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Media (Apple) Media Businesses Handhelds Apple Hardware

Larger iPod Touch In Apple's Future? 197

Posted by samzenpus
from the is-there-heat-in-taco's-future dept.
Ender_Stonebender writes "TechCrunch is reporting that three independent sources have mentioned to them a large form factor version of the iPod Touch, with either a 7- or 9-inch screen, to be released fall of 2009. The device is expected to have access to the iTunes App Store. Beyond that, everything about it appears to be pure speculation."
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Larger iPod Touch In Apple's Future?

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  • Does this mean we'll also see people talking on 9" iPhones?
    • by FuturePastNow (836765) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @01:05AM (#26288983)

      Seriously, I look stupid enough holding a normal phone to my ear.

      I just don't see the value of a larger iPod touch. The point of the touch is that it (a) shares apps with the iPhone and (b) fits in a pocket. This would do neither.

      A slate-type tablet Mac, if it could run full desktop apps, would have some value. But not if it was crippled to run iPhone apps on a bigger screen.

      • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @01:35AM (#26289119) Journal
        Trouble is, where you say "crippled" Apple's people see "Permitted, by transcendent grace of Jobs".

        Now, personally, I'd be a bit surprised by Apple building a much larger device that takes iPhone apps, because introducing two completely different screen sizes to that niche would play aesthetic hell with existing apps and possibly result in an unpleasant bifurcation of that market. Apple, though, seems quite fond of the "all your apps are approved by us" concept, so I strongly doubt that anything smaller than one of their existing computers is not going to be getting open platform treatment.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by dimeglio (456244)

        I think a faster smaller iPod Touch might put a large dent into the sub-notebook market. All Apple has to do is give it's iPod Touch a better keyboard, more speed and more battery life, hence the larger size.

      • by rolfwind (528248) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @01:48AM (#26289163)

        You are assuming this will be a music player.

        I spueculate this will be an e-ink ereader. Perhaps iTunes will start selling newspapers subscriptions and books. They sell music, movies anyways, might as well tackle the next medium.

        Good for apple. I like their competence at UI. The ereaders now, like the iRex DR1000S are often panned as being more prototypes than finished products.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by mrchaotica (681592) *

          I can't imagine Apple making an e-ink product unless it were full-color -- but if they did do that, it'd be pretty awesome!

          (I would want it to have a Wacom digitizer too, like the iRex iLiad.)

        • by adona1 (1078711)
          Interesting idea. I'm waiting for a reader to be released which does for ebooks what the iPod did for mp3 players, and Apple would probably make a fairly decent one. However, history would indicate Apple would not be as open as I'd like for something like this... .lit files would obviously be out, we'd probably have to use iTunes to port the books over, no replacable battery etc.
          So yeah. The (small) ebook reader industry could certainly use the boot up the arse that Apple would give, and it might even get
          • Have you tried eReader.coms eReader software on the iPhone or iPod Touch? Works fantastically, and takes both their own DRMed ebooks (it doesnt check back or anything, just requires you to type in your CC number to unlock the book when you first add it) and standard PDB books as well.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by RMH101 (636144)
          Might make sense in light of the rumours that iWork is going to turn into a web app:
          http://9to5mac.com/iwork-going-cloud [9to5mac.com]
          "We just got a truckload of Macworld information dumped on us from our best source. As we piece it together we'll trickle it out. The first big piece of information is that iWork is going into the Cloud. Not just storage, either. We are talking interface for Numbers, Pages and Keynote (which is going to see some interesting new templates and transition additions). Yes, the iWork
      • There's an "average" laptop size that's a pretty damned good mix between size, cost, usability, and portability. In my current laptop, I decided to go for the wider screen and bigger laptop [notebookreview.com], and I don't like it as much as my smaller, lighter, "standard" sized previous model. (a Dell 600m [cnet.com]) While I've seen much smaller laptops, I figure they are probably in much the same camp as my larger, heavier, more annoying laptop - they deviate from a standard size that has proven to be an awfully good set of compromis

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by lxs (131946)

        It's the return of the '80s.

