More Apple gadget wonder has hit the Web with further interest sparked in the mysterious new device called the iProd.
Reference to the new gadget was first discovered in the deep, dark bowels of iPhone OS 3.0 in March. The iProd reference is found in the operating system's USB configuration property list, and in the latest version of iPhone OS 3.1 the iProd version number has been switched from model 0,1 to 1,1. This model change is noteworthy since it suggests the product has undergone a change significant enough to warrant a new model number. It also indicates the iProd is under active development at Apple, observes Ars Technica. The new iProd version also has a new product ID number, 4762.
So what is 4762? With so many Apple super devices floating out there in the imagination-osphere the choices are endless. Is this the Apple tablet, perhaps an iPod with a camera, or maybe even the iPhone Nano? Whatever it is, Ars Technica suggests the device recently gained high-speed networking capability, since the iProd's ConfigurationDescriptor has changed from "standardMuxPTP" under the 0,1 model to "standardMuxPTPEthernet" with 1,1.
The reference to high-speed Internet capability suggests the iProd could be the Apple tablet, but iPhone models also have the iProd's Ethernet designation so it's possible the new device could simply be a more advanced iPod. In 2008, the U.K. Times newspaper ran a story reporting that Apple was working on a digital personal trainer called the iProd -- so named because the device would prod you to finish your exercise routine if you began slacking off before hitting your workout target.
iProd is not the only mystery device, either. The USB property list still contains i something called iFPGA. References to this device were also discovered in March at the same time as the iProd. We have even fewer clues what the iFPGA could be. Some speculate that FPGA could mean field-programmable gate array, which typically refers to a computer chip that can be configured by the end user. FPGA capability is not usually associated with everyday consumer devices, so it's hard to know what this device could be used for. It's also not certain that FPGA actually stands for field-programmable gate array in this context.
The biggest hope among tech watchers is that the iProd is connected to the oft-rumored Apple tablet. Current rumors peg the new device as a touch-based device with a 10-inch screen that may have 3G capability and impressive video quality. The latest rumors on that suggest Apple could announce the Apple tablet as early as next month.