Rumor: brand new portable Apple product being developed

By , Sep 4, 2013

Apple logo (space 001)

For the first time, mobile devices with a screen between five and seven inches – colloquially named phablets – are now outselling both PCs and tablets in Asia. That said, it doesn’t surprise us that Apple’s supply chain partners and analysts have been calling for an Apple-branded phablet for some time now. For the time being, however, an iPhablet remains just a pipedream.

Should a new report be trusted, the iPhone maker could instead be working on a new portable device. Likely powered by Apple’s iOS mobile operating system, the mystery gizmo could fall between the current full-size 9.7-inch iPad and the MacBook Air lineup, which comes in eleven and thirteen-inch flavors…

AppleInsider learned from “people familiar with the matter” that a new portable Apple product could launch within the next twelve months, allegedly shipping with an entirely new 17-watt power supply.

Apple currently offers a 12-watt adapted with iPads (the original 10-watt variant has been phased out), while iPhones ship with a 5-watt adapter. As for the MacBook notebook family, these computers come with a 60-watt MagSafe adapter.

This led AppleInsider to conclude that a mystery device may require “slightly more juice than the current iPad but significantly less than the company’s MacBook Air lineup”.

The Apple TV contains an internal 6-watt power supply, the Mac mini has a built-in 85-watt power supply and the AirPort Extreme wireless appliance currently uses about 25 watts at 120 volts.

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One insider told AppleInsider that the new power supplies that Apple’s allegedly been ordering is for an external adapter, “similar to the USB plugs used for the iPhone, iPad and iPod lineups”.

“That means the only Apple products to currently use external power adapters are iOS devices, iPods, and MacBooks — portable devices,” the publication conjures.

One possibility is an iOS-powered MacBook powered by an in-house built ARM processor. Such a device would combine the iPad’s power efficiency and provide the full desktop experience with at least 24-hour battery life.

Bloomberg last November said Apple’s hardware guru Bob Mansfield is leading an effort to drop Intel chips by 2017 by taking the A-series processors Apple designed in-house for the iOS product family and put them inside Macs.

Apple engineers have grown confident that the chip designs used for its mobile devices will one day be powerful enough to run its desktops and laptops, said three people with knowledge of the work, who asked to remain anonymous because the plans are confidential.

Apple pundit John Gruber opined in May, “I expect an iOS notebook eventually; I expect never to see a touchscreen MacBook”.

Another possibility is a 13-inch ‘iPad Pro’, if you will.

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Unwired View back in May was first to mention the possibility of a 12.9-inch iPad in early-2014, but it wasn’t until The Wall Street Journal threw its credibility behind the rumor that it grew legs. Apparently, Apple asked its Asian suppliers to come up with screen designs for “a new tablet device measuring slightly less than 13 inches diagonally”.

A larger iPad could appeal to creative types and those who need bigger canvas for content creation. It could also lend itself nicely to video editing, photo management and other resource-intensive tasks.

According to Apple’s patent filings, the company is actively researching new user interfaces – among them an Aperture iPad photo interface. Indeed, a 13-inch iPad with something like an Aperture X would go a long way toward silencing critics who dismiss the iPad as a pure content consumption device.

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  • Boss

    Would love an iPad Pro without the Mobile iOS

    • Glorin

      You won’t be able to use it without a mouse

    • on3simpleclick

      Second that. Maybe a streamlined version of Maverick suited to the touch screen environment. iOS isn’t suited for devices larger than the current iPads.

      • Brandon Weidema

        so you want an OS X version of Windows 8? No thanks haha

      • Joseph

        Did you know that Modern UI (Metro) is essentially Launchpad, but with customizable tile sizes?

        Yeah. Put that into perspective.

      • mehrab

        Windows 8 did things macs have been doing a while now launch pads better search integrating app stores intuitive mutitasking and since windows could not have trackpad gestures they did them on the screen which was not a reall a big hit in the market

      • Joseph

        Windows has trackpad gestures, just not natively. It’s a bit of a setback, but not a large one. :p

      • mehrab

        Yeah dont get me wrong but it”d be crazy to think that a full on touch screens does not beat a trackpad with gestures i guess its awkward and weird reaching up to the screen and scrolling multitasking etc. The pinch to zooms muititasking and lauchpad gestures escially scrolling on mac are better they just are they are more intuitive and idk “they just feel more right more practical” lol

      • Brandon Weidema

        if your desktop is launchpad then maybe

    • Alejandro Maximo Marez

      lol, macbook air mini/lite

  • Lÿo

    Is it just me who thinks this has something to do with the rumored Apple iTV?

    • Jonathan

      Just you.

  • Jonathan

    Beautiful. Almost cried. A manly cry.

  • ✘✘Aineel Nocum

    How can a full desktop experience be provided with a mobile OS??? Can anyone please support Christian’s claim?

    • Joseph

      iOS and Android both support wireless keyboards and mice via Bluetooth, which solves that problem. Additionally, a lot of apps might be built well enough that they can provide a decent experience.

      Putting that into consideration, Microsoft definitely had the right idea with Surface (but a bad implementation); a tablet that functions as a full laptop when connected to a keyboard, allowing you to continue your work in your preferred manner, depending on your location. There are tons of keyboard cases for iDevices and Android devices, meaning that it’s perfectly plausible, too.

  • Riley Freeman

    I still think they should do what a few others have already done and a laptop with a detachable screen that becomes an iPad. Yes it would be expensive but 2 in one I’d much rather.

  • bn326160

    You can ‘hack’ a touch screen on a mac, actually OS X is quite optimized for touch screens already

    • Jonathan

      How so?

      • bn326160

        There exist 3rd party touchscreens which you can place on top of your screen or build into your laptop screen. The OSX dock is very touch-friendly and the on-screen keyboard aswell :)

      • Jonathan

        Can you show me one? I’ve been looking for them.

  • Daniel Beecham

    we need new Products Now!!! Samsung just had there Event and they have 3 New things, Galaxy Note 3, Galazy Gear and a new Tablet, COME ONNNNN APPLE, YOU HAVE TO WIN THIS FIGHT!!!!

  • Gregory Kitchens

    i’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I’ve been waiting a long time for a 11-13 inch or even 15 inch tablet. However, I had a 1st gen tablet that I dont use much because of it’s weight and bulkiness.

  • Umut Bilgiç

    All I say: Mac OS X + iPad

    People could go like “woah apple steals the windows 8 idea” but i frikkin want an ipad run full-fledge mac os x

  • XboxOne

    iGame game console :D

  • Danibal59

    iPad with OSX

  • 3aloo1

    This will be awesome with OS X and it will be more comfortable in place of laptops specially for business travelers