The Rumor Mill

AirSurf Rumors

- 2000.06.15

6/15/2K: One of our anonymous field operatives sent in this report. Thanks, KT!

Apple has registered AirSurf as a trademark. That's all most people know so far, but I've got inside sources spilling the guts on this development.

Turns out this innovation goes hand in hand with another rumored product, one that was actually denied by Apple. Apple and Palm Computing have been developing an Apple branded Palm device.

The new product will come in two configurations, one for consumers and one for professionals, making a new row on Apple's product grid. Sources very close to the operation report seeing the names iPad and PowerPad printed on prototypes, which would also adhere to Apple's product naming scheme. The iPad will be a Palm III, but in a much more colorful casing. It will be available in two colors, tangerine and blueberry, the same as the iBook. The PowerPad will build off the Palm VII and be cased with the graphite color scheme. This is where AirSurf comes into play.

Instead of the cellular modem used in the Palm VII, the PowerPad will have an AirPort card, allowing it to communicate wirelessly with any Airport network,and letting it surf the Internet. The iPad will have the AirPort card as an option, not a standard feature.

Now that's not too amazing. In fact, it's what one would expect from Apple. This is what will shock you: the AirPort card inside of the PowerPad is not an ordinary AirPort card. It's an AirSurf modem base station! Insiders at Lucent Technologies confirm that the AirSurf modem is a modified AirPort Base Station with a wireless modem connection. This means a PowerPad could allow other Macs (equipped with AirPort) to surf the Internet through the wireless AirSurf modem connection without another AirPort base station present. The connection speed would be limited to 56K, but imagine the possibilities. The PowerPad will be the first product to receive the AirSurf modem. In the next few years, expect to see them installed in iBooks and PowerBooks

Prices for the iPad will be within the Palm III's range, somewhere around $150 to $180. The PowerPad will be priced much higher due to AirSurf, in the range of $500 to $750, but it will be worth every penny. (Remember, Apple already charges $299 for the AirPort Base Station.)

That's not all - the AirSurf modem, in addition to being installed in the PowerPad, may be offered separately. If so, it wouldn't look much different than the AirPort Base Station, except for having no wire connections whatsoever. Internet connections could then be made for groups of Macs where there are no phone lines. This would be extremely useful on school field trips or family vacations.

With AirSurf, the possibilities will be endless.

 - Anne Onymus

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