MacTouch Anyone?

September 24, 2007

James Kendrick lobbed a hand grenade into the mobiquiblogosphere yesterday with his assertion that the company best capable of producing the “handheld computer” to attract the masses is of course, Apple. Since JK posted at 0dark:30 yesterday morning, a veritable who’s who of mobiquizoid all-stars had all day to chime in with their thoughts in the comments section, and it was a fascinating conversation to say the least. One mobile tech guru glaringly MIA during this discussion: Where for art though Hugo?

My 2 cents: An Ultra Mobile Mac might look like an OQO sized iPhone/iPod Touch minus the slide out qwerty (a MacTouch or iPhone “Fatty” if you will). It might have included in the box the new wireless Apple keyboard, and some sort of Samsung Q1esque Organizer Case. It would weigh less than a pound and the screen would have an 800×600 resolution, scalable of course via the same multi-touch funtionality of the iPhone/iPod Touch. An integrated stand would certainly be nice, but I can’t figure out how to do that in my head while still conforming to Apple’s minimalist design ethos. Ports might include 1 USB, 3.5 mm headphone jack, HDMI Out, iPod like dock receiver, and maybe a SIM card slot. 5 Megapixel camera on the back? Maybe. Under the hood: x86 processor of the Silverthorne variety, 30GB of flash memory and, an embedded but beefier version of the iPhone flavor of OSX with a somewhat compromised version of iWork included. Writing on the screen with some sort of stylus with a Magic Marker like tip – very hard to imagine but imagine how nice an Apple Stylus might be?

Of course this begs the question: who the heck is going to buy this and at what price point? Obvious answer: mobiquizoids at any price point!

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As I type this on a keyboard I have to honestly say I despise, I’m otherwise nearly as enthralled now as I was 11 Saturdays ago when first I fell in love. Actually the first couple days were more tenuos than that, as it took a bit to get used to revolutionary touch based interface. The hardware however, was and is head and shoulders above any portable electronics device ever made. In other reviews of the iPhone, I feel not enough has been said about this and, maybe the device is so stunning, it just goes without saying. I also think my device design druthers predisposed me to fall hard for this one. See, my ideal device would be 5-7 inch sleek, thin, slate, portrait oriented tablet computer. The iPhone/iPod Touch is currently the closest thing to that ideal available for purchase, if only it could be used like a tablet. If handwriting notes on the iPhone with some sort of special stylus becomes possible, I might be set for a long time. But, as it stands I still long for a device that doesn’t yet exist despite my tremendous overall happiness with the one I will always remember purchasing on 6/29/2007.

More excited than even my 2 year old

So, quick confession is in order: I was one of the idiots who bought the hype to such an extent that when I made it to the front of the line at the AT&T store, only soon to be defunct 4Gig models were available, and I was unwilling to risk the potential unavailability of an 8Gig model for even a few days. Little did I know, that I could have walked out of line and gone to an Apple Store 20 minutes from my house the next morning and picked one up, but when I have my sights set on something, my patience and purchasing discipline drop to near zero. I justified the $100 savings by telling myself that I don’t have much of a music/video library anyway, and that 4GB is 4 times more than any other flash storage amount used in any of my previous phones. Well, the $200 price drop coupled with the 4GB model end of life announcement by Jobs recently, made me feel used and stupid. Plus, my library has grown considerably since getting spoiledf by the iPod functionality of the iPhone, my first iPod. The unlocking achievements of late have made me encouraged that I could eventually buy an 8GB model, and more easily sell my 4GB model, but I still feel burned. The $100 early adopters credit also made me feel a lot better towards Apple, and I actually activated that credit a day ago and fancy using it towards either a Touch or a new iMac (brilliant implementation of the decision by Apple to throw the early adopters a bone as they stand to make more money from me sooner than they otherwise would have)

Though I will get into more specifics in upcoming posts, my overall grade of the iPhone thus far:

Hardware – A+

Overall UI – A+

Phone functionality – A

Phone performance – D

Email – C

Keyboard – D- (I haven’t gotten much better at it, but maybe I just suck?)

Web Browser – A+

Music/Video – A+

Camera – B+ (relative to other camera phones)

Viewing/Showing Pics – A+

Syncability – AHackability – A+ (now a true smartphone with a growing list of native 3rd party apps)

Blackjack compares nicely, but not that nicely:

Blackjack compares nicely, but not that nicely