My First Prediction.. “Something Bigger”
I have received a lot of feedback about my previous article about Apple’s New A7 SoaC.
In it I figured that Apple, with a more powerful 64-bit CPU could open the door to create a new class of device. Throw in other, certainly circumstantial, rumours and whispers of Apple ordering a bunch of new 17W power supplies. This would suggest a device bigger than an iPad and potentially even replacing other devices they already offer. Again, I’m not sure how an iOS notebook would work? Would it be a mouse friendly iOS or a touch friendly OS X? Gesture device like the Leap maybe? I don’t know and I certainly don’t think myself smart enough to work that part out. I just smell something new on the horizon, and my best guess is just ‘Something Bigger’….
I’ll certainly admit, this isn’t a flawless idea, but I think I have some pretty solid arguments and new, again pretty damn circumstantial, “evidence” but if you are willing to suspend disbelief even a tiny amount. It’s not impossible to think that this is something Apple could potentially announce in the not too distant future.
For & Against
I got feedback via Email, Twitter, Google+ and App.Net some of it was well thought out and suggested of things I hadn’t, some of it in favour of the idea, and some of it with ideas that basically shut the whole thing down.
Here are a selection of the best…
@drcreek It’s a lot but not that much extra to suggest a new product category. I imagine it’ll be a better iPad battery.
— Matt Brian (@m4tt) September 15, 2013
Matt Brian from Engadget has suggesting something I had pretty much glossed over, what if the new iPad just a has a bigger or better battery, that maybe lasts longer or chargers quicker, and so needs the extra juice to accomplish this.
While this is a sound idea, I find it just as hard to believe Apple has invented a new kind of super fast or super dense battery, as much as a new class of device. Battery tech has been practically stagnant for years, and any progress has been made in making the computer more efficient, and use less power, rather than increasing the actual power of the battery. I also think that if Apple was to make battery power a priority, they would have put this tech in the iPhones first, where battery power is a higher priority anyway. The iPad gets great battery life for any device. Matt also added that the iPad had more room to play with for battery tech. But a video has been recently making the rounds of a guy on YouTube that made is own “DIY iPad 5″ and compared it to the 4th Gen, he states that it is much smaller, which means there is less room now than there has ever been for a bigger battery. This means tighter room for new battery tech and also if a battery is charged faster, there may be thermal complications, which a smaller space could make it even more difficult. I think it would be easier to put current battery tech in to a bigger space or in to a Macbook Air case, given the extra room and the smaller internals required, it could make a notebook with higher than 10 hour battery life, perhaps even dipping in to 24 hour territory. But I must admit, faster charging for the current iPad line would be a smart feature, if Apple have pulled off the small miracle of cramming more battery in to a smaller space.
@drcreek Interesting stuff. ARM powered notebook running iOS which now prompts you to download iWork, iMovie etc for free at startup…
— James Hobson (@jameshobson) September 15, 2013
This one strengthens the argument slightly, Apple have just done something that they have been doing on the Mac for quite some time. Giving away iLife, and now iWork, for free with all new devices. This is something they would have to do with an iOS Notebook, to keep it inline with the Mac and enable them to make more waves in enterprise. Maybe more people would be tempted to try iWork instead of Microsoft Office if, A it’s actually available, as there still isn’t a full version of MS Office for iOS, and B it’s free so why not try it anyway? If it works and there is a now a full version of iWork available on the web too via iCloud. This could a major shot across the bows of one of Microsoft’s flagship products and another way to gain more ground via BYOD market, as I still don’t think they have enough sway to gain favour with enterprise IT admins and supervisors. Yet.
Mr Santana here came up with a nice alternative. Maybe this 17W power supply is for the new Apple TV with the ability to be a full Apple Game Console. While the A7 would be capable of being this, there is more than enough power to do so. But 17W it’s too much power. The Apple TV requires only a couple of watts of power and sometimes even less than a single watt, while equipped with a 6-watt supply, it just takes a small amount of this. It would have to be a complete new beast of an Apple TV to require a jump over 20 times the power consumption, and the A7 chip in the iPhone 5S has more then enough power to push amazing graphics at high frame rates at the iPhones screen resolution, and has better power than a 4th iPad, which means should still be able to provide superb performance at 1080p. Probably not at the level of a PS4 or XBOX one. But what about an A7X chip, as is undoubtedly bound for the 5th gen iPad? We could be getting pretty close to next gen console performance. I still think however that because the Apple TV has such low power requirements now, I can’t see the power going that high, and while the original 17W power supply article doesn’t stress if the unit will be an external supply or an internal part, I doubt they would fit a 17W power supply in to the space of the current Apple TV and it almost certainly wouldn’t be external.
“There’s as much CPU power here as the first 11-inch MacBook Air, and more GPU power than an iPad 4.”
This backs up my theory the strongest, the power is there today to make it happen, and with an A7X or maybe another level up from the A7X chip, Apple could make a bigger iPad or iOS Notebook as good as a current Macbook Air with this chip and maybe even have some performance left over.
Other common arguments against…
“Something would have leaked from china by now.”
I have to say, this is a tough one to beat. They haven’t been able to keep much about the new iPad or new iPhone secret at all. The only big surprise we have had lately is the new Mac Pro. But the Mac Pro isn’t being built in china. It’s being made in the US. So maybe this new device is too? They would be able to keep better control on home soil, and use the Mac Pro as an excellent way of keeping costs down at the factories, (As you get bet your posterior that it will be extremely expensive but also with a high markup.) It would also act as an excuse for doing more things at home and act as a cover for the new devices being made in the US too.
“This wouldn’t fit in with Apple’s lineup”
I don’t think it is meant to fit in with the line up. I think it is the start of a transition of consumer “trucks”, MacBooks, becoming more like the “Family Saloons”, iPads. But some people need a bit more power now and then, this device would be that replacement. And Leave the Macbook Pro and the Mac Pro as the x86/x64, heavy machinery. Maybe even in the far off future, iMac would also go ARM, but that would need a form factor change on a large scale. More like a large desktop sized stationary iPad. Also I think a cheaper Notebook, that is easier to use and has more power than an iPad, plus a longer battery life, would fit in quite nicely. But as I have said, I’m not even certain it would be a full notepad, it could be a larger iPad. 12-13 inches and with extra features not currently available on the 9.7 or 7.9 models. Built to run a new iOS series of Apple’s Pro apps, like Final Cut, Aperture and Logic Pro.
So in conclusion, I still believe there is something new on the horizon, and I still believe it’s “Something Bigger’.
If anybody has any other holes to poke this stupid idea I’ve got stuck in my head. Please feel free to contact me via any of the methods listed at the top of the page or via a PingBack link. I welcome any new ideas on this.
I will link any feedback I get here.