Mobile OS X, then it will be seen as an iPod Touch with extra screen real estate. Not that I wouldn't mind it if my iPhone would stretch out a couple extra inches, but I seriously doubt that many people would buy an iPhone or iPod Touch Ultra just because its screen was a bit bigger.

While it would be nice if it ran Intel OS/X I don't think this is a requirement. Further I just don't think the technology exists to deliver such a machine on X86. At least not something with public knowledge, though I accept that this could be done fairly easily on a custom processor SOC.

In any event I think the demand for Apps on the iPhone and Touch have highlighted to Apple the demand that there is for such a solution.
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If it runs OS X, then the only limit to usability is the innards (processor, etc). Which are probably negotiable. Can you imagine how amazing it would be for a professional artist to take his ultraslim 13" TouchMac out to the field and do sketches in Photoshop right on the screen?

Well I don't buy that there are huge limitations to OS/X mobile. Of course the one bing issue here is that Apple obviously hasn't even finished the OS nor finalized the SDK.
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Photoshop on my friend's tablet Gateway is positively astounding. Now imagine using the same TouchMac for watching movies, reading emails, writing emails (either by putting it on your lap and typing on the semitactile pressure-sensitive keyboard or by designing your own one-handed keyboard and doing it like that), flicking through photos, giving a presentation (using a stand, of course), or setting up on your desk with a Bluetooth keyboard and Mighty Mouse and writing a novel. That's what people would go crazy after, and that's what Steve Jobs would love.

The thing that is obvious here is that I'm focused on the small and you on the large. Either way I think Apple could have hits that go way out of the ball park.
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The hinge is bad until you want to type fast and still see the screen. Besides that a hinge just helps prop the screen up. Both of these functions are slightly important, but a good enough virtual keyboard should be able to get around them.

Yep I'm sure of it. What that will look like is an open question at this point. Even so I don't think that such a facility would even be required for the surfing a lot of people do.
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Well, bluetooth headset screens are still awfully expensive. Until those become mainstream I see the more-screen-real-estate-means-less-pocketable battle raging ad infinitum.

One really huge issue with Bluetooth is Apples reluctance to support it fully on the current iPhone. They need to get with it as how they support Blutooth to me indicates how they perceive their device in the market place. Right now it looks like they see it as a phone only, better support of bluetooth would change that impression to one of a smart phone / computer.
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The current touchscreen stuff can only handle a stylus that's specially engineered to mimic the capacitive qualities of human flesh. But the patent isn't talking about using a stylus. It's using the fingers-holding-pencil gesture to mimic a stylus and the computer is supposed to be able to tell (and put the point of the virtual stylus a centimeter or so in front of your fingers). Amazing alternate data entry method, but touch typing is still a lot faster and easier. Virtual handwriting cramps, anyone?

I don't believe that Apple has completely dismissed hand writing recognition on these sorts of devices either. If they can get it to perform reasonably well then it could very well become the normal data entry method.
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I'd love to see a folding screen; I just don't think the technology is all there yet. Especially not for Apple to release now. Same with a microprojector.

I'm not sure how soon the flexible displays will be in coming. The biggest problem is that some of them are organic and the display elements have a limited life time.

As to a micro projector that does seem a bit further off. The big problem here is what do you project the image on to.
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The one thing that might be an outside possibility would be a polychrome epaper pop-out that would display a large part of the screen at an angle while you were typing in landscape mode on the touchscreen. That would help with overall data entry but it would possibly be messy. Basically my dual screen idea except that they don't merge and the top one slides inside the bottom one when not in use.

A variant of digital ink I suppose. The big problem with these is response time.
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Remember, any dual screen or otherwise two-part design will need to be less messy than Gateway's 2-inch convertible system.

And for the record, I'm nearly positive that a device like this would start to incorporate more phone-like qualities. Telephony, built-in 3G or WiMax/whatever-else-is-coming radios, etc. Although Jobs' dream is for everyone to have an iPhone, a MacTouch, and a touchscreen iMac for extensive desktop stuff.

