Report: Apple to add micro projectors to upcoming iPhone and iPod Touch models

DigiTimes reported earlier today that Foxlink, a company based in Taiwan, has been hard at work developing micro projectors for use in a number of mobile handsets, including the iPhone

The ability of the new iPhone 3GS to record crystal clear video has been a big hit with consumers thus far, with YouTube announcing last week that mobile uploads to the site skyrocketed 400% in the wake of the iPhone's new ability to seamlessly upload videos with the simple tap of a button.

Just this past weekend, a friend of mine was showing off video footage, recorded on a new iPhone, of his daughter running around his backyard and playing with the family dog.  Everyone wanted to take a look, and because of the small size of the device, 3 or 4 people would try and huddle over the iPhone at one time before passing it around to a new group of curious onlookers who wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

I mention that to point out the fact that the iPhone is fast becoming a great and easy way to record and store video footage.  And with storage capacities, and perhaps video quality, inevitably on course to increase over the next few years, the iPhone and iPod Touch might soon become the video camera of choice for consumers.  With that being the case, it would be extremely beneficial for consumers if they were able to show off and display their video footage to a large group of people without having to pass it along one person at a time the way may friend had to do this weekend.  So imagine if your iPhone or iPod Touch had the ability to project video footage onto a wall or screen, making it instantly and simultaneously viewable for a large number people.  Well, as luck would have it, that might be coming soon to an iPhone and iPod Touch near you.

DigiTimes reported earlier today that Foxlink, a company based in Taiwan, has been hard at work developing micro projectors for use in a number of mobile handsets.  According to the report, Foxlink has already shipped demo units over to one of its clients in Europe, with small shipments to other handset manufacturers expected to commence sometime late in 2009.

Interestingly, the report goes on to note that Apple will be one of the companies who will implement Foxlink's mobile projector in an upcoming model of the iPhone.  While the report suggests that Apple will include such a feature by the end of 2009, Apple seems pretty intent on maintaining its strategy of upgrading the iPhone once a year, during the Summer months.  That does, however, open up the possibility of the iPod Touch receiving such functionality before the iPhone, but Apple seems intent on putting its latest and greatest features into the iPhone first, and then migrating them over to the Touch.

Still, the ability to project video footage onto a screen or wall would be a welcome feature for users looking to share their footage with friends and family without the need for wires and a TV.  Again, DigiTimes reports that Apple is planning to include this feature towards the end of 2009, and while that time frame seems doubtful, I'd love to be proven wrong.

Lastly, it's easy to lose track of some of the logistical roadblocks when discussing speculative reports about upcoming technologies. That said, the internal components of the iPhone 3GS are packed in extremely tightly, and it seems that even if micro projectors were to shrink in size, Apple simply wouldn't have room for it. And seeing as how Apple is unlikely to change the form factor of the iPhone anytime soon, perhaps this report about micro projectors makes more sense in the context of Apple's rumored media tablet. Not only would a tablet be more appropriate, size-wise, for a micro projector, but a late 2009 launch makes a whole lot more sense if the product in question is indeed an Apple tablet, and not an iPhone.

Also see:Apple iPhoneys: The 4G editionSo you think you know Apple?


Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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