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.
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.
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.