I don't disagree about the devices ability to communicate. I wouldn't be surprised if part of Jobs goal though is to do away with the laptop altogether and establish smart communications between the pocket device and a desktop computer or server. Though I hate to admit it something Star Track like.
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Although with the way this MacTouch is sounding, you could probably just slide it into a stand that's linked to an extra HDD and optical drive and there you would have your iMac.

One idea that I keep going over is the idea of a laptop, or desktop for that matter, having a built in port for an iPhone/Touch like device. This to afford keeping the devices constantly in sync. In the case of a laptop the port would be something like a hard drive slot or card bus. Thus you would always have with you, all things of interest. The iPod then becomes the data storage area for the laptop. Sort of like the laptops heart. I could even go so far as seeing the "pod" as the whole of he CPU and storage for the laptop shell.

The other alternative is just smart syncing over the RF channels available to the "pod". The goal is to move as much of your life as possible right into your pocket.
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By the way, has anyone thought about having mainly SSDD in this MacTouch with an optional 1.8" HDD for files? 1.8" isn't fast enough to run programs off of, but it should be fast enough for file storage and it would maximize that sort of storage onboard.

It is certainly possible. The difference here is that I'm kinda partial to the "iPod" slot idea mentioned above. To me this would be a huge advantage, in that data, would always be with you. There certainly would be performance issues in some cases but I think in the majority of the cases it would be very nice. This would allow the user to leverage the type of storage that is best for him.

The other big advantage is no syncing as such. Need to take the "Touch" on a hike for the music, no problem just unplug and go. Ideally; in this case, the "Touch" would be a bit more capable that the current one. But it doesn't have to be outlandishly so.

Dave
post #287 of 296
While the vision of Star-trek-esque complete interworking between pocket devices and desktop productivity is awfully cool and would be quite efficient, it would require quite a bit more than the current market could provide. Presently almost all productivity-oriented mobile devices must have a high level of autonomy because the number of things they could potentially sync with is so varied. Plug-in compatiblity like you are describing would necessitate the consumer buying both. In other words, Apple would be selling a Tablet with detachable iPod Touch. And though that would have amazing application ... I'm just unsure how the market would react to that.

And although I am sure that handwriting recognition is going to be featured in touchscreen devices, it still is necessarily limited. Touch-typing is a must.
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post #288 of 296
Quote:
Originally Posted by appleeinstein View Post

While the vision of Star-trek-esque complete interworking between pocket devices and desktop productivity is awfully cool and would be quite efficient, it would require quite a bit more than the current market could provide.

I'm not to sure that it is that far out of reach. You have the OLPC people doing mesh networking at low cost. What we are looking for is simply a manufacture that can deliver a stack of hardware. protocols and software that are open and easy to work with.
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Presently almost all productivity-oriented mobile devices must have a high level of autonomy because the number of things they could potentially sync with is so varied. Plug-in compatiblity like you are describing would necessitate the consumer buying both. In other words, Apple would be selling a Tablet with detachable iPod Touch.

Or a laptop with a detachable iPod. I really like this idea and don't frankly see it as buying both anymore than buying a laptop whit a hard drive is buying both.

The software stack to create or maybe better, deal with that autonomy will be a bit of a bear to create but really shouldn't be impossible. What you need is something that is smart enough to let the user resolve any collisions.
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And though that would have amazing application ... I'm just unsure how the market would react to that.

I'd go nuts for sure. Such a device would allow you to move seamlessly through your day. That is from your morning cup of Java, to your ride to work, through work and back home to your personal life. The biggest issue is enough storage to do this in. I don't think it will be a huge problem in the near future.
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And although I am sure that handwriting recognition is going to be featured in touchscreen devices, it still is necessarily limited. Touch-typing is a must.

I agree. The trick here is making the system smoothly transistion from one input method to the next with a minimal of interference to the user.

Dave
post #289 of 296
With most everyone having a desktop and/or laptop, in my opinion there is a gap in Apple's lineup. That's the area between the desktop and the phone, be it iPhone or a cell phone. Apple's current lineup of laptops though svelte, can be a bit much to lug around.

