What Could Be Apple's Next 'Absolutely Different' Product?

In 2001 it was the iPod. In 2007, the iPhone. And three years later, it was the iPad. Now, the rumour is that Apple may be preparing an entire new product line. But what could that be?

The rumour has been published by Makotakara, a Japanese site that has been right about a few things in the past, but contains absolutely no detail about what the product could be:

According to anonymous source in Asian supplier company, Apple seems to be preparing project to release new Mac line-up which is absolutely different from current products until end of this year.

Though this source does not told in detail, this new Mac line seems to be clearly different products from current ones, so new product name could be given.

So what could this product be?

First of all, if you say it is an Apple LCD TV, you get a crotchpunch. That old rumour has been beaten more times than the Chicago Cubs.

The rumours says it's a Mac product line, completely different from current products. A conservative idea could be a complete migration of the MacBook Thicko line to MacBook Airy standards. But that's not "completely different". It's just a thinner MacBook with less ports.

Luckily for you, I can see the future looking at the bottom of my cornflakes bowl.

The true next-generation iMac

The most logical-but-kind-of-wild idea is a redefinition of the iMac, a form factor that has remained stable since 2004, when the iMac G5 — the first all-in-one flat panel Mac — was introduced. And the most logical-but-kind-of-wild redefinition of the iMac would be a hardware redesign that finally merges touch computing.

All the stars are aligning to make this happen as soon as 2012. First, the operating system. Despite its failure to merge iOS and Mac OS X in a truly effective way, it's clear that Lion is paving the way to a complete touch oriented world at Apple.

Lion is pushing developers to implementing full-screen mode and change their user interface too, with bigger buttons which will be easier to hit in a 100 per cent touchscreen world. Apple's own apps are a perfect example of that, the most obvious case being iPhoto.

This doesn't necessarily mean the disappearance of keyboards or even the disappearance of iMacs or Mac Pros or Macbooks. That would be stupid. Not today or next year, anyway. But, as HP recently admitted when they announced the death of WebOS, "there is a clear movement in the consumer PC space" and that "the tablet effect is real".

The truth is that, psychologically, consumers now crave direct touchscreen interaction. The market is almost ready to make the jump. Anyone who has used an iPad quickly learns the language. It becomes part of their NDA in a way that the mouse and the keyboard can't. And, despite the naysayers whining, the truth is that many industries are now hooked to the iPad. From musicians to doctors to architects to executives, they are all into it. If anything, they want a more powerful, larger product.

And that could be Apple's new product, a next generation iMac that fully embraces the touch interface principles. How this product could be, I don't know.

Steve Jobs himself has said many times that he can't imagine people touching their iMacs in the way the touch their iPads. That's true. It would not be practical... for the current iMacs. But I bet my Captain America underpants that, if this rumour pans out, we are going to see a new machine from Apple that would try to redefine again how we interact with computers. Except this time it will not be just a computer for the sofa, but a computer for the desktop. [Macotakara via Macrumors]


Comments

    I just can't see how an upright screen could accommodate touch functionality. When I use my desktop I'm constantly clicking away. In pure comfort terms, having to raise your hand to the screen every time you want to interact won't be comfortable.

    Maybe a touch pad sitting on the desk to replace the mouse, but is that really what you're talking about then? Or is it just a touch-based peripheral which effectively is just like a stylus tablet..

      Who says this new iMac would have to be stading upright all the time?

      It might be able to stand upright and let you use mouse/keyboard or let you twist the screen down so it's almost lying on the table (probably at an angle) which would be comfortable for touch control.

        That wold be great for artists/architects as a art table sort of thing. (I am not artistic, I don't know the terminology)

          Being a qualified draftperson, I can tell you for sure that it would not work. The precision of a mouse cursor cannot be achieved with a meat sausage. The same can be said for photoshop and any design software for that matter. Finger painting is for children.

        Then I'm going to be hunched over it like an old Neo Geo machine...

