Sunday, April 02, 2006
As I lay on my couch on Saturday afternoon enjoying my iPod's AOQAD smart playlist (Artists Of Quality And Distinction: all songs in my iTunes collection by Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Lloyd Cole, Beatles, U2, Elvis Costello, Aimee Mann, Vigilantes of Love, Mike Scott, Jellyfish, Emmylou Harris, Lucinda Williams and Ryan Adams) I wondered whether it would be worth investing in one of the devices that are now available that let me control the iPod remotely.
It occurred to me that this is all backwards. The iPod isn't much bigger than most remote units, its hard drive is bigger than many laptop computers, and its battery life is substantial. Why doesn't Apple install WiFi, Bluetooth, RF and infrared transponders in an iPod, so it can be used as a universal remote AND to wirelessly transmit the music/video stored on it to an Airport Express unit connected to existing AV equipment?
Then insert a SIM card, so I can use it as a mobile phone, along with a GPS unit to give it SatNav capability. Add a camera/video unit and a couple of SD memory card slots. Oh, and let's abolish earphone wires forever, give it Bluetooth earphones/microphone that are stored/charged in the iPad itself.
All of this data would need backing up, which could be done by wirelessly synchronising it with another computer, or while it is charging overnight to an internet-based service like Google or .Mac.
Finish the unit off with a high-resolution screen, a fast CPU and a useable operating system/interface (maybe a mixture of touch-screen on one side, and a traditional mobile phone set-up on the other?) and you have a device that would provide the majority of people with something that is getting close to being a complete entertainment and communication device. And it is possible using current technology. The Mio A710 has nearly all of these functions, in a unit that is compact and good-looking, with acceptable battery life. However, it lacks WiFi, and it runs Windows Mobile 5.
I've given up second-guessing Apple on its plans. However, there is no doubt in my mind that they are ideally placed to make a device like this desirable, usable and financially viable. And I really would like something to replace my ageing Nokia 6210 and long-dead Palm V!