There appears to be a growing need for a "thin client' to cover off the problems of luggability, data security and productiveness. With WiFi being fairly readily available, connectivity isn't a problem anymore, so that's a given. For a thin client, do you really need a optical drive? I would say not. Also with USB flash drives being larger and cheaper, who needs an optical drive.

From a security standpoint, a thin client scuttles the issues of security as one would be more inclined to save information on the server or the desktop or on .Mac . If apple can make the ultra-portable fairly inexpensively, losing one (sigh) is not as big an issue.

SSD is definitely boon for this market segment. Low power consumption, faster speeds and smaller form factor. LED backlighting is fantastic, but is currently available only on the MBP. Again LED backlighting is less power hungry and visually impressive.

These are the issues, I've been battling in the past with really no real solution in the marketplace. (Fujitsu, Toshiba and Sony have some good alternatives, but big $$$). OLPC looks nice, but again too toy-like to take seriously.

When the ASUS Eeepc came out in November, it looked to fit the thin client profile. It looked a little less business-like, but I liked the specs. SSD, LED backlight, Xanthros Linux, small form factor, under 1 kg (under 2 lbs), WiFi enabled, packaged apps. So I bought one. To my surprise this little PC actually is quite good, if recognized it as a thin client. I can tuck it under my arm or in a small backpack to the coffee shop, watch movies, surf and even connect to work and telecommute. Hey it even fits nicely on airplane trays...in coach...and when the guy infront of you reclines his seat!

There's a whole community of Eeepc hacks, who are doing fantastic things. Infact one guy claims to run OS X on his Eeepc, albeit slow and limited. But things are happening.

If Apple can improve on the Eeepc, it would have a killer product on it's hands. With iMac sales going great, dare I say a product call MacBookThin or MacBookLite or MacTablet, it will push people from their desktops and to go mobile. And when they dock their MBL to their iMac, they could use the power of the desktop to backup (TimeMachine) and integrate their mobile work.

On the otherhand Apple can't go too high end at the expense of necrotizing it's other properties in the lineup. If history serves us well, Apple usually comes up with the goods. The only real problem, is utilizing SSD and LED and being able to hit a price point. With ASUS producing the Eeepc and selling them for $399, I suspect this ultraMacBook will land in the $600-700ish price range to compete with the Windows/Linux laptops.

The ultraMacBook is an easy sell to the MacHeads. The tougher sell is to the other consumers, but if Apple plays up the halo effect of iPod, iPod touch, iPhone and iMac it could dominate this market segment or at the least dictate it's direction.

Opinions?
post #290 of 296
Yes, I would agree entirely. This probably needs to be a product that competes primarily with the EeePC, UMPCs, and no-keyboard tablets. The question is what the form factor will be....

You could have an ultrathin 13" MB, but that would potentially be somewhat limiting. Plus, Apple wants to move away from physical keyboards. I'm thinking that a sub .6" thick 12" diagonal tablet is probably the most likely configuration.
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post #291 of 296
Now that I think of it, what would totalyl geek out the industry is if the Ultra-portable notebook came with a keyboard a-la-iPhone/iTouch. The notebook would be two LCD screens, the top part for pure visual purposes with the lower screen doing double duty as an extended screen and virtual keyboard / writing or art tablet. You'd have this super thin notebook, similar to a Nintendo DS, but bigger and using the lessons learned in the iPhone/iTouch with regards to human interfacing, there'd be no equal on the market.

Furthermore this kind of virtual interfacing will allow users to customize their keyboards to meet their biomechanical preferences. For example relocatable track pads, multi-finger scrolling and who knows what.

The interfaces on the iPhone appear to be quite robust, so adaption to a notebook should be quite easy. Artists would love a notebook of this ilk, as the lower portion would be their tablet. Videographers could use the lower interface to move objects around with a finger and see the results on the upper screen. Quake fans would love this.

On the maintenance side, apple only has to stock two types of LCD and modularly replace them when one fails. Don't have to keep a ton of small parts like Keyboards. If this technology comes to past, we'll in for some exciting times. If they put in an accelerometer we could see augmented displays depending on the orientation.

