Apple’s iPod part PDA

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Ever since Steve Jobs killed the Newton a few years back, there have been rumors that the folks in Cupertino were busy working on a "new, improved" Apple PDA. However, with the passing of each Macworld conference those hopes were quickly dashed.

But then last year Apple unveiled an interesting new handheld device called the iPod. While it turned out to be a portable MP3 music player rather than a PDA, it was close enough to rekindle the hopes of the Apple faithful.

Now, at this week’s Macworld conference in Tokyo, Apple has released an updated version of the iPod and, lo and behold, it contains built-in software that enables it to store Contact information, just like you’d find…well, just like you’d find on a Newton!

Well, almost.

The cool new iPod Contacts feature only lets you view–not update or add–names and addresses downloaded from applications like Microsoft Entourage, Palm Desktop and Mac OS X Address Book, but it’s a start. (There’s a firmware upgrade for current iPod users to add the new Contacts functionality.)

The Apple iPod ($499) measures 4" tall by 2.4" wide by 0.78" thick and weighs just 6.5 ounces. That’s not bad for a device that sports a 10GB hard drive, enough to store 2,000 songs (and 1,000 vCards), claims Apple. (There’s also a 5GB model for $399.) And its 1200 mAh lithium polymer rechargeable battery can last up to 10 hours.

The iPod has a 2-inch liquid crystal display, illuminated by a white LED backlight, capable of 160×128 pixel resolution at 0.24-mm dot pitch. That makes it slightly smaller than the standard 160×160 Palm handheld screen.

OK, so it isn’t a Newton, or even an iWalk, but it certainly shows the potential for the development of this product line. Imagine a slightly larger color LCD and enhanced software.

Hey, we can dream, can’t we?  

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