Friday, January 04, 2008

iBook, iPlay, iSlate

Andy Ihnatko makes a prediction in Macworld:

Apple’s new platform: Look at the puzzle pieces. A sophisticated, gesture-based user interface. OS X running on nontraditional devices. A new developer environment and API for iDevices that was so tricky that Apple couldn’t release it or even hint at it until three months after the iPhone was released… and even then, only under duress. Features embedded in Mac OS that help you invisibly tether two OS X devices’ resources together, whether they’re in the same room or merely on the same planet. A movement from Apple to put the bulk of its energy into consumer products and not computer products.

I’m fairly sure that 2008 will see an entire new platform. The iPhone is a phone, and the iPod touch is an iPhone without the phone stuff. The next i-Suffix will be a totally new thing. Not a Mac… not really. An iPhone, kind of, but sort of not. Take the screen off a MacBook and slice it in two vertically. That’s the device. It’ll play media—including Office documents, PDFs, and e-books—from its 16GB of flash storage. It’ll have Wi-Fi and the Safari browser… maybe even 3G or EDGE, as with an iPhone. It will secure-tunnel back to your home Mac or PC, and you’ll be able to use this thing to access any resources you might have left behind. It will put every digital resource you have at your fingertips, in one compact black slate.

It will run native software, too. Curious, isn’t it, that in October Steve Jobs announced that Apple wouldn’t be taking the wrapper off the iPhone developers’ kit until February? It’s almost as if the resources that are plainly available in the SDK would have spilled the beans on the device Steve intends to unveil during his Macworld Expo keynote in January.

Maybe I’m spot-on with this. Maybe not. But I’ll make one prediction about Apple’s hot new product of 2008 that I’ll stand behind without any waffling: whatever it is, people will complain that it costs way too much money, and they’ll happily stand in line for a minimum of 18 hours to get one.

1 comment:

Robin Sloan said...

I love the 'it's all in the SDK!' notion. Super smart bit of deduction, I think.

But what's the reference to resource-sharing between OS X devices? I missed that, somehow. Sounds very ambient-cloud-of-computing...