With the iPhone and the revamped iPod line now out of the beginning gates, rumors have emerged that Apple is engaged on a new private digital assistant harking back to the early Newton.
A small staff of Apple engineers have been engaged on a reinvented model of the ill-fated Newton for 18 months, this time incorporating the corporate’s revolutionary multitouch expertise, based on AppleInsider. These engineers had been reportedly pulled off the venture to assist full the iPhone, however the PDA effort is now transferring forward full-bore.
The brand new gadget — due within the first half of subsequent yr — runs an embedded model of Apple’s Mac OS X Leopard working system, the report mentioned. It’s an ultra-thin slate gadget very like the iPhone however about 1.5 instances the scale and with a 720-by-480 high-resolution show that accounts for a lot of the unit’s floor. The PDA may make use of multitouch ideas like drag-and-drop and copy-and-paste.
Apple officers couldn’t be reached for remark.
Apple’s Newton MessagePad jump-started the PDA market within the Nineties earlier than assembly an early demise on the finish of the last decade. The unique units had been based mostly on the ARM 610 RISC processor and featured handwriting recognition software program. Since then, the corporate has been quiet on the PDA entrance, except for a passing remark from Steve Jobs on the Wall Avenue Journal’s 2004 D: All Issues Digital convention wherein he referred to a second PDA try that by no means bought shipped.
But a number of of Apple’s latest merchandise are much like PDAs themselves, Rob Enderle, president and principal analyst with Enderle Group, informed MacNewsWorld.
“If you concentrate on it, the iPod contact is fairly near a PDA, and the iPhone is basically like a PDA telephone,” Enderle defined. “Mainly, a PDA could be the iPhone with out the telephone half — one thing in between the iPod contact and the iPhone.”
Such a gadget would not be laborious for Apple to create, because it already has the wanted software program, Enderle mentioned. Certainly, “I believed that was what they’d do with the iPod contact, however they eliminated extra than simply the telephone half,” he mentioned. “The query is, why did not they do it with the contact — it might have been a matter of simply including a few options from the iPhone.”
Apple should now be rethinking its resolution and realizing that such a gadget is likely to be extra enticing to extra individuals, Enderle mentioned. “It is seemingly, significantly now that the iPhone is basically working into hassle,” he mentioned.
Current proof is beginning to point out that software program hacks to decouple the iPhone from its AT&T mobile service might destroy the gadget, Enderle famous. “Apple says it is not doing it on function, however everybody thinks they’re — on the very least, it is not taking hassle to maintain it from occurring,” he mentioned.
“Persons are beginning to get annoyed with the product, so it might make sense for Apple to do one thing like this and perhaps get away from the AT&T factor altogether,” he concluded.
A Matter of Course
“In fact Apple is engaged on a PDA — it is known as the iPhone,” quipped Ricky Spero, contributing editor at The MacObserver.
“That mentioned, it is unimaginable that Apple is not methods to convey multitouch to the Mac,” Spero informed MacNewsWorld. “The attention-grabbing query for Apple watchers is the way it will occur.”
Apple is unlikely to begin delivery laptops with multitouch displays, Spero added. “Will Apple introduce multitouch peripherals to complement current Macs?” he requested. “Or will they design completely new multitouch computer systems so totally different in kind and interface that they will now not be known as Macs?”
Solely time will inform the solutions to such questions. Within the meantime, the market prospects for a new PDA gadget from Apple look good, Doug Bell, analysis analyst with , informed MacNewsWorld.
“So far as progress on a broad scale, there are tons of alternatives right here in each the slate and the convertible pill areas,” Bell mentioned. “There’s extra quantity within the convertible space for progress, however both means, we’re speaking wherever from 50 to high-60 % progress yr over yr between this yr and subsequent,” Bell mentioned.
Slate and convertible tablets will proceed to get pleasure from progress charges which can be excessive relative to these of the PC market as a entire, surpassing 40 % every year via 2010, Bell added.
“Market demand might completely be there on each the patron and the industrial sides,” Bell added. “We’re now seeing extra use within the industrial space, however distributors are noticing a pattern in shopper demand as properly.”
A brand new PDA from Apple could be unlikely to cannibalize its current choices, so long as it affords a totally different characteristic set, Bell mentioned.
Trying ahead, tablets will max out at about 4 % of the PC market by 2010 or 2011, Bell mentioned.