With the success of the iPhone and proof the ability of Apple to reduce the size of a portable computer and the flexibility of OS X for portable device, we can easily suspect to see a new kind of device, such a mix of Sub MacBook, Mac UMPC, Mac MID, Tablet MAC and MAC PSP. Let’s call it: iMAID (Multimedia Apple Internet Device)… LOL, I know that’s a device to do everything in the house… oops! sorry about that :) )
Who recall the keynote made by Bill Gates 3 years ago on the Ultra Mobile Personal Computer… After all, that’s what we’re talking about here:
A kind of “All-Multimedia” device, to merge:
- Audio (music, podcast, radio, audiobook),
- Video (movie, tv shows, tv channel & internet broadcast stream),
- Communication (Internet, email, IM, Chat, VoIP),
- Productivity (office work, speech recognition, hand writing/painting/drawing)
- Entertainment (Game, ebook, navigation)
This device could have all the successful features from the iPhone, plus some new innovations.
This device could look like those mockups:
Except the device would have:
- a 5 to 6 or 7″ multi-touch wide screen,
- the dimensions of a pocket book, almost like a PSP to fit in the pocket or purse,
- EGDE, 3G, Bluetooth, Wifi connection for Networking,
- iSight for Mobile iChat, Skype call, etc…
- GPS for Car Navigation, Travel information, or Localisation Application
- Evolved on-screen keyboard (and support for Bluetooth devices)
- GPU and QT chips for high quality gaming and video compression/decompression
- 4 direction buttons, 4 actions buttons, two alternative back buttons and a joystick (such the PSP)
- a 16Gb Slate disk
- a full OS X applications such: iCal, Mail, Safari, iTunes, iChat, Finder, iPhoto, iMovie, iWeb, iWork, probably few games and even probably some new apps such: iDraw, iSpeech, iPlay, iWrite, etc…
We can imagine having a metal ring to have a wrist strap on one side and a place for a pen on the other one (but it will be locked… not all this shitty pen we always loose on any PDA, PocketPC, etc…).
- no drive or the same optional external drive such the MacBook Air
- “over the air” Content downloading from iTunes (for Apps, Games, Music, Movies, TV Shows, Podcast, eBooks, AudioBooks, etc…)
- an optional pen to naturally write, draw, sketch up, design… directly on the screen. It would reply to the finger and/or the pen. The pen would use something like the Wacom Cintiq, which will be usable in games… for the DS lovers!!
- an optional bluetooth keyboard for long typing, very thin shape as the lately wireless new keyboard, which could be used as a screen cover.
- A price tag between $599 and $799. It could be expensive for a game station (to compare to Sony PSP or Nintendo DS) or a eBook Readers (such Kindle or Sony Reader), but it’s not so much for a all-multimedia device such: small tablet, sub-notebook, psp, Multimedia Internet Device, etc…
We saw lately a lot of new coming small form factor device… there’s definitely a market for this kind of devices, mostly when it merges with the game market and the book market (Kindle and Sony Reader)
After the music, movie, tv show, family stuff (such photo, movie, web) and productive domain (exchange, office, …), the remaining market are:
- Game Market (huge market when you merge home and mobile devices and have a look on the success of the last game stations (xbox360, PS3, Wii, PSP and DS together)!! Apple already knows games are a big deal since the huge success of game apps for iPhone.
- Book Market (for writer but for all kind of books! including album booklet with lyrics, comics, education, encyclopedia, dictionaries and newspaper if there’s some kind of “search”, chapter and categories for easy navigation through the book).
It wouldn’t be a surprise to even see a possibility to subscribe to some newspaper (such New-York Times) the same way of ‘Podcast’ for $.99, buy some weekly fanzine for $1.99 to 2.99, buy some regular book for 5.99 to 19.99 ($9.99 most of the case)…. exactly like songs, video songs and albums. (or even having some FREE content as we already see for iPhone Apps or Free content deliver with another purchase such Album for the booklet and lyrics).
Having multiple device with a common platform to develop game/eBook, will help to have the same game/eBook released for: iPhone, Mobile Tablet, Notebook/Desktop or AppleTV (MacMini / Apple iGame?). The best way would even be to allow creation of eBook from existing PDF.
Because, I’m pretty sure the iPhone would be a great platform to read book on-the-way. As for the music, you will be able to transfer your eBook in your new iMAID and in your iPhone. That way, you can still finish reading the news or your last ebook when you only have your phone with you.
Also, by having an iTunes Distribution Model, the developers will be assured against piracy. The numbers with the Apps Store proved there’s a real market. And it will be even easier to buy and read a book/magazine/encyclopedia or a game.
By looking the file size for (HD) movie, we can imagine than Apple will go for a complete software electronic distribution with iTunes (even for Desktop Apps). It will be faster, easier and even greener (which avoid paper, box, shipping, gas for transportation) and better security.
