iPod Touch based UMPC/MID

Discussion in 'iPod touch' started by kzin, Feb 29, 2008.

  1. kzin macrumors 6502

    Jul 20, 2005
    I've been thinking a lot about the UMPC/MID market, especially wrt to Apple. At first, I was rather disappointed with the MacBook Air because I was hoping that the rumored device was going to be in the ultra-portable market, as opposed to just being a very light MacBook.

    Anyway, I'm not here to argue about the MBA... I'm here to discuss what came out of an argument about the MBA. Which is, where I see Apple could enter the UMPC/MID market, and what I would want out of that. I don't think it necessarily needs to be a scaled down MacBook. Instead, I think it might be better to look at it as a scaled UP iPod Touch. Here's what I'm thinking:

    • 8" diagonal screen (the short dimension, in pixels, should be no less than 800 pixels, so that if you use the device in portrait orientation, you've got an 800 pixel wide display)
    • Uses accelerometers to allow the device to be used in any orientation (for ambidextrous use and other considerations)
    • speakers in each corner, directing left/right sound as appropriate to the device's current orientation
    • a camera located at the center of one of the long screen edges (so that it's about where a Mac Book's iSight is, if you're holding the device in landscape mode) (an iPhone type portrait camera is, IMO, optional)
    • a split virtual keyboard when used in landscape mode (see below)
    • iPhone/iPod-Touch like on-screen keyboard when used in portrait mode
    • No skimping on the included software (like they did with the original iPod Touch, and no $25 add-on fee to fix it, like they did with the iPod Touch; should be able to do everything the iPhone and iPod Touch do, except make phone calls and do SMS/MMS messages)
    • An open SDK
    • An OpenSSH client
    • A VNC client
    • A Remote Desktop client
    • iChat with Yahoo, AIM, MSN, and Jabber/GoogleTalk support
    • Built-in storage options that match an iPod Touch
    • SDHC card slot for user added storage expansion
    • Optional SSD storage with options that match the iPod Classic storage tiers, only with SSD instead of HDD.
    • An express card slot, with WWAN card drivers (located along one of the two long edges of the device, so that it wont interfere with holding the device in landscape mode)
    • On each long edge of the device put 1 USB port (Host and OTG support)
    • On one of the short edges put a micro-DVI port.
    • On the long edge that does NOT have the express card slot, put the docking/charging port (so that the device sits in its docking port in landscape mode, and not in portrait mode).
    • Bluetooth (for headsets, keyboards, and for DUN _and_ PAN)
    • Some form of tethering with the iPhone (add bluetooth DUN or PAN to the iPhone, or let the iPhone act as an airport base station for the 8" iTouch).
    • Some form of wireless data sharing protocol to use among the iPod family (ex: add Bluetooth FTP to the iPod Classic, iPhone, and iPod Touch, and let them share music, video, and files among each other)
    • Optional: allow iChat to send/receive SMS/MMS messages through your tethered iPhone (sort of like an SMS/MMS counterpart to "hands-free mode"; when an SMS messages arrives at your iPhone, it gets displayed/logged on this device, and you can compose SMS messages on this device, sending them out through your iPhone).
    • Lots and LOTS of battery
    • Base price tag (without SSD storage installed) under $1000

    Here's the concept of a virtual split keyboard I'm talking about, only make it translucent so you can see the underlying application. This implementation is from the Samsung Q1 (not Q1-ultra). It wouldn't need to be the exact same implementation, just this general type:


    So, when you're on the go, you can use the virtual split keyboard in landscape orientation, or a larger version of the portrait mode screen keyboard that you get with the iPhone/iPod Touch. When you're at a desk, you could use a bluetooth keyboard or a USB keyboard. And, if some third party wanted to, they could build a carry case for it that had a keyboard built into it, so that it becomes sort of like an EeePC/Cloudbook/Fujitsu-Lifebook-U810/etc. Or a docking cradle with a built-in keyboard, etc.

    What do people think of the general idea?
  2. kzin thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 20, 2005
    some thoughts:

    1) yesterday's confusion about whether or not Apple is working on a new tablet type device rather fits nicely with this device idea...

    2) the Gigabyte M700 uses a virtual keyboard much like what I've discussed (only rectangular instead of arcs like the Samsung Q1 picture I gave).

    I hope Apple's going to deliver such a thing.

    (as for people who think this will compete with the iPhone, I don't think it will unless it has a WWAN interface built in.. and I would expect it wont. Instead, I would hope that Apple would work on a way for this device and the iPhone to work together, as I suggested in using the iPhone for tethering; the internal competition for this device wouldn't be the iPhone, it'd be the iPod-Touch, IMO)
  3. speakerwizard macrumors 68000


    Aug 8, 2006
    you really think apple are gonna optimize another os and make yet another sdk? for a devise that does exactly what the touch does except fit in your pocket? its pointless.
  4. kzin thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 20, 2005
    What "other os" and "other sdk" are you talking about? It could run desktop OSX. The changes wouldn't be a new OS nor a new SDK, it would be taking the existing effort to bring multi-touch to desktop OSX, and merely a different screen size orientation. No new OS, no new SDK. Not even really a new GUI, just a new presentation of the same GUI.

    And, no, not just the same thing that the touch does. The touch, as far as I know, wont run desktop OS X apps right on the device. If done correctly, such a MID/UMPC could in fact do that. Some of them might be uncomfortable to use on a smaller screen, but if there's a DVI port, it just becomes something like a portable version of a Mac-Mini -- you can still install and "take with you" the larger apps, but only run them when you're at a large monitor.

    Further, the touch's small screen makes text input rather annoying ... even if you like its virtual keyboard, it takes up valuable screen real-estate in order to use it. A larger screen and a translucent virtual keyboard make it more likely that you can display a useful portion of the underlying app while typing. So far, that's not something I've witnessed with the Touch nor iPhone.

    (for example, I wouldn't want to be writing this post using either one of those devices, but I can and have posted on these forums from my N810 ... 800x400 with NO obstruction of the app is fine; having the keyboard obstruct that view so that you've got less than 800x400 of screen real-estate to view the app ... not fine)
  5. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

    Dec 23, 2006
    In my imagination
    Not to just liven up the thread for the heck of it, but I agree. There won't be a need to do the SDK all over again... especially if it's running a version of the iPhone's micro OS. In reality, it should just run the full Mac OS X that has some touch gestures for easy use. The way Apple is with software, that would be a rather easy job.

    I say bring it on Apple, the iPod Touch is sweet, but it's no PDA or UMPC unless you just don't do anything on your device other than surfing the web and Facebook.

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