iPhone expansion accessory instead of a tablet?

in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
What if Apple made a iPhone expansion device to act as a full tablet?

The iPhone provides the processing power, os, camera, and other communication hardware. The tablet accessory provides a larger (maybe 3.5x - 4x larger) touch screen display, additional battery, and perhaps additional storage space. It would be only slightly thicker than the iphone (the thickness of the iphone plus casing with touchscreen display).

When users want a bigger screen for web browsing, movie watching, and games they can slide the iphone in to the back of the tablet (think of it like a gameboy cartridge). The male dock connector provides video and input for the touch display from the iPhone. Additional SSD in the tablet can store larger media files for access by the iPhone. An additional battery in the tablet powers the larger display and can even charge the iPhone. A female dock connector on the tablet provides external power and the standard dock i/o.

The iPhone would be inserted into the tablet "backwards" so that the camera faces the user, making face to face video conferencing possible. A small glass window beside the tablet display would allow the camera to see to the front.

The tablet could have a built-in stand so that it should stand up for comfortable viewing of movies and games, could be held in hand, or set on the table flat. Bluetooth external controllers (mouse and wiimote?) could be used with games and other apps. Additional accessories could provide VGA or DVI out from the dock connector so that you could hook it up to a monitor, projector, or TV to watch media, powerpoints, etc

When on the road you can have you iPhone in your pocket and tablet in your briefcase or just leave it behind.

Biggest issue would be display resolution. Apps would have to be programed to recognize the larger tablet display. Elements would have to move and resize to fit the larger display and higher resolution. It would take a coordinated effort from Apple and developers, but it's not impossible.

Thoughts? Any takers on a mock up?


  • Reply 1 of 5
    johnsocaljohnsocal Posts: 193member
    If the device was able to be powered by an iphone or a ipod touch it might be possible, but since it would require it's own battery and charging dock it would end up to being too expensive for an accessory.
  • Reply 2 of 5
    dogcowdogcow Posts: 713member
    Well instead of buying an iPhone ($200) and a full tablet (probably around the $1000 price point) you would just need an iPhone and this expansion (for say $500).
  • Reply 3 of 5
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,831member
    Such a device would make it easy to always have your important stuff with you. That is in snap the iPhone and you are good to go. Since a screen and battery go to peanuts this should be easy to do if the required signals are added tonthe dock connector. Most likely this would mean display port and a high speed serial connection.

    There are practical problems though, number one being the lack of significant CPU power in iPhone or any device of that size in the near future. Allied with this is the short comings with respect to flash storage. In a nut shell I don't see iPhone becoming powerful enough to deliver the expected user interface.

    Instead I could see a more cooperative arraingement where the iPhone is plugged in to provide it's important data files. That is phone book / contacts, web and other goodies. Though I do wonder why Apple would take this approach over simple syncing.

    All in all the number one issue is the power of the computing system in iPhone as a whole. It is not powerful enough nor will it be in the near future to drive such a display. If Apple does build a tablet they will be able to manage the thermal characteristics better in the larger device leading to better performance and far more space for flash.

    I hope I didn't burst any bubbles here but like I said I've thought about this and I just don't see the potential.

  • Reply 4 of 5
    I will not be surprised if this summer we find out dual unit apple netbook := new iPhone (3.0) + touch-screen tablet with both nice chipset and accumulator.

    New iPhone, as a part of netbook, will be: communicator (GSM, EDGE, 3G, WiFi, Bt, GSM ...), i/o device (audio, video, sensors ...), touch-pad, additional keyboard or joystick, DSP (remember NeXT?), memory, ...

    The tablet itself is a real small computer with touch-screen, with/without keyboard, power base for iPhone, but without (only memory) devices mentioned above. And of course, "unbelievable" form-factor!

    These two units can run separately, with clear limitations.

    If together - You have everything.

    May be ...
  • Reply 5 of 5
    olternautolternaut Posts: 1,376member
    Originally Posted by Dogcow View Post

    Well instead of buying an iPhone ($200) and a full tablet (probably around the $1000 price point) you would just need an iPhone and this expansion (for say $500).

    Well it is an interesting theory. It might be something that they will do.

    Dang nabbit does no one here have access to inside info anymore? What happened to all the Apple spies? Did Steve Jobs have them all eliminated secret police style?
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