Analysis of a Rumor: Large Format iPod Touch

As you may or may not be aware, TechCrunch reported yesterday that a larger format, 7 to 9-inch iPod touch was in the works at Apple and would arrive by next fall. They claim to have received the information from three seperate, independent sources, one of which is said to have actually handled a prototype of the device.

TC’s sources say that Apple has been working on a large format device internally for a while now, but that they were not sure how the public would receive such a device, and whether there would be sufficient demand to justify production. The success of the App Store is said to be the tipping point that finally pushed them to pursue it seriously.

This rumor has quickly been taken up by many, if not all, of the major Apple blogs on the web. And for good reason. Looked at in context, it actually has a lot going for it.

Mystery Device Caught Browsing

In October, according to the NY Times, a mysterious Apple device was caught browsing the web via an unnamed search engine. At the time, the information seemed not exactly solid, but given this new report from TC, it begins to appear a lot more plausible, and makes more sense than the netbook wich Jobs seemed so set against at the time. The screen size of the strange device? Somewhere between an iPhone and a MacBook, which fits with the 7 to 9-inches from TC’s sources.

P.A. Semi Acquisition

They acquired P.A. Semi, we speculated that the move was related to developing new mobile chips, we haven’t seen any yet. A low powered chip for a portable device must be forthcoming, and a large format iPod touch would be the perfect candidate, since it would likely require something different than what the current models use. Probably, in fact, something more like Intel’s Atom. Acquiring P.A. Semi allows them to work on the tech without alerting anyone in advance.

Quanta Set to Work On Apple Products

Just today, another corroborating rumor popped up, courtesy of Electronista. According to the government of Taiwan, one of their major local manufacturers, Quanta, is set to count among its clients two top-tier tech companies in 2009. The companies in question? Sony and Apple. As Electronista notes, Sony is planning a netbook, which is the obvious candidate for Quantas, but what they’d be working on for Apple is more of a mystery. Quanta could very well be the Asian OEM mentioned in TC’s article that Apple’s tapping for mass production.

While at first glance, TechCrunch’s report seems somewhat dubious, if we look at the larger picture, it begins to seem a lot more plausible. That said, just because it walks, talks, and sounds like a duck, doesn’t mean it’s a duck. It might be a goose. Or, in this case, a netbook. Either way, at this point it’s safe to say Apple’s got something mobile up their sleeve.