According to US reports, the new products will be a revamped version of the MessagePad, and a clamshell-design device code-named Shay. Reports say Shay will be aimed at the education market and will feature keyboard and pen input. Both will be based on an updated version of the Newton operating system. The new devices will compete with forthcoming Windows CE-based devices from Compaq and others.
"16Mb to run just a word processor [on desktop systems] is really in excess and we believe