        The brickphone is making a comeback.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by lindseyp (988332)
        I'd buy one immediately. I use my iPhone 3g for loads of things I used to use a laptop for. I'm on the verge of buying an iPod touch to use around the house and take on trips to use for entertainment (i.e. stop my daughter from stealing my phone constantly!) and internet where WiFi is available. The main advantage of the iphone over the ipod touch for this purpose is somewhat negated by the ridiculous and exhorbitant fees charged by the carriers when data roaming. The one downside of the iPod touch is th
        • by darjen (879890)

          I've had an iTouch for about a year and love using it when I'm at the in-laws or in front of the TV. Sometimes it's just nicer to have that than a laptop. I would love having a 7" screen on it with higher resolution. I would probably still carry it around a bigger version.

          My number one disappointment is that the Touch doesn't have a microphone or speaker. I doubt Apple will ever include a microphone, as people like me will start using it for voip instead of paying through the nose for an iPhone contract. Fo

      • by kestasjk (933987) * on Thursday January 01, 2009 @04:31AM (#26289687) Homepage
        How about making it a cube? It'd be like a normal Mac, except in cube form, has anyone tried that?
      • by jedidiah (1196)

        You may not see the point of a larger (than ipod) screen but
        apparently plenty of other people do. This is why products
        like the Archos 5 and 7 do pretty well. For a lot of people,
        the small size of the touch is a consolation prize rather
        than a selling point.

        A more archos-like form factor for the touch would also
        allow them to cheaply included more storage.

        The current iphone/touch can barely accomodate a lot of
        people's music collections. The consumer base has moved
        on from the days when 16G or 32G was a lot for

      • Movies. iPod touch is pretty much the ideal portable movie player: the screen is almost the size of the device, and thin enough to fit in your pocket. But a little bigger would be easier to watch, and/or could have more detail.

        7" I think would be just about ideal, since it's not a phone, and therefore only has to be small enough to fit in a cargo pocket.

    • Probably a bluetooth headset with a 7 - 9" phone in the person's pocket, I'd imagine.
      • by jedidiah (1196)

        Given the ubiquity of bluetooth on this class of device, you
        would think that someone would try the "luggable" approach
        by now. The device goes in a backpack or purse and the only
        visible part of the device is the earpiece.

  • Seriously though Apple recently stopped producing the 160 gig iPod I've come to rely on. My music collection (and videos) takes up far more than the 120 they've left me with, and I fear to god everytime I pull out my ipod for fear of breaking it.

    Would it be so hard to allow you to pay a fee for Apple to fit your iPod classic with a bigger hard drive? It can't be harder than refurbishing one, no? With the increased sales of videos and movies, I imagine more people will run into the problem of "space".
    • by symbolic (11752)

      Unfortunately, Apple is about selling product, not necessarily providing value.

  • iBook (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tubal-Cain (1289912) * on Thursday January 01, 2009 @12:59AM (#26288957) Journal

    Sounds to me like it has the potential to take up the name iBook. At that size of screen, it may be marginally useful as an ebook reader.

    PDF reader, please.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dunkelfalke (91624)

      even a 3.8" vga screen is already useful for reading ebooks. pdf sucks as ebook format, though.

  • Further speculation (Score:3, Interesting)

    by john.picard (1440397) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @01:15AM (#26289021)
    Let's speculate further. It's not an iPod Touch. It's a combination between a Tablet PC (or more correctly a Tablet Mac) and a n*tbook, but without a hinge or mechanical keyboard.
  • by ThatbookwritingWheel (553383) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @01:19AM (#26289045) Homepage
    > The device is expected to have access to the iTunes App Store. Another source stated that the device is likely to have the Apple Logo on it.
  • by Tumbleweed (3706) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @01:21AM (#26289051)

    When I think about how Jobs operates, I think maybe yeah. Here's the reasoning:

    Jobs hears people cry out for the 'xMac', and we get the Mac mini, way too small to be what people wanted (ridiculous expansion, so small in requires more expensive laptop-class components, etc.)