Mad Scientist? or things to come?
post #292 of 296
Well, very interesting reading indeed...

I can count on one hand the amount of times I have used the optical drive of my MBPs in the last few years, so as long as there was a way to do a reinstall etc without a DVD (supply a key or something, or a separate drive?) I'd be happy.

I'm a photographer, so for people like me, as long as it has some decent horsepower to sort RAW images etc, and a 100Gig+ HDD, this sounds ideal!

Interesting times ahead!
post #293 of 296
Quote:
Originally Posted by macgroovy View Post

Now that I think of it, what would totalyl geek out the industry is if the Ultra-portable notebook came with a keyboard a-la-iPhone/iTouch. The notebook would be two LCD screens, the top part for pure visual purposes with the lower screen doing double duty as an extended screen and virtual keyboard / writing or art tablet. You'd have this super thin notebook, similar to a Nintendo DS, but bigger and using the lessons learned in the iPhone/iTouch with regards to human interfacing, there'd be no equal on the market.

Furthermore this kind of virtual interfacing will allow users to customize their keyboards to meet their biomechanical preferences. For example relocatable track pads, multi-finger scrolling and who knows what.

The interfaces on the iPhone appear to be quite robust, so adaption to a notebook should be quite easy. Artists would love a notebook of this ilk, as the lower portion would be their tablet. Videographers could use the lower interface to move objects around with a finger and see the results on the upper screen. Quake fans would love this.

On the maintenance side, apple only has to stock two types of LCD and modularly replace them when one fails. Don't have to keep a ton of small parts like Keyboards. If this technology comes to past, we'll in for some exciting times. If they put in an accelerometer we could see augmented displays depending on the orientation.

Mad Scientist? or things to come?

Yeah, good idea. I already mentioned it here.

The problem with my idea would be that the sides would have trouble coming together without a border.

The problem with just having dual screens is that A. It limits you to the very bulky lap-top form factor and B. Screens are much more expensive than keyboards.
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post #294 of 296
what market is this "ultraportable" targeting???if it's business they have several to choose from including a nice unit from "thinkpad"levovo, so how would apple add "value" as SJ likes to say???
how is this thing better than the thinkpad12" unless it's smaller, as in screen 9-11 and feature rich???
isn't it a very small market???? unless it's a modified iphone with phone, BT, laptop....then it's an everything unit.
that would be sweet to carry one product that can do double or triple duty.

maybe this thing has a "virtual" smart keyboard, at business meetings this would rock, and talk about the buzz. At AI we ofter don't think enough out of the box as apple does. i'm always impressed by apple's ability to shock and awe.
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post #295 of 296
I have to agree, trying to put two screens into one contiguous display is very challenging. Can't image how one would even start. That said, if we continue with the thought of living with dual screens, I'm sure there are real world applications that would love the added visual real estate.

Image if the accelerometer was in use, the mere fact of changing orientation would cause you to have two portait oriented screens, with one screen doing double duty as input. If this notebook could improve upon Microsoft's Surface product, it will have beaten MS to the punch of bringing touch technology to the masses.

It'd be real cool to just drag a file from the surface, across the screen to the actual device, like a USB drive hanging from the side of the MB. With object orientation being more prominent in every day life, making it visual oriented would excel its adoption by the masses.

True keyboards are cheaper than touch screens, but the versatility of touch far outweights KB technology. Hopefully SSD, LED screens will provide enough financial relief to make it possible. Despite all that we've dreamed up here, the one question lingers, can Apple create a MB with all these bells and whistles at a good price. And can it do it without canabalizing the MBP?

Sadly, I don't think it can. Plus apple likes to price their products on the premium end. For MacHeads it's worth it, but for the general public it's a harder sell unless it total knocks ppls socks off. The innovations will probably creep into the MBP first and while rest of the lines get the hand me downs.
post #296 of 296
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQB View Post

How 'bout a trackpad that is actually a touch that pops out?



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