The “Brick”: Game Changer or Niche Product Without a Market?

The internets are currently abuzz with rumors of a new, genre-bending product due out of Cupertino, possibly at the speculated October Mac event.

Though most agree it likely isn’t a building material to be used with mortar in the construction of buildings, there are a number of different theories about what the “Brick” in fact could be.

iPhone Savior cites the ever-informative “sources” in suggesting the the “Brick” may in fact be the long-awaited Mac Mini redesign.  They admit their source is unreliable, and that the supposed near-pro performance upgrades attached to the rumor seem far-fetched at best.  While it is true that the Mac Mini has been nearing obsolescence for quite a while now, a mere spec bump does not seem grounds enough for Apple to use the speculation-inspiring term “product transition.”

Perhaps the most obvious theory holds that the new device could be the elusive Mac tablet.  There has been a devoted contingent clamoring for a new Newton since production lines stopped rolling on the original.  While the theory seems sound, it also could be more sound than fury.  Like copy-and-paste for the iPhone, the voices asking for it are many and loud, but Apple has seemed reluctant in the past to grant either wish.  Not to mention the fact that while a Mac tablet would greatly appeal to designers, artists, and creative professionals, that’s a market where Apple already has a commanding share.  They seem to be looking to broaden, not focus, their consumer appeal.

Most recently, TUAW chimes in with the possibility of a category-breaking dockable tablet/workstation-wherever-you-work (walkstation?) type device.  The admittedly elegant concept would be a truly convertible device, and not in the current, underwhelming sense of the word (the screen flips around, ooh!).  Instead, the walkstation model would allow laptop/tablet functionality on its own, and full-featured desktop power and usability when “docked” at home or at the office.

This last rumor has true game-changing potential.  Imagine entire creative firms with multiple worldwide locations built around the dock-and-walkstation model.  Employees carry their desks with them, and can operate anywhere globally without skipping a beat, or drop everything and visit a client site at the push of a button.  Combined with cloud computing and other developing tech, it could be a true evolution of the computer form factor, of a degree unseen since the advent of the laptop.  I don’t know about you, but color me excited.