Originally Posted by mobilesalesman
Appleeinstein, if that device is the new Apple UMPC, that is not going to attract many mainstream users. That is too large to be jacket pocket size and looks pretty much like the huge variety of UMPC's.
The reality is why those UMPC's had such weak sales are they are too large to be mobile and be stored in your jacket pocket so they were compared to everything not jacket size. Also virtually all the articles and reviews hated the lack of a touch type keyboard. If Apple tried to sell that type of device it will likely get similar results as to all the UMPC's thus far, weak sales.
What Intel has been promoting for these chips is pocket size devices. What is really missing is the first pocket laptop that can run any desktop application. I could see their prototype device with a thin touch type keyboard more of an optional clamshell design really gain a lot of interest for laptop users wanting a simple pocket alternative.
The UMPC line sunk because it was too big for pocket size but lacked any decent degree of productivity. The DialKey system was distracting and hard to use, and no one could get any kind of speed on it. If the UMPCs had been given a simple pocket touch typing keyboard, they would have been seen as a productivity tool rather than a novelty, and their sales would have been much better.
Originally Posted by mobilesalesman
The history of slate/pen only devices has been terrible. That is what the UMPC's did with their 7" versions which only sold 350,000 units worldwide! Same goes for the tablet pc, etc.
A device that is just small enough to fit in a large coat pocket yet is as large as possible given those restraints so that an easy touch type keybord input can be incorporated is what will really sell like hot cakes. That would be the first ever pocket laptop and if ran full windows programs, even MS fans like me would be an Apple convert.
The only problem with this is that the idea of a "pocket keyboard" is a little bit hard to work with, since the whole point of a pocket keyboard is touch typing, and you can't actually touch type on a keyboard that's less than 7" wide and 3.5" deep. And even if the screen is pillarboxed inside speakers with a clamshell design (to allow for a greater-than 16:10 aspect ratio overall), you still need some physical margins on the keyboard, which places the physical device dimensions at 8" x 4.5" x <1"; that's only barely pocketable. Additionally, you are still restricted to a notebook form factor, which means that the switch-to-slate functionality is missing.
Originally Posted by mobilesalesman
I've been a long time MS user and business man. What most business people hoped for with the UMPC was a simple pocket laptop that enabled them to run business software typically only available in desktop OS. MS pushed everyone to build bulky bible size 7" devices. Guess what IDC just reported only 350,000 UMPC sold worldwide in 07' http://origamiproject.com/forums/thread/29265.aspx
I like that prototype length and depth but I feel a built in touch type keyboard is needed. The UMPC concept is to provide the ability to run full windows programs and thus you are not just viewing files like a PDA, etc but you want to do real computing. Thus a touch type keyboard would be what most would prefer. I would like it to have touch screen so that you have the option of using pen input and that would also eliminate the needs for a mouse.
If Apple does not make the same mistakes of the UMPC market they could really strike a blow to MS. Business users all use laptops and a large percent really do not need a super fast computer nor do they really need a huge screen. I still use an old HP Jornada and I still get business people saying what is that? can it run windows? that would be perfect if it ran windows? Those type of clamshell devices sold over 2.3 million each year and they could only run MS applications not full windows. If Apple makes a modern version that can run Windows applications that would sell tens of millions and would change the mind of many die hard MS users like me.
I've asked 50 business people what they wanted and all but one said they would love to have a modern version of my HP Jornada if it could run Windows. They also said that they prefer a touch type keyboard. If you look at the statistics of laptop sales, there are over 113 million sold this year with a huge base of users whom all prefer a touch type keyboard but a good percent just want a simple pocket laptop.
The Jornada is 5" wide - hardly pocketable. And all of Apple's patents point to a touch type tactile feedback onscreen multitouch smart keyboard.
Originally Posted by Hiro
5" is the full dimension of an iPhone. I think it needs to be a bit bigger. Personally I have been looking for a ~10" 6:9 form factor. Before anyone gags, that is essentially a steno pad notebook. Just look at a steno pad and think of the possibilities for a portable computer. Along the lines of appleeinstein's mockup, but kill all the bezels except across one end, similar to the iPhones button end. Make the bezel end symmetric, the screen flipable and you get iPhone-like bi-handedness for free too.
What do you mean "screen flipable"? And that mockup was using a high-res promo image of the iPod Touch; did you mean making the screen larger to remove the bezel or making the device itself smaller? And landscape is absolutely the way to go in physical button placement for a device of this size. The bezel won't be so large that you can't stretch your thumb over it to manipulate keys on the left edge of the screen when you are holding it in portrait "steno pad" style.
Originally Posted by melgross
We're so used to large screens, and are always crying out for higher resolutions on even MacBooks, that I question just how many people will enjoy using devices with 768 x 480 screens. There's an interface problem at the least.
If this is a medium sized device, with a screen comfortably smaller than what Ireland wants (I know you're hiding here somewhere!), then that would be small enough to carry around almost everywhere without thinking about it.
The mockup I had was a 7.63" x 4.77" screen, so at 800x500 resolution that's only 105 PPI. At 160 PPI (iPhone) that's 1220x760 resolution. Somewhere in between, perhaps.
Here's the thing: it wouldn't be hard for the Mac Touch to have an updated version of Spaces that works together with multitouch. So you could zoom in within programs just like the iPhone zooms on webpages and such (two-finger pinch), but you could also zoom in on the overall desktop (three-finger pinch). This would take care of the screen size problem. Having a virtual workspace of 15"+ in a 9" screen is priceless. Okay, not priceless, but close to it.
Pocketable would be nice, but I just don't see how Apple is going to fit any kind of workable touch typing keyboard on a pocket-sized device. Even jacket pocket size. And I am pretty sure that a virtual keyboard (more than 7" wide) will be fine for touch typing.
The only non-slate option that Apple might
be considering for a UMPC would be the clamshell posted by TMT. Not that bad. The only trouble is that A. the screen aspect ratio is totally not Apple and B. this would require a touchscreen since you have no trackpad, which is very limited if you can only use it like a laptop. I'm sure that touchscreens will start to come standard, but even so it would only be truly useful and worthy of an Apple UMPC if the screen can be used in multiple orientations. And there is no way to use something like that as a slate.