Before you start reading… iPlate it a personal view of a new hibryd input / output device – it is a forthcoming Apple product since I haven't any information from the company nor I want to do some scoop on rumors.
Applied to Apple and developing a new product designed as a "dream" machine.
When I first saw the G4 Cube and the Apple logo positioned on the 2 × 3 Grid shown by Steve Jobs at MacWorld NY 2000 Expo I was asking myself, "What next?"
There was space for design and innovation, but instead of being a "desktop" machine can be a portable one.
The trend of minimalism, the development of a computer system, and the fact that it can lead to a result … a thin object that has new functions and ways of communication and interaction.
Apple has stated that it wouldn´t produce in Palm any more that the company is committed to one OS. I think this is the right interpretation. Apple has not sold to other companies the basic idea that makes Newton a unique machine: writing recognition.
So I put down some sketches (very basic sketches) of this personal idea… a portable device that is also a tablet with pen input (or finger input if you want to use a screen keyboard).
As you can see in the picture, it is a screen that has two handles with buttons (thay can be also a little trackpads) and a rotating jog for easy navigation through web pages or playing games, or making a presentation, or …
The LCD surface is Touch sensitive and you can use it with a Pen or your fingers to tap on the dockable virtual Keyboard.
The idea of a Tablet with incorporated LCD screen is certainly not new… Nemetscheck (the developers of the hi-end CAD Board) sells it PL 300 and PL 400 tablets that use similar technology.
But there’s more than point and see…. imagine what I can do with similar devices Ideograms: with the power of MacOS X and multiple processing the translation / interpretation could be a breeze.
Strange enough in the following days on Apple developing the so called "Rosetta Stone" project to feature that brings script recognition to MacOS X.
The iPhone could be connected to another Mac via Airport or BlueTooth technology: but in this case it may need an operating system, a video connection and a battery that seems to costly gadget without having the feature of to standalone tool.
But one more recent Apple's technology caught my attention: the ADC connector for the new monitor line that sports USB, Video and power on the same cable.Was it just designed to reduce desktop cable for something more?
If we imagine a little central unit with the core electronics of an iBook or Powerbook, the ADC connector could be used to bring and out the signals needed to interact with the iPlate: the video and audio (via USB) coming from the brick, the pen input transmitted by the active surface of the iPLATE (via USB), the vocal commands coming trough the Mic (via USB) and obvously the power to make the iPLATE function.
We have now two different products: the iPLATE standalone unit, a I / O device that can be connected to any recent Apple desktop computer and iPLATE with its brick (or any other thin form factor) that is a full feature portable, laptop or desktop computer.
I could not work with the standard equipment like DVD readers that can't work vertically: the whole electronics could be hosted on the stand like this, but this solution has more versatility and would cost less …
I imagine that the cover that acts as a stand (permitting the use of the iPLATE in several positions) I can also work with the Brick, making it work at different heights and positions.You can use the combination of them anyway you want … leaving the brick on the desktop and working with the iPLATE as a real (cool – no warm batteries!) laptop, using the iPLATE on its vertical position like a spacesaver terminal (with voice and touch commands inputs) …
You can also use it in a traditional way connecting an USB keyboard and a mouse through the USB ports on the side of the iPLATE. The keyboard itself could be folded on the back of the screen. home only the central unit and connect it to another iPLATE in your dinner room …
As we said before a similar device would be useful for different purposes that are not for specific markets but able to introduce new ways of interacting with your computer.
– Touch screen for museums and information points – Writing recognition (with ideograms) – Voice command through the included Mic (with USB connection) – Cad / Design / DTP / Art input – Multimedia terminal for easy access to Internet
and can turn rapidly to full feature standard desktop or portable computer.
It’s only a dream? This personal rough sketches are only a glimpse of a future device but most of that technology works on the platform is ready or to be in six months … We'll wait and see …