    Jobs hears people cry out for the return of the 12-inch Macbook Pro form factor, and we get the MacBook Air, so slim and badly-realized that it lacks essential ports on the back (even though it's big enough to fit them).

    Jobs hears people cry out for a netbook-class machine, and we get a MID.

    So I'm thinkin' yeah, because it's exactly what people aren't asking for. That's my 2009 prediction! :)

    As another poster said, this formfactor would be great to take up the iBook name. Either that or the return of the Newton. Well, the iNewton. Or i(of)Newt. Something along those lines, I'm sure.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DiLLeMaN (324946)

      Jobs hears people cry out for the 'xMac', and we get the Mac mini, way too small to be what people wanted (ridiculous expansion, so small in requires more expensive laptop-class components, etc.)

      I rather like my mini, though. Sure, it has less oomph than a "full size" machine, but it's not too expensive, it has a small desk footprint, and it runs silent. I don't care about not being able to cram in 346 PCI cards, USB works for an increasing range of products nowadays.

      Part of the charm of Apple is that they don't follow the market. The fact that every computer maker is making underpowered netbooks nowadays doesn't mean Apple will do the same, unless they can find a way to get it right. They're not g

      • by Tumbleweed (3706)

        I rather like my mini, though. Sure, it has less oomph than a "full size" machine, but it's not too expensive, it has a small desk footprint, and it runs silent. I don't care about not being able to cram in 346 PCI cards, USB works for an increasing range of products nowadays.

        I didn't say I needed room for '346 PCI cards'. If it had been, say, twice the volume of the existing mini, it would've been large enough to use regular DIMMs instead of SO-DIMMs, and large enough to use a regular 3.5" HD instead of a

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by DiLLeMaN (324946)

          I didn't say I needed room for '346 PCI cards'. If it had been, say, twice the volume of the existing mini, it would've been large enough to use regular DIMMs instead of SO-DIMMs, and large enough to use a regular 3.5" HD instead of a laptop HD. Right there, they would've saved enough money to probably make it $100 cheaper.

          True, even though my mini is a PPC one which takes "normal" DIMMs. I'd love a speedier grown-up harddisk though, and yes, they would've saved money.

          Make it just a smidge longer, and you could've put in a discrete graphics card - maybe just a low-profile one, but certainly the option for something much more powerful than the one included in the chipset. Even with these size increases, it would still be waaaay smaller than a Mac Pro or iMac.

          That's somewhat debatable -- the iMac isn't bigger than a mini with a 20" flatscreen. In fact, it's smaller. True for the Mac Pro, but that's a completely different class of machine altogether.

          Plus it would've allowed them to sell more upgrades, etc, and more importantly, provided a machine that people have been wanting for _years_. What kind of business flat-out ignored what their user base wants? If they had a cheap upgradeable Mac, they could almost certainly grow their userbase substantially, and thus sell more stuff from the iTunes store, which seems to be their real business model.

          And would the average tinkerer (the kind of guy that would want an expandable machine you just outlined) really be the iTunes-shopping crowd?

          I think the most important thi

        • I didn't say I needed room for '346 PCI cards'. If it had been, say, twice the volume of the existing mini, it would've been large enough to use regular DIMMs instead of SO-DIMMs, and large enough to use a regular 3.5" HD instead of a laptop HD. Right there, they would've saved enough money to probably make it $100 cheaper.

          And then you'd probably need a bigger power supply so you can kiss the form factor goodbye...

          • by Tumbleweed (3706)

            And then you'd probably need a bigger power supply so you can kiss the form factor goodbye...

            External power supply.

    • by Culture20 (968837)

      Jobs hears people cry out for a netbook-class machine

      And we get a 7-9" touch screen iMac netbook that looks like an oversized ipod touch. I welcome this without meme.

    • by jedidiah (1196)

      > When I think about how Jobs operates, I think maybe yeah. Here's the reasoning:
      >
      > Jobs hears people cry out for the 'xMac', and we get the Mac mini, way too small to be what people wanted (ridiculous expansion, so small in requires more expensive
      > laptop-class components, etc.)

