Remember those rumors of a pint-sized iPhone that allegedly would debut later this year, the one the fanboy sites were calling the iPhone Nano? It turns out they were right about Apple's efforts to create a smaller device, but wrong about the form it would take.
Today, Apple revealed the real product: the iGlass, an iPhone-/iPad-like device embedded in reading glasses. The lenses can display a screen image, and there's a microphone in the frame and tiny speakers in each of the arms, a well as an audio jack at the back of the right arm and a tiny power connector (much like that of the Motorola Xoom tablet) at the back left of the arm. The left arm and frame are the battery, using a finer version of the same technology that Apple deploys in its iOS devices and MacBooks, which lets it mold the power cell into almost any shape.
Like other iOS devices, the iGlass can play music and videos. It can also run some apps, using a commercial version of eye-motion-detection technology pioneered at MIT that interprets eye movements as the equivalent of touchscreen gestures. The method is too cumbersome for text entry, though onscreen keypads and keyboards could be used for short text entry and for dialing. The iGlass is meant to be menu-based, so users would surf Web pages from bookmarks synced via Bluetooth from iTunes on their Mac, PC, or iOS device. The iGlass's settings and content are managed through iTunes, as with any iOS device.
Unlike other iOS devices, the iGlass does not support FaceTime videoconferencing. Although its eye-motion-detection camera could theoretically be used to capture the user's image, it's positioned too close to show the entire face recognizably.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced the iGlass in a video presentation on Apple's website, not in a live event as the company uses for new products. He characterized it as similar to the original Apple TV: more a test product than a mainstream one that Apple wanted to refine after observing real-world usage.
The iGlass retails for $699, runs an experimental Apple Ai7 processor, and has 512K of system memory in its right arm. Apple expects the iGlass to ship in June, with a limited run of 10,000 units. In an apparent homage to Jobs's sartorial tastes, the iGlass frame comes in just basic black. *
* Note: By now, we hope you realize this is an April Fool's joke.
This article, "Apple's amazing iGlass revolutionizes mobile -- again," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Galen Gruman's Mobile Edge blog and follow the latest developments in mobile technology at InfoWorld.com. Follow Galen's mobile musings on Twitter at MobileGalen. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.