Mike Elgan’s article in Computerworld is very interesting in that respect.
Events in the past 30 days lead me to conclude something unthinkable just one month ago: Apple — yeah, I said it — Apple! will ship the first ever successful small computer. Call it the Newton on Crack (or, more accurately, on Mac).
What he mentions is that there are moves into the “small computer” market being made by several companies (Palm, Nokia, UMPC makers), but that only Apple seems to have the right experience and a good feature mix in the iPhone/iPod Touch lineup that can allow to essentially dominate this newly established market.
If Apple ships an iPod Touch, but with good PIM (personal information manager) functionality, an optional wireless keyboard and good battery life for under $1,000, they win.
iPad (or iNewton?) would be a nice addition to Apple’s line-up, will also do one-up against both Palm (that is selling itself off to Redmond like there’s no tomorrow) and UMPC offerings (that have been unable to deliver anything worth while since the platform has been introduced). And judging by a few other patent application and pieces of news that were surfacing in the past 2-3 years, an Apple handheld may combine some features of Windows tablet (like synching with a desktop once near) and generic PDA (storing your PIM data, providing email/web browsing capabilities).
Much of it is already in iPod Touch, the only few things missing are a larger size for more comfortable operation and a few distinct features that make iPad similar yet different from the rest of i* family.