      People make this kind of noise because similar (Wintel) machines without
      such limitations already existed.

      You can make a machine small enough to be an ideal HTPC and not necessarily
      include the limitations found in the min

  • by JayTech (935793) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @01:55AM (#26289177)
    Sweet! Will we be able to run a Zune leap year simulation on it?
  • I don't see it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @01:55AM (#26289179)

    The tablet form factor never worked out well for the PC, and the rising netbook segment is more about cost than anything. Possibly some form of netbook that also offered a touch screen, that I could possibly see...

    One stumbling block though is that even with access to the App Store, apps would have to be re-tooled to be able to take advantage of a larger screen.

    • Re:I don't see it (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 01, 2009 @02:10AM (#26289235)

      No no no.
      AppStore items run in the Dashboard or as small programs.

      It's a secret 10.6 feature.
      Doubt me? It's a perfect way for apple to monetize the Dashboard.
      Multitouch will probably be simulated by holding down a keyboard button.

      --r

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by DiLLeMaN (324946)

        Appstore items are binaries for the ARM architecture that runs the iPhone/iPod Touch. Dashboard widgets are HTML(like)/Javascript contraptions running on PPC and x86 machines.

        Apple already has a central repository for Dashboard widgets, so why would they move all that to iTunes?

        OTOH, if they limited iPhone-apps-on-Dashboard support to recent Macbooks, they'd only have one architecture (x86) to worry about, for which they already have the ARM emulation software running (iPhone dev kit), the touchpads already

        • for which they already have the ARM emulation software running (iPhone dev kit)

          The iPhone simulator runs only x86 code. When you compile for the simulator you are really compiling an x86 binary that the simulator can run - which is part of the reason why you can't do performance testing when running in the simulator.

    • by psetzer (714543)
      Tablets didn't fail so much as tablet PCs failed. Stuff like cell phones, GPS units, book readers, personal media players, PDAs, smart remote controls and the like are all quite successful and available as small tablets, but they're not PCs. Designing a bigger and better one of those is more natural than trying to make a laptop usable without a keyboard.
      • ...Designing a bigger and better...

        That's the thing - when you take the class of mobile devices, and add "bigger" you have already failed. The class of mobile devices is popular because of the extreme mobility, things between laptops and mobile devices have normally not been very successful (and I would argue netbooks are still basically laptops just on the smallest end of the scale). That's why I don't see Apple making one, because all of the devices they have made have been about addressing specific ne

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by aaarrrgggh (9205)

      As someone who used to need a clip board for work frequently, I always pined for a tablet. That is, until I held one and tried to work with it for a day. Software and usage was clunky, and the weight was just too much to hold and take notes for several hours. There really wasn't a net benefit to using it over transcribing notes back at the office.

      The initial rise in netbooks might have been about cost, but the next big driver will be in people that need to actually lug their laptop around all the time wh

    • There are plenty of reasons for a netbook other than cost, as Liliputing [liliputing.com] has argued quite articulately again and again.
      - Being able to throw it in a bag and not have to sacrifice as many other things to make the weight manageable.
      - Being able to work more efficiently in small spaces like airline or commuter rail seats.
      - Better for women and children who have smaller hands and don't gain from larger systems.
      - Low enough weight to be used while standing, as is desired by, say people working inventory in a fac

  • To worry about if OSNews [osnews.com] and Gizmodo [gizmodo.com] are right. The company has built up the "cult of Jobs" over the years to almost mythic status, and if they are right and Steve Jobs is dying and isn't long for this world the stock price is going down the crapper.

    While you,I,and the guys here at Slashdot know that one guys does not a company make, too many of the press and public have built up the "Steve=Apple" mythos and it will slaughter their stock price. They should have been diffusing this for years instead of milking it to add to the "Apple Cool" branding. The only way I can see them not getting blasted all to hell in the market if Steve is really dying is to bring back the Woz to keep the mythos lovers happy while they have him "groom" a successor to the throne. Otherwise 2009 could mean some seriously bad times for Apple ahead.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I love Woz to death, but if Jobs gets hit by a bus and they install Woz as chairman/CEO, I will spend my sainted mother's last dime shorting AAPL.

