[Update September 24, 2007: Skip this post. The iPod Touch shows I was totally full of shit.]
I then followed that with evidence why such a February debut was plausible, in Steve Jobs: The Sixth Beatle?
Tonight I was thinking about the device itself.
And it occurred to me that a Multi-Touch screen simply doesn’t make sense for it. And it’s the lack of this feature that would allow Apple to alleviate the concerns of Cingular/AT&T over a widescreen video iPod blunting iPhone sales. The lack of Multi-Touch would be a sharp point of differentiation between the two devices.
In fact, there’s just one thing a widescreen video iPod needs from the iPhone that makes sense: the accelerometer.
I envision a video iPod acting like this:
It’s held in the hand just like current iPods, in portrait orientation. Of the 320×480 screen, the top portion displays a 320×240 “virtual screen.” Below that, again in 320×240 pixels is a “virtual clickwheel” just like any other iPod. This is the orientation for interacting with it. It’s really no different than any other iPod except for that on-screen wheel.
Select a video, photo, text, or music and then tilt it into landscape mode and that virtual wheel disappears and everything becomes widescreen.
Video is widescreen.
Photos are widescreen.
Text is widescreen (hello ebooks!).
Music is a special case. I can see the album art displaying on the left side at 320×240, with the 320×240 on the right side displaying the album title, artist name, genre, and progress bar.
Tilting the iPod into landscape puts it in display mode. No on-screen controls are accessible. This is a “read-only” mode.
To access the wheel again, tilt it back into portrait and everything shrinks back to a virtual screen on the upper half and the virtual wheel reappears in the lower half.
Perhaps I’m being too optimistic in thinking this is at all possible. Maybe aside from the accelerometer, the proximity sensor would also be needed to enhance using the virtual wheel?
Three other things:
1) I called the 320×480 screen a while ago.
2) “Virtual skins” would be possible (Apple will probably hog this action and coin a horrible term: “skintones” — ala ringtones).
3) In terms of advertising, I can really see the TV ad:
Fade in from black to an all-yellow screen while The Beatles’ song “Yellow Submarine” plays with these lines: “We all live in a Yellow Submarine, a Yellow Submarine…” as the camera pulls back and we see a rectangular yellow object which then turns to face us: the new Yellow Submarine Edition of the video iPod, showing a clip from the animated “Yellow Submarine” movie playing. The iPod tilts to landscape and we see the clickwheel go away and the video become widescreen.
Fade to black with Apple logo and screen text:
The all-new iPod
Now with bigger video
And The Beatles too
But having written all this, I also recently wrote Why Hasn’t Anyone Noticed The iPod Is Dead?.
Eh. Things change.