        Hey, it'll be useless, but at least it'll be innovative, and 'revolutionary'..

        Go the Apple Army..

    an iOS Macbook.

    Touchscreen keyboard.

    A family sized bag of M&M's

    OOOOh touch computing, how innovative! lol

    Apple have nothing left, the iPod wasn't revolutionary, the marketing of it was. There were plenty of iPod'ish device around before it hit the scene. not even the 'i" prefix is new, remember iRiver??

    The iPad name was bought of Cisco and the device itself was nothing new, just a refinement of earlier devices.

    FaceTime aka video calling that was dropped from phones years ago because noone used it, remember the 3 network??

    Apple no doubt will find another existing idea and convince everyone that it's something new and great they have invented in a magical marketing campaign designed to woo and amaze with factless content.

      Oh, and let's not forget that HP already brought out the TouchSmart PC oh so long ago...

      So yeah, it probably will be something like that - just marketed better (and in white)

        And done right. To reinvent an idea and make it work is far more difficult than creating a failure.

          They were never failures, they just didn't have sheep following and they attempted the ideas years ago when technology couldn't accommodate ideas like these very well.

            Umm... That is a failure. Just because somethings a good product doesn't mean its not a failure. I was a big fan of iriver and had a hdd H120 before an iPod. It was great but was a failure compared to iPod.

      Just thought I'd add that video calling has stayed with us from the start... You didn't notice every phone has a front facing camera since? And that 0.3 megapixel camera is not for taking pixelated self portraits either. FaceTime is not even close as you need wifi.

    Its an iOS5 netbook with touchscreen and gesture control abilities.

    Makes sense. A touch panel (20"-30") running OSX Lion, sits on a desk with the 2 stands on the back like a keyboard that let you adjust the viewing angle. You'd still be able to elevate it to a 90 degree angle and use a keyboard/mouse if you wanted to. This would be the next generation of iMac.

    Something to rival two of its biggest competitors, Microsoft & Sony = A Games Console?

    When the iPad was first announced Steve did say they did look and tested a touch laptop style Mac. But they found the motions all wrong. How ever I can see a Macbook style iPad may be in the works.

    I imagine a mac that looks similiar to what we have now, but the screen slides down forwards and tilts right back so it looks something like a drafting table.

    Would make sense for graphics work, with a special stylus that doesnt need batteries aka conductive. Could be used for gaming and would probably be cool for browsing, though I can't see it being faster than a keyboard and mouse.

    But remember Apple has typically owned the market for new users/elderly/tech illiterate so a touch interface would really be a selling point. I think it would be important for them to go down the path of not requiring a keyboard/mouse at all for those who don't know how to use one.

    I personally find a keyboard and mouse the best, but they may win me over if software like Photoshop really engages the touch interface and allows very accurate stylus work.

    1. Take Microsoft Surface 2 (Samsung SUR40)
    2. Install OSX
    3. Brushed aluminium
    4. ?????
    5. Profit

    4 is probably just hype.

    the ipod ultranano. now with an even more useless 1.25cm touchscreen display, so small you can take it anyway and the lack of display saves you battery power.

    My money is on it being a) voice activated iMac B) Games Console.

    The latter would be a "completely different product" and as Playstation and Xbox have no immediate new systems coming out it would stand alone for a while. Although being apple its likely to be thousands of dollars.

      God I wish they'd let go of the voice thing. Noone uses voice to do things. Argh!

    iDog

    its like a Dalmatian but swap the black spots for bushed aluminum and you but to plug it in to you mac via a 30 pin connection before you can pat it.

    iRobot imo

    The stuff that Apple have been doing with touch/gesture interfaces always reminds me of the futuristic computers they has in The Fifth Element and Minority Report.

    A 20+ inch iPad could replace PCs in many, many businesses. This could be huge.

      Yes, it would be huge. 20+ inches is in fact quite large.