      • by afidel (530433)
        Just like if they don't do something that stupid it's probably a great time to go long on AAPL since there will be a bounce after people realize the world does not end for them without the sainted one.
    • by WiiVault (1039946) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @02:56AM (#26289413)
      These Job's health things have been rebutted many, many times. I know they have recently resurfaced but they are still BS. Apple has wanted out of Macworld for years, at least since the Boston rebellion.
      • by p0tat03 (985078)

        The removal of the keynote is a troubling sign - not for Jobs' health but rather his future with the company. The launch of the unibodies was unprecedented in how much face-time the other execs got vs. how little Jobs got, and there's no reason Jobs would do such a thing except to roll out the carpet for his own departure.

        I have no doubt about it, Apple needs a personality figurehead like Jobs. Ive isn't it, God knows Schiller isn't it... who is?

        • by aaarrrgggh (9205)

          There are actually several reasons for the Unibody mac presentation-- setting the stage for Jobs to not be doing this keynote for one.

          As long as Jobs is Salesman No. 0, he is too critical to the company and its stock price. Grooming others to be major salesmen is much better for a long-term strategy at this point.

          How many companies really have a "personality figurehead?" Many might have charismatic leaders, several can even pull off the RDF, but the vast majority of CEOs are simply good businessmen that e

      • Mr Jobs had a "Whipple", an operation best described as a living autopsy. Most of his GI system has been removed. He is also a pancreatic cancer survivor (albeit a neuroendocrine-derived neoplasm). I'd call that more than a little "health thing"

        • Mr Jobs had a "Whipple", an operation best described as a living autopsy.

          Hysterical and/or prone to using overly emotional turns of phrase much?

          A "whipple" is best described as a major surgical intervention intended to reduce the risk of mortality from cancer, because unlike "living autopsy," it's at least a little bit accurate. An autopsy is a examination to determine cause of death or extent of disease - a living autopsy would be an exploratory surgery.

          • If you want to be really precise, a "Whipple" is actually a pancreaticoduodenectomy. If he had his pylorus spared, weight loss might not be as high a concern.

            Many Whipple survivors develop diabetes which, when uncontrolled, can lead to dramatic weight loss. Given Mr Jobs' peculiar aversion to allopathic medicine (he initially tried to combat his pancreatic cancer with herbs and diet), one can imagine a certain reluctance to engage with the entire paraphernalia of diabetes management, involving as it can, co

    • by rolfwind (528248)

      While you,I,and the guys here at Slashdot know that one guys does not a company make,

      I'm of two minds. Steve went on to make Pixar and NeXT. He's good at business and entertainment, clearly.

      OTOH, when Apple bought NeXT, it basically was the bigger company paying the smaller company to lead it, with all NeXT executives, presumably groomed by Steve, to lead Apple.

      I seen computer products Jobs had his direct input on. They were not pretty or good. He's not a designer, like Jonathon Ives (who has his own m

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        I did NOT say put Woz as CEO, reread my post. I was talking about simply bringing Woz in to put in front of the cameras at places like Macworld until they built up enough steam around a new guy which Woz would "groom"(translation-Woz would introduce and be all buddy like with to get the press and bloggers on their side) while this guy would be the ACTUAL CEO. I never said Woz should run the company.

        But if bringing back Woz to shove in front of the cameras gave them the excuse to run a few of Woz's old idea

  • i would buy one if it was larger and a kindle-done-right device assuming the battery life wasn't stupid.

  • by nick_davison (217681) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @02:57AM (#26289419)

    "The difference now is the iTunes app store, which has thousands of games and other applications that are perfect for a touch screen device with an accelerometer."

    No. The app has thousands of games and other applications that display 480x320 which looks great on a 3.5 inch screen.

    At 163ppi, they look great.

    Run those same resolutions on a screen with 2x (7 inch) or 2.5x (9 inch) resolution and you're looking at 60-80ppi of massively pixelated crap.

