My reasoning about the possibly forthcoming iProduct was adopted by the nice folks at Mac+ (in Portuguese). For that piece, my friend, master illustrator Mario Amaya, made a few mockups which came out quite well.

Here is the closed device. I do disagree about shiny black – I think the aluminum Unibody design is more likely – but it does look good:

Regarding the name, by the way, “iBook” might be a good name to re-use if Apple really has the intention of doing to the ebook reader market what they did to the smartphone market. (It would also have the advantage that Apple already has all the registrations and trademarks.)

Here’s the opened device in horizontal browser mode:

This shows the foreground application on the top screen, and the virtual keyboard on the bottom screen. Note the URL and some other controls on the bottom, too. If there were other apps or widgets running in the background, either icons (Dock-like) or very reduced windows (Exposé-like) for each could be shown in a row above the keyboard.

The same mode would also be used for movie watching:

and of course the movie player controls would substitute the keyboard. Notice how power consumption would be reduced by keeping most of the pixels on the bottom screen turned off – one advantage of OLED screens.

For gameplay the bottom screen would be folded completely behind the device:

The game would be controlled by the thumbs in front and by the other 8 fingers on the back screen (whose pixels would be completely turned off).

Finally, here’s one way of implementing the ebook mode:

While I would like this to be feasible, in a first-generation device it would mean that both screens have to be the same resolution; two HD-capable screens (1280×720 at 200ppi) will probably set the device’s price too high, or they’d have to go down to 1024×576 at 160 dpi, or even 800×450 at 120 ppi.

It’s more likely that the top screen will have full-HD resolution, and that the bottom screen would have just enough to show the virtual keyboard. 800 or 640 pixels wide might be enough. In this case, the ebook mode would look just like the game mode – second screen folded to the back – but in a vertical position.

The thickness of the device is, as I mentioned, about 20 mm in the closed position. For balance reasons, the battery has to be in the bottom part. If the ebook function uses a double screen, the two halves should have 10 mm each; otherwise, the top part could be very thin, maybe just 2 or 3 mm.

In fact, the battery will take up 1/2 to 2/3 of the device thickness – current battery energy densities are still far from optimal. No doubt in 10 or 15 years, we’ll have a very thin slate device, probably foldable in the middle, mostly made from graphene with an integrated supercapacitor. Such a device could be made as thin as 0.5 mm; no doubt they’ll then have to fluff it up with aerogel to a thickness of 5 mm or more, or else we won’t be allowed to take it on an airplane! icon_smile.gif

Also notice the iPhone-like Home button at the bottom, and the camera pinhole at the top. As I said, Apple has a patent for incorporating a camera into a screen, but this is unlikely to become reality anytime soon. For augmented reality a second camera in the bottom/back half would also be nice to have.

The mockups don’t show any external connector. It will either have a small folding door like in the MacBook Air, or an iPhone-like dock connector, I think.