    An electronic draftmans table one minute upright desktop the next.

    Why do people think that Apple is the onle revolutionary organisation?

    Yes it revolutionised the smart phones, tablets and mp3 players, but companiens are supposed to revolutionary, so we buy their stuff!!!

    Apple is gone, the decade of the apple is gone.

    The cult of the Apple will last for a little while longer.

      haters gotta hate

        Definition of a cult - 'A misplaced or excessive admiration for a particular person or thing.'

        Have you seen when the new iphone/ipad are released? People can wait days in a queue.
        How is it not a cult?

    definately not a gaming console. for that to happen, games would already need to be in production and we havent heard a sniff of that, unless they want to make it compatible with the current library of ipad/iphone "games".
    touch interfaces are not the future. when will people realise that? touch is clumsy and inefficient. Even using other interface types such as speech or even synaptic, are woefully inefficient compared to simple mouse/keyboard.

    I can see perhaps a gesture interface that doesnt require physical contact (something Kinect-like?)

    What about intelligent home appliances with the apple branding? A toaster that you can schedule or remotely manage.

      Agreed, definitely no games console from Apple, at least not in a traditional sense. They will continue to sneak into the market for a while to come. Better to leave it as a hobby in case it fails, it won't damage the reputation. This is the case of the Apple TV, they tell people it's not really a thing while they work out the kinks. They aren't about to compete in the games market in a big way. Rather, let people have fun trying to get iPhone and iPad games onto the TV. Even though they are simple games, it feels more innovative doing something that appears it wasn't really designed to do.

      A 40-60 inch OLED Apple TV would up the ante a little, but the games will still leverage the app store and just make it more desirable. Still not a games machine, it just happens to play games/apps too, and rent videos, and have 5 tuners, and stream to/from multiple idevices, and pause/rewind/record live TV, and make HD video calls/conferencing, and have great software to simplify all of this for your Mum.

      A touchscreen iMac has to be around the corner, we've seen the patent with the stand that allows it to go from standing to tilting. They've probably revised that 1000 times to enable movement with one finger.

      What about a connected projector/Apple TV thing? This could be something worth considering either as stand alone or as part of the next generation of devices. iPhone's and iPad helping to operate it. They've made moves into the business world and this could be something to move a little further. Think of all the presentations that happen in conference rooms across the world every day. And how easy it is to store a presentation on the iPad, arrive at your destination, wireless connect to the projector and off you go. Perhaps B&O will provide the audio for the visual?

    Hmmm, Apples version of the Microsoft Surface maybe? Or a iMac Air? LED backlit screen with mobile components to keep the thickness down to a minimum?

    It is interesting to see how many comments about Apple is of jealousy nature, sour grape and how many people keeps saying this can't work and that can't work.

    A true innovator will find ways to make things work and not live in the past.

    I don't know what the new device may or may not be, but Apple's spirit in innovation simply is inspirational.

    HP made a right decision by making an attempt at mobile devices, and rightly so to surrender as Apple is simply in its own league. Google Android: keep it up or you'll be next in no time (Moto purchase is definitely the right move to catch up with Apple)

      lol the only innovative thing about Apple is the marketing

        +1 Norgan

        I rest my case - another opinion based on jealousy of Apple's success.

        But good point, Apple isn't just an innovator in technology, but marketing - genius

          So... disagreeing with you is jealousy?

    if they release a netbook sized macbook air or something along the lines of that.. i'll get mental..

    i remember steve jobs at the ipad release "who uses a netbook anyway"

    My bets on a games console or an Apple Interpretation of a games console.

    Apple could be as secretive if not more then they were with the iPhone, where only a select few people actually new what the finished product was going to be.

    It will be a "surface" computer like thing... an oversize ipad that have lots more ports.... it will have build in TV tuner card, Microsoft Kinect type sensor, and virtual augmented reality...

    Is it too soon to start wishing for an iCherry 2000?

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