"We believe there is a 50% chance that a new form factor will be introduced, marking Apple's entrance into the emerging "MID" or mobile internet device market," American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu wrote in a report to clients Thursday. "Our sources indicate 4-inch and 7-inch touchscreen devices beyond prototype stage that are a cross between a Mac and iPod touch."
Nope. Apple won't do it.
Next week is just about All iPhone All The Time.
The big news will be all the added features to the latest 3G version of the iPhone.
The other big news will be all the apps apps apps people will be able to buy.
Introducing something else would steal that spotlight.
Apple is focused on one goal at a time.
Next week's goal is to sell those iPhones.
Anything else would not only distract from that, it would detract from that.
Steve Jobs is much too clever to sabotage himself.
We'll begin to hear some solid murmurings about an iPod Air (or Mac Mini Touch or Mac Nano Touch) in July, when an update to the iSDK is made.
Leaks will come out indicating device resolution independence which will point to a larger screen device.
There will also be some strange things that will point to seriously syncing devices.
There will also be hints of features that aren't in either the iPod Touch or the iPhone. One of these might be handwriting recognition, but I seriously doubt that.
What I really expect is hardware keyboard support.
I don't think we'll be getting that at all with either the iPod Touch or the iPhone.
Apple can justify this by stating the iPod Touch is an entertainment device. And while the word "productivity" has been used in relation to the iPhone (as justification for it possessing Bluetooth while the iPod Touch lacks it), I think that word can be sliced to mean "light productivity."
A Bluetooth hardware keyboard would mean actual productivity: word processing, spreadsheets, presentations (basically anything contained in the iWork suite).
It's clear the current Apple Bluetooth keyboard is not the one that will be paired which such a device. The aesthetic is simply wrong. I expect Apple to create another Bluetooth keyboard that will stylistically complement an iPod Air (or Mac Mini Touch or Mac Nano Touch).
So save your enthusiasm; focus it on the iPhone and the AppStore.
Once all that's sorted out, you can expect Apple to make Back To School hardware noises.