By doing so, it will be the next step for Apple to “un-materialize” a product in an electronic format (as they already did earlier with music, movie, tv shows, etc…). It would be possible to release from the smallest book size (the pure text book) to the largest comic book or even encyclopedia (with several large color pictures).
Also, by providing a way to subscribe to non-free regular content (such newspaper), it would be an opportunity for some websites, bloggers, etc… to release by themselves their own “weekly fanzine”, which could even be completed with some non-free audio/video Podcast…
It will really create something new: an opportunity for game developers, for writers, for magazines/fanzine publishers, for bloggers/podcaster… to create and have a business model for their work. All the financial procedure (TaxID, etc..) has already been done for the developers and the Apps Store. It wouldn’t be a huge deal to expand it now…
And last thing (and not the least), today’s world there’s readers and lazy/busy guys. The readers have more books than movie as you said… but lazy guys prefer just buy audiobook (to just listen them when they work out, etc…).
The best thing is to combine the both… and for example, having a “Book Store” in iTunes where you can search, find and buy for a book… which could be in eBook or AudioBook format… (as music and video music). It will be possible for some publishers to release a book in both format and then have more chance to sell it. Imagine having a new released book for $9.99 the eBook, $9.99 the AudioBook and $15.99 the both together….
Wouldn’t it be great to have both and then be able to choose where you want continue your listening or reading? Just tape on a page icon during the listening and you will have the number of the page and the link to this page in the eBook Reader (and vice versa with the page and the link to the time position). It will give back the desire to read and consume the books… again!
In all case, I would like to have this two main things… I will not have to carry on everything with me when I travel… Just having my iPhone, my iMAID… and a power supply :) I will be able to create content (Audio/Video podcast, blog, photo, email, office documents, etc…) and having content (music, tv shows, movies, eBooks, AudioBooks, Games, Podcasts, Ringtone, Apps, etc…).
I don’t care what it takes, but it would make my life way easier… I would not regret to carry on 2 useless book I will finally not have the time to read at the hotel room…. Or I will not regret to not having my books with me when my flight has been delayed…
Our today’s life is focus on medias and the way to easily create or get them… I’m sure Apple knows that and will satisfy pretty soon :)
Add-on, Sep. 8th 2008:
I just discover the blog and pictures from Jacky Liu here:
The picture is just awesome and the design is really well done (very Apple-ish):
The only thing I would like for the design, are the small size (5 to 7″), the Game Controllers, the optional Pen.
The GamePad controllers is a need if you want play… Controls on screen & accelerometer are not enough and really not practical for some game. But if we can have the GamePad such the PSP, the Pen such the Nintendo DS AND the touchscreen and accelermeter… THEN, it will be a very killer Portable Game Device… mostly with the CPU and GPU power of a current computer (such ATOM, etc…).
An iPhone is already more powerful than a DS and a PSP combined… So, just imagine what an ATOM could do?!!! It would be as powerful (or more) than a PS3, XBOX 360 and Wii… But in a portable device…
With the Wifi/GSM Network, I can clearly imagine than everyone will buy this kind of device and then have some networking game with your friends or with some random people over the world… even if you’re mobile… You will always have a possibility to chat with the onboard mic, speaker and iSight (and mic/headphone plugs).
Here is another picture I found:
I can tell you… that’s the future…. We’re a lot who want really bad this device! Apple would be stupid to don’t do it! And there’s no doubt… I want it done by Apple!
Because I don’t want to have it by LG, Dell, HP, Asus, Sony, etc… Because they do some great device, but they don’t have the right software! We already see this problem with the Smartphone and Windows Mobile… Sorry, but it was just a piece of s#it! I never liked use a Windows Mobile SmartPhone… it’s just awful! And then after several years, Apple came with the iPhone and makes the life with smartphone so much better…
I’m sure they can have the same approach with the “UMPC” market / “Tablet” Market / “Netbook” Market / “Game” Market…
It’s 4 market where Apple is not present… Why? Because it’s not huge enough? Hmmm… I don’t think so, there’s a lot of devices and interest (at least for Netbook and UMPC) and I don’t mention the success of the Game devices… And the market could be really really bigger if you provide a great device… So, I think Apple didn’t came on this market because they want to do like for the iPhone… Not come with something which does not work well…. But come with something close to Perfect (even thought it isn’t) :)
So, it would be a great move to cover those Markets with a nice device as describe… They have the technology and knowledge to do it now… They did 90% of the work with the iPhone.
The only thing they should do is the “Book” Service (in iTunes, the book reader, the relation with Book Publisher, etc…), but that’s something they should do anyway, even if the iMAID/iTablet/MacPad/iTouch (oh gosh, there’s so much name for this one) doesn’t exist.
The book could be done with iTunes for Desktop/Laptop and with iPhone/iPod Touch… It doesn’t hurt to do this service… and it will just go compete with Amazon eBook… so then, they will need to release the adequate device :)
I can’t wait anymore….