    A 9 inch touchscreen with iPhone/iPod touch style OS-X and the same 163ppi resolution makes for a really interesting alternative to the netbook market. Stop hobbling the bluetooth so you can use their bluetooth keyboard when you want to type a lot and it's a fascinating package.

    But the app store's catalog remains completely useless unless they come up with a way for resolution to upscale. Granted, I've not written anything for it, but I'm guessing most apps are written with a 480x320 assumption and no scaling, no multi-resolution icons, graphics, etc. bundled in to the downloads, etc. Apple would need to get the means for updating apps to support that out to developers way in advance of a larger Touch release if they wanted the app store to carry any value beyond to show off how bad apps could look... something that would harm the reputation of the device far more than help it.

    • by Serious Callers Only (1022605) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @04:26AM (#26289671)

      But the app store's catalog remains completely useless unless they come up with a way for resolution to upscale. Granted, I've not written anything for it, but I'm guessing most apps are written with a 480x320 assumption and no scaling, no multi-resolution icons, graphics, etc. bundled in to the downloads, etc. Apple would need to get the means for updating apps to support that out to developers way in advance of a larger Touch release if they wanted the app store to carry any value beyond to show off how bad apps could look... something that would harm the reputation of the device far more than help it.

      By default apps are laid out with buttons etc tied to one edge in interface builder and sometimes with flexible spaces in between, so interfaces would just expand. They'd probably need a bit of tweaking but not as much as you imply.

      Games would be the main area which might have problems if they assume a certain screen width or need to upsize their textures. If they do this right and pre-announce then give developers a few months lead time, they could easily get most content from the app store working at a higher resolution.

      Take the example of the google maps app - toolbars at top and bottom will just be wider, with bigger gaps between buttons. Perhaps they could move some stuff from that god-awful miscellany page accessed with the little page curl onto the main toolbar, but otherwise, it would function perfectly well, just drawing more map at a time. They're unlikely to have hardcoded in screen-sizes, because you can ask for the screen size, and often the view is given a rect to draw into, rather than specifically requesting a rect. Buttons on the auxiliary functions screen might be too wide, depending on how they have them set - probably not though.

      Or take the mail app - the mail rows would just be a bit wider, probably the same height and just showing more in the screen. Toolbars and nabar will just expand and have more blank space.

      That's with no extra work on the developers' part - these apps would work pretty well, with only a few minor tweaks required depending on how they're set up.

      This isn't such a big issue if the transition is handled right.

      Some have claimed resolution issues mean iPhoneOS and UIxxx won't be used for a tablet , and they'd have to use OS X and AppKit, but I think UIKit shows signs of being flexible enough to cope with many screen sizes - most of it could be used fine on a desktop OS and reads like a clean-up of the desktop APIs (it may be that later cocoa is relegated to a compatability layer, along with all those other APIs before it).

      The really important feature for a tablet would be reading - reading websites, reading email, reading newspapers (though those are really a subset of websites nowadays), and reading books. I'd buy it just for that, but it worries me that Apple would try to be the single gatekeeper for data as Amazon have done with the Kindle.

      If they keep to an iTunes music model of allowing users to copy their own books on there via iTunes, and tie in with someone like gutenberg for classics, they could have this sewn up in no time. But I'd rather they just opened it up and let developers copy data into their sandbox - then we won't be stuck with one app for a vital function (mail.app, I'm looking at you).

      The big thing that the iPhone OS is missing at the moment is a way to get arbitrary user data onto the device for sandboxed apps - if they address that (and the bluetooth issue you mentioned), it'd be a great reading device, and perhaps even one for writing on.

    • by p0tat03 (985078)

      Apple shot itself in the foot with the SDK, giving devs no clear roadmap of how resolutions will scale in the future. I have absolutely no doubt that the vast majority of apps in the store as it is will go completely haywire at any other resolution, too much hardcoding.

