Sunday, 26 April 2009

Many eyeballs, better mockups

Following Linus's Law, (with enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow), here's a revised mockup of theiPod Tablet. Our mockup has been doing the rounds over the past week, cropping up on sites in Romania, Germany and Russia. Thanks to all the sites that have featured a link - and thanks to all the readers from those sites who posted comments. On the basis of this feedback, I've made the following corrections:

  • Removed the Phone app icon
  • Substituted the iPod app icon for Music and Videos icons
  • Added volume buttons to the side, and power button to the top
  • Added a camera to the back

For those who picked up on the Bluetooth icon, this is deliberately there, since Apple will be supporting Bluetooth for wireless stereo headphones on the iPod Touch with iPhone 3.0.

Sorry for all the mistakes in the previous version. Doh! the humanity :)

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Tim Cook says no to "Mac" netbook... perhaps an iPod instead?

I'll be posting a more detailed discussion on Apple's earnings conference call soon, but this is just a quick one to observe that Tim Cook was quite careful with his words when he said that there would be no "Mac" netbook from Apple. He goes on to say that people wanting netbook-type functionality ("a small computer for e-mail or web browsing") may want to buy an iPod touch or iPhone instead.

So whilst Apple is sticking to their previous doubts about entering the netbook sector, they're open to positioning their iPod/iPhone line as a challenger in this area - which seems to add some credence to our previous post on an iPod Tablet.

(Updated for clarification based upon comment from ChuckGee)

Saturday, 18 April 2009

iPod Tablet [Mockup]

WIth the imminent release of iPhone 3.0, Apple is introducing landscape mode to all of its key apps. MacPredictions believes that this gives us a clue to the format of Apple's much-rumored low cost tablet.

Imagine an iPhone in landscape mode with the keyboard active. Now imagine that the screen is twice as deep - so it becomes 480x640 (VGA format, protrait) rather than the normal iPhone 320x480. It's not such a stretch to imagine this, as the illustration above demonstrates. You end up with a tablet capable of presenting 42 iPhone apps on a single springboard screen.

What's the significance of this? Screen density. As technology moves forward, screens become increasingly dense - that is, more pixels are packed into the same amount of space. As a consequence, the user interface elements become smaller. This doesn't matter so much on a Mac, where for example, the high density screen of a 17" MacBook Pro shows everything much smaller than the lower density screen of the MacBook Air. But on an iPhone, the size of the user interface matters a great deal, since the widgets must be the appropriate size to be operated by fingers.

Palm once solved this problem by leaping to a double density format. With the Tungsten T, Palm effectively doubled the resolution of their display from 160x160 pixels to 320x320, whilst the physical dimensions of the device remained the same. They were even able to provide backwards compatibility to Palm OS 4.0 applications, by offering a lower resolution mode (effectively two-for-one pixels).

Apple could perform a similar trick with the new iPhone 3.0 software for its tablet offering. By doubling the screen resolution, they can enable their key apps to take advantage of the higher resolution screen, whilst providing support for lower resolution iPhone apps. Moving forwards, they could encourage their app developers to support both native resolutions (320x480 and 480x640).

The really nice thing about such a device is that it could be manufactured relatively cheaply, since it would run the lightweight iPhone OS, rather than a full version of Mac OS X. It could also be touch screen without the bother of trying to work out how to retrofit Multi-touch onto Mac OS X (a seemingly intractable problem).

Estimated dimensions 85 x 120 x 10mm

Don't forget to check out this visual in full resolution to get a feel for all its VGA goodness.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Sunday, 12 April 2009

iPhone Video with VoiceOver and iChat Video

Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference is two months away. The big news that we're all hoping for is that Steve Jobs will be resuming his regular duties as Apple's CEO. And what better way to hit the ground running than with a Stevenote at WWDC to launch iPhone 3.0 and the all new iPhone Video.

As the rumors are steadily leaking out, a clear picture is beginning to emerge. The two biggest themes for iPhone in 2009 will be video and voice.

iPhone 3.0 will finally introduce MMS messaging (although Apple will avoid using the term MMS), whilst the new iPhone Video will finally offer a video recording feature (owners of earlier iPhones will likely be disappointed if they're expecting support for this via a software update). We may finally see the introduction of a video camera to the front of the phone, for use with iChat Video. This would, after all, be the most obvious way to differentiate the iPhone Video from the present iPhone 3G.

The new Shuffle has introduced VoiceOver to the iPod platform. This will inevitably find its way onto the new iPhone as well. We can expect it to come with the new headphones that already ship with the Shuffle, with integrated controls on the cord. However, VoiceOver will be extended further in the iPhone 3.0 software to support voice dialing and other voice commands.

Feature summary:

iPhone 3.0 software update
  • VoiceOver
  • Video messaging
  • Picture messages
  • Cut, copy & paste
  • Landscape mode
  • Stereo Bluetooth

All new iPhone Video
  • 3.2 megapixel camera
  • Video recording
  • iChat Video
  • 32GB
  • Headphone controls
  • Turn-by-turn directions (magnetometer - digital compass)
  • Matte-black back
  • Faster processor
  • 802.11n faster WiFi

Updates: Thanks to for pointing out that the camera should be 3.2 megapixel (now corrected). Thanks to everyone who pointed out that the screen should show iPhone 3.0 - also corrected. Some people have suggested that the front-camera would be concealed in some way. I think the best clue to how this would appear is the camera on the new MacBook Pro, that is on the black bezel, under the glass - this is how I've attempted to make it look. Finally, for those commenting on roundedness of the corners, this is deliberate to reflect the shape of the leaked iPhone casing (don't know if it's genuine).

Friday, 10 April 2009

A look at Snow Leopard's top-secret Marble UI [Mockup]

As more is steadily leaking out a Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, it's starting to sound like it will offer significantly more than simply the under-the-hood improvements promised at last summer's WWDC. Not that these improvements aren't important and welcome, but they're not what deliver sales of a consumer-oriented desktop operating system.

MacPredictions was always curious about how Apple was going to market an OS revision that offered no new end-user features. In fact, this blog had previously concluded that it would be offered as a free update to existing Leopard users.

But recent talk of a brand new user interface skin called Marble, which would reflect developments over the last couple of years in iTunes, iWork, Safari and iPhone, starts to promise us a little more.

So here, for your consideration, we present a mockup of how 10.6 might appear. In the background is iTunes, the rosetta stone of all Apple UI speculation. In front of it, there's a QuickTime X window. Contrary to popular opinion, which suggests it has a translucent window bar, we've mocked it up as reflective menu bar - similar to the way that the controls in the iPhone iPod application reflect the album art above them.

At the front, the window with focus is the new, completely re-written Cocoa Finder. MacPredictions has published a similar mockup of this before - featuring skimmable folders. Here, it's been updated to reflect the subtly tweaked button bar on the Safari 4.0 beta, which has a lighter highlight, and sharper keylines. Plus, of course, the controversial new tabs. Tabbed browsing in Finder will surely be worth the $129 upgrade fee alone.