Sunday, April 02, 2006

iPad


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!
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16 comments:

Skep said...

The amount of crazy stuff you suggested for the iPod got my psyched. Then to hear that something already does it... I had a nerdgasm. I must acquire one of these devices, purely for the sheer pleasure a simple (HAH!) piece of technology could bring me.

Sky Jordan said...

That young man of mine is mad... however, it does sound like a very cool gadget :3

CRuss said...

But he neglets to mention that the device shown in the top pic (Nokia 770) can also do quite a bit of these things and doesn't run WinMo 5.

Anonymous said...

the iPad doesnt even have tiger. give that thing tiger and dashboard and it would be immense. But what would be cool is if then included those sensing pixels so you could scan items into the iPad. Bluetooth headphones kind of a waste of battery life though

Ron said...

Hmm... That got me thinking - has anyone ever tried to do the OpenOSX-trick with an ultra personal computer made by OQO? Such a device running OS X would do most of this...

Ron said...

Sorry, I didn't mean OpenOSX, I meant OSx86.

Jason Prini said...

Maybe the reason the iPod has such a good battery life {and that can be debated} is BECAUSE it does not contain all the power hungry features you're talking about?

You gotta be carefull what you add to the iPod, becuase you can't take it away again.

brett jordan said...

agreed jason... and i wasn't thinking of this being a replacement to the iPod, hence the new name... and, i want to stress, this was a 'thinking' rather than a 'practical' piece...

Michael Moretti said...

The OQO is a nice unit... and well should be starting at $1899. Apple could easily build a challenger at this price point, but would they ever sell enough units?

Anonymous said...

Well, here's the rub. As you say, the iPod's battery life is "substantial". By the time you put in all that wireless stuff, it won't be! To keep the same battery life and do all the stuff you've proposed, we'd have to take a bit of a step back in iPod design to the older, thicker models, but that might be worth it!

brett jordan said...

Battery life is the kicker... but with intelligent software, the battery-draining items could be selectively switched on and off as required... so, if i'm using the iPad as a phone, the hard drive is shut down, along with the wireless stuff... when in a house/car there would be no problems, as it can be charged from the mains/battery (maybe wirelessly? http://www.splashpower.com/)

wiklagirl said...

Hmm, whatever what the technology - I like your AOQADs

darren said...

You've still got it all backwards. If you have an iPod, all your music is already on a desktop machine, which is easily outfitted with WiFi and Bluetooth. All you need is a device to control it.

My music library is all housed on a Mac mini, and i use either my Sony Ericsson T637 or my Dell Axim X50v to control it via Bluetooth or WiFi, respectively, using Salling Clicker. I'm also using an app called TuneConnect to control it from the two PowerBooks elsewhere in the house.

The audio gets streamed from the office to the main stereo in the living room via AirTunes, and come summertime, i may get a portable powered speaker system for use outside.

brett jordan said...

hi wiklagirl,

i'm guessing it was the ryan adams part of the playlist that caught your attention :-)

brett jordan said...

hi darren

thanks for the comments

your system is excellent if you spend your life in one place... the system i was thinking about would allow you to carry this around with you wherever you go, the train, your car, the workplace, other friend's houses, with very little weight or cost overhead

Seen The Future said...

The future is just that...a cross between an iPod, a remote and a cellphone. While some will continue to access the internet via desktops and laptops, the new phone/remote/iPod will be the vehicle of choice for most users before the end of this decade.