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Summary:

The stars appear to be aligning for a new Apple portable computing device. Will it be a Tablet? Perhaps a UMPC-contender? Difficult to say, but consider various evidence: Apple just filed a patent for an on-screen keyboard similar to the DialKeys application that various UMPCs are […]

Apple_touchpack_keyboardThe stars appear to be aligning for a new Apple portable computing device. Will it be a Tablet? Perhaps a UMPC-contender? Difficult to say, but consider various evidence:

I personally don’t like the concept of having all of the keys on side of the screen; I prefer the two-sided approach that DialKeys presents, but perhaps this is just conceptual right now. Besides, having the keys on side of the screen leaves room for the virtual click-wheel on the other side.

While I’d love to see a sleekly designed portable computing device from Apple, this is clearly all speculation. However, when you put these discrete bits of info together, it adds up to a interesting picture in the UMPC space. Any thoughts on if this will happen, or better yet, what are the implications to the Microsoft-based UMPC market if it does?

  1. now this is getting interesting, but my gutt feeling is that its for their tablet or the rumoured iPod Video

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  2. I doubt Apple will even consider something like an UMPC, as it’s simply not a device that is good for any productive use. It’s most likely a tablet-style computer (maybe even hybrid).

    One question to you Joe, why would a iPod video require a keyboard? We all know that iPod is well-known for the fact that there is almost no interaction whatsoever, besides the obvious play/pause/etc. controls.

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  3. The ultra-mobile PC platform concept is primarily for consumers, it doesn’t *have* to have any productive use. People just have to want it.
    If Apple produce a UMPC-like device I see 2 possible outcomes (OK, there are others, but I just want to talk about these two):
    1) Apple comes to dominate the market and everyone else is squeezed out. That would be bad, both for consumers and for developers.
    2) The presence of at least 2 competing platforms in the market spurs innovation and creates downward pressure on price. Within a year or so, a consensus minimal feature set emerges based on what people actually want and find easy to use. This reflects the experience in the palm-top market, where the presence of both Palm and Pocket PC/Windows Mobile has led to better devices than we would have seen if either had been absent.

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