With only four days to go before Apple unveils a handful of brand-new products, the rumor mill is churning at full speed. Now seems like a good time to recall the various dream concepts, predictions, and leaks we've seen over the years—all of which were more artful than accurate.
The world of Apple concept designs is a fascinating one—it has its superstars, its oddballs, and an audience that clearly sees these ideas as something akin to fanfic. Sometimes the guesses are wrong, sometimes they're actually close to being right, but they're always fun to watch. In fact, many of the ideas in the post below are more like wishful thinking than proper predictions—they're simply what fans wished would arrive one day.
After we took a look at the iPhone predictions of yore a few months back, we decided to do the same for Apple products overall. If for no other reason than to tide yourself over until next week, feast your eyes on all the predictions of Apple's Next Big Thing of years past.
A Click Wheel iWatch
Let's start out with a concept for something that Apple probably will reveal on Tuesday: A watch. It may not look like this 11-year-old design for an iPod folded into a wristwatch by Isamu Sanada, but it's coming. Back in 2003, Sanada imagined a digital watch—whose face was a huge Apple logo, natch—that unhinged to reveal a radial touch-button interface for not only an iPod, but phone and email capabilities, too. Prescient! [The Apple Collection]
An iPod Keyboard
Here's another idea that touches on something we hope—nay, pray—that Apple will reveal next week: A better keyboard. This concept from roughly 2007, designed by Albert Tan, imagined adding a slide-out keyboard to the iPod Touch, which sure, looks dated to us. But the point still stands. [MacRumors]
A Fold-Out MacBook
Back in 2008, when the MacBook Air was revealed, the folks at MacLife pointed out that it was far from perfect. This alternative was called the triBook, and it would pick up where Apple's laptops left off—giving users almost TRIPLE the screenspace, thanks to hinged fold-out side monitors. [MacLife]
An Inch-Thick iPad
This concept—from way before the iPad or even iPhone existed—looks more like an Apple product from the Snow White era. But the 2003 concept from a forum on MacRumors did get one thing right, almost a decade before the iPad was released: The name. [MacRumors; The Next Web]
Here's a perfect example of why predicting future technology is such a wily job. Renderer extraordinaire Isamu Sanada imagined this Mac Tablet with all the fixins—including a CD drive. [Wired]
A Mac Pro on Wheels
If your Mac Pro and your iMac decided to make it official and settle down, this zany-as-hell concept is roughly what their first child would look like. Rendered by designer Kurt Merki Jr., it's meant to be speculative. And it succeeds. [Gizmodo]
The iPad, Almost
For a moment, half a decade ago, this faked iPad "lead" seemed like a real thing. Then it was revealed that, of course, it's just the result of some clever Photoshopping [Engadget]
A Transforming Mini-MacBook
Here's another concept from Isamu Sanada, who is sort of like the Michael Jordan of Apple product speculation. This 2009 concept was a lighter, cheaper, simpler version of an Apple laptop. Simple except for the hardware itself, maybe, which folded out in a trio of panels including a screen, a keyboard, and a giant trackpad. [Techeblog]
The Slide-Out iPhone
We would be remiss if we didn't include this iPhone mockup from our last post. There's so much to take in: The sliding keyboard! The 3rd Gen style, which is classic! The Blackberry-esque dimensions! Alas, it never came to pass. [Ferra.Ru]
A Laptop Linked To Your Phone
Want to mirror whatever's on your iPhone? Just slide out the trackpad on this laptop (!?) and slide your phone into the dock. What could go wrong!? [PCWorld.vn]
Designer Sait Alanyali's fictional Mac Mini proposes an orthogonal re-up, hiding the ports under a tent of white plastic—which would keep them free of dust. [SaitAlanyali]
I mean, who are you to say that Tim Cook won't reveal this on Tuesday? [Macheml]