SpyMac's iWalk PDA – Fact or Figment?

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, January 3rd, 2002, 08:44
Category: Archive

Just letting you know that SpyMac has pictures and video of a rumored Apple branded PDA called the iWalk. It fits with the current Apple design styling and the images and video would be hard to fake.

 BORDER=

They have just published the first (seemingly) “real life” images and video clip of Apple’s new iWalk device that should be made public at Macworld next week. So far the device looks like a hopped up PDA beast that is based on OSX, has built in firewire, full colour display, possibly full wireless capabilities, and something the site calls “Gigawire”.


Just letting you know that SpyMac has pictures and video of a rumored Apple branded PDA called the iWalk. It fits with the current Apple design styling and the images and video would be hard to fake.

 BORDER=

They have just published the first (seemingly) “real life” images and video clip of Apple’s new iWalk device that should be made public at Macworld next week. So far the device looks like a hopped up PDA beast that is based on OSX, has built in firewire, full colour display, possibly full wireless capabilities, and something the site calls “Gigawire”.

Details are sparse at best, but if this thing is real and has an emulation layer (i.e. blue box, yellow box, red box, etc.) then this could be a Palm killer, especially if you can easily emulate your favourite palm software. Add in the obvious Unix guts and this baby is one interesting creature.

I’m not sure about the design… there’s a large jog wheel at the bottom similar to the iPod, which seemingly takes up a large amount of space for little returned value. The entire screen can be used and written on with the stylus pen.

Is it real or a crafty Photoshop job? I don’t know, but we need to explore it further.

[updated 12:40 pm]

From a post by Ratko Jovicic on Google Groups (dated 10-30-2001):

Since I was an Apple evangelist before joining the PocketPC world I just received this interesting article on a possible new Apple PDA. Previous versions spotted at the Apple campus featured firewire- and network-ports (located within a port-replicator connected to the device using what is apparently called the “gigawire”-port) in addition to Apple’s own AirPort-technology.

Though AirPort was dropped a while ago due to high power consumption, it appears to be back in by now. The network-port was replaced by a standard 56k modem which allows direct access to data stored on Apple’s iDisk servers. The current version of iWalk does not appear to be ready for mass-production by now and therefore will only be announced on Tuesday 23rd but won’t be out in the stores until somewhen in December (approximately two weeks before christmas).

So what is the “iWalk”? Many people have asked that question. The iWalk is a kind of PDA with a lot more features than one could have previously expected: It features a high-color TFT-screen with handwriting recognition (using former newton-technology so it’s a lot better than current palm os recognition) and direct access to both data stored on local macs (using AirPort) or on iDisk-volumes (using either routing through AirPort or the built-in modem).

It has audio in- and output-ports so it can act as a usual mp3-player when connected to a stereo. The amazing feature is that mp3 files don’t have to be stored locally on the device but can be streamed via AirPort from any Mac that has an AirPort-card and iTunes 2 installed which is going to be released on Tuesday as well. This is not the only feature of iWalk though: Is has all the usual PDA-applications installed and is capable of recording speech as mp3 files using a build-in microphone. (It has built-in speakers as well but those aren’t of good quality as it seems).

The operating system of this device appears to be a scaled-down version of OS X. Don’t get this wrong: OS X in its current form would be painfully slow on any processor slower than a G3 but it is a modular system which apparently allowed Apple to skip many parts of the OS that require a lot of processing power and instead concentrate on the basis functionality such a device requires.

Aqua has not been implemented but instead a UI similar to the QuickTime- and iTunes-interface is used that can be controlled via touch-screen and handwriting-recognition. Features of the current version include:

  • TFT-Display (512×256 resolution, 65k colors)
  • memory of 128 MB for low-end-version, 256 MB high-end
  • one firewire IEE 1394 FireWire-port
  • one 56k MoDem
  • OS X (scaled-down “newtonlike”-version)
  • LiIon-battery (20 h / approx. 9 days standby)

SpyMac has 8 pictures and three QuickTime movies of the alleged iWalk on their site but you have to give them your email address to register. After looking at the movies your editor is of the opinion that they are very creative fakes. I guess we’ll know for sure in less than four days.

What do you think? Drop a line in the Future Hardware message boards with your comments.

Recent Posts

Comments are closed.