Thursday, September 07, 2006

Apple's Next Device?

iLounge has an article about a patent from Apple that could indicate what Apple has in mind for the rumored full-touch-screen iPod, which would be a natural candidate for watching videos and playing games. Perhaps Apple will also make it a cell phone.

One of the main problems with PDA-like phones, and phone-like PDAs, is that general-purpose computers and phones are actually quite different beasts. Today's computers are very flexible in what they're used for, and have all sorts of quirks, such as crashing, freezing, or just sitting there for a minute while memory is being moved between disks and RAM, while a phone should ideally be a device you pick up, dial 911 on, and the authorities show up to help you as fast as they can get there, with no allowances for glitches.

When you add phone functionality to a PDA or vice-versa, you easily get a system that feels the need to reboot, restore backups from flash memory and just generally sulk, while you're trying to place that all-important phone call (it's happened to me twice, once with a PocketPC device, and once with a Palm Treo, and luckily it was only a question of minor emergencies—nothing major).

A "sane" convergent device would need to be able to keep very strong dividers between the device world and the general-purpose computer worlds. I hope future Apple products will address this, although based on this patent, they are only thinking of a device that can change personality, not of one that uses a hardware switch to ensure instantaneous and 100% reliable personality change.


Blogger Claes-Fredrik Mannby said...

1) I think these things swing back and forth based on lots of factors, such as usability, size, weight, coolness, commoditization of parts, price points, demographics, etc.

2) I think we'll definitely see an extended repertoire of features that will come to be expected everywhere, such as connectivity to other devices, visual and audio recording and playback capabilities, perhaps over wireless connections, storage, security/authentication features, etc.

3) I think we'll still have devices that do extra well in one set of features or another, such as something that is a good phone, and so-so camera, and a good camera, that can do IM and VOIP.

9:30 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home