      Besides, the majority of the iPhone's UI components would not fit well onto a 7" screen even if properly upscaled. The cells for each contact in your contact list, for example, is MASSIVE for easy tapping. They would be *four times larger by

      • by lxt (724570) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @08:00AM (#26290235) Journal
        Actually, the SDK is quite specific that you *shouldn't* hardcode screen resolutions, and provides methods to call to get the current dimensions of the screen. Obviously more advanced programs will need a rewrite - particularly games and other graphic intensive apps - but many more mundane applications already scale between two resolutions (horizontal and vertical positioning).
      • by aaarrrgggh (9205)

        The UI issue is an interesting one. I was playing with an index-card mock-up yesterday... you couldn't use the keyboard as a thumb-board (can't reach across half the screen with your thumbs in landscape mode), and it is too small to act as a full keyboard.

        But, more space could potentially eliminate the random corner usage for successive input (bottom right to enter a menu item, top right to exit the menu, etc.)

        It might be interesting as an alternative to Kindle (6" screen, 7.5x5.5" overall).

    • Run those same resolutions on a screen with 2x (7 inch) or 2.5x (9 inch) resolution and you're looking at 60-80ppi of massively pixelated crap.

      On a device of that size, they can afford to have more processing power (and battery capacity to match), so perhaps they can extend the GUI allowing these apps to run windowed, in parallel. That would make sense on a device with a screen of that size.

    • you're looking at 60-80ppi of massively pixelated crap

      Funny. 80ppi is about what my monitor runs at and it looks fine. In fact, it's about what most monitors run at.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by fermion (181285)
      The same issue came up as mac screens moved from the original fixed resolution and screen size (9"512X342, 72 DPI) Macs to a more dynamic situation. There were many ways to deal with this. In particular, games that assumed a fixed resolution would run in a window contained on the larger screen.

      The challenge of the tablet mac is allowing iPhone and iPod applications to run, while the device itself run the normal Mac OS X WIMP interface. Not necessarily all programs, but not the PDA like interface used o

  • Speculation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tsa (15680) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @03:04AM (#26289447) Homepage

    Speculation is not news and should not be on /.. The are enough Apple-centered websites with discussions like this.

  • by wisebabo (638845) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @03:05AM (#26289449) Journal

    The reason why it'll be really cool/great is because of the new input technologies which it'll have.

    Remember, what makes Apple products unique are not their increasingly commodity hardware but the USER INTERFACE. I believe the user interface is THE major reason for the iPhone/iPod Touch's success (look at the Xmas sales figures). It is because of Apple's ability to take advantage of the touch screen and accelerometer. Not the hardware but things like the "pinch zoom" and "swipe" and landscape/portrait mode detection.

    To really see how people have taken advantage of these features, play some of the many many games available for this PLATFORM.

    Now Apple has (hopefully) the opportunity to take these ideas even further. A 7-9" iPod Touch would make a passable netbook; that is a decent device for doing most CASUAL computing tasks. (many complaints about the tiny "keyboard" on the iPhone would go away). Where it would excel in would be in the new applications (10,000+ strong in the AppStore, close to 500 MILLION downloads) that take REAL advantage of the new input technologies. A lot of these applications, particularly the creative ones (sound and paint programs for example) would benefit substantially from more screen real-estate. And think of the games!

    So that could be Apple's answer to the netbooks. Using its (I know, I know) proprietary technologies it could bring these new technologies together in a way that is cohesive, fun and easy to use. That's the advantage of totally controlling the hardware and software. Unfortunately without this control, open source projects and (to a lesser extent) Microsoft have to aim at the lowest common denominator and can only copy what Apple pioneers.

    • by p0tat03 (985078)

      Bah, I call bull. Apple's *initial* success is always based on user interface. The iPhone was (and in most ways still is) at the top of the UI heap for phones, and likewise the iPod kicked the shit out of anything else on the market at the time. The keyword here is "at the time". If you look at the iPods, there have not been any significant UI improvements to it since it was first rolled out - cover flow was not even a hotly demanded feature, and seems underused by most people.

      Apple uses *really really good

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by kklein (900361)

        You seem to be implying that companies should change their UI frequently... Soo... I mean... MS Office 2007 is all I'm sayin'...

        Seriously, when I went back to the Mac after 10 years off the platform last year, part of what I really appreciated was that so little of the UI had changed since System 8.5 that I just sat right back down, found the things that had changed since 10, and went to work. The fact that they get a great UI from the start and then leave it alone is one of the best things Apple has go

        • The fact that they get a great UI from the start and then leave it alone is one of the best things Apple has going for it.

          But that's not really what happens, at least not for all of their products. The iPod's UI may not be terrible, but it is far from being good (or even "great"). How do you turn off an iPod? How do you delete tracks from it? Can you easily change the volume without taking it out of your pocket?
          I got a iPod classic for christmas, and all of these are things my 4-years old, half as expensive creative mp3-player did far better.

          • by grahamd0 (1129971)

            How do you turn off an iPod?

            Hold down the play/pause button for a few seconds, but you don't usually need to do it. It will turn itself off when you're not using it.

            How do you delete tracks from it?

            You have to use iTunes. I don't agree with that idea, but they're consistent. You need iTunes to get the songs onto it at well.

            Can you easily change the volume without taking it out of your pocket?

            Yes, you slide your finger around the circular interface. The ipod is the only MP3 player I know of with an "analog" volume control. It's wonderful.

            I got a iPod classic for christmas, and all of these are things my 4-years old, half as expensive creative mp3-player did far better.

            Give it some time. I only recently bought an ipod, as I had used some other mp3 players and I bought

        • by radish (98371)

          Well you're lucky that the blades interface worked well for you, it certainly had it's own problems. However, if you don't like NXE (and to be honest, it gets pretty easy once you learn your way around) just hit the big silver buttons and you get your blades back.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by timmarhy (659436)
      you don't even know if there is a new product and your already proclaiming it'll be great?? apple zealots just over took linux zealots.
      • by wisebabo (638845)

        Yeah, I should have said "Why it'll be great *IF* they come out with it."

        I did mention later in my post that "(hopefully)" Apple will take these ideas further. You are of course right in saying I am an Apple zealot to the core, ;) it's just that people on slashdot are so technically oriented that they don't seem to realize that probably the MOST important thing about a computer, or phone, or ANY piece of technology is its user interface.

        I don't think Apple has a monopoly on good UI design (I've heard good

    • A significant impact in the deceleration of PC sales was the war on third party developers started by microsoft. By absorbing so many features into the OS, vc's could no longer confidently fund software start-ups. This reduces the usefulness of the PC. In contrast Apple has said: don't worry, *you* develop the nifty apps and we make it easy for you to sell it.

      It is unbelievable, but an underpowered, minimum size screen gadget has more nifty utilities than my multi-touch laptop with 300GB HD and super fast p

  • I'd like an iPod Touch, I really would. However, but 80GB iPod 5.5G can hold a metric fuckload more data than any of the iTouches available, so I'm sticking with it.
    Why bother with a 9" screen when you can only have a handful of movies & TV shows that can take full advantage of it?

    Wake me up when they put hard drives in iTouches.
  • "Beyond that, everything about it appears to be pure speculation." How about everything including that is pure speculation...
  • If that's the sort of device you want, get an Archos 5, 5g, or 7, or a Nokia 810.

  • by GaryPatterson (852699) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @06:24PM (#26294421)

    http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/07/21/we-want-a-dead-simple-web-tablet-help-us-build-it/ [techcrunch.com]

    Yes, TechCrunch were making their own tablet. What happened to that, I wonder.

    I love these sort of stories. Unsubstantiated rumours, speculation, hype and hope all mixed up into a story that is only a shade more believable than your average fairy tale.

    The success of pundits with long-range Apple forecasts is not so much bad as utterly atrocious. I'll file this story in the "believe it only after it's announced by Apple" pile (aka garbage bin).

  • Funny, when I Read The Fracking Headline, i assumed that the story was about devices with more storage capacity.

    A touch with 160gb of storage would be quite a cool toy. The current (8gb)? model is kind of skimpy...

  • An even bigger iPod? Nah.

    Sounds like this device would be competing with the netbook and tablet PC market. How about a Maemo device (Nokia 770, N810, etc) with a multi-touch screen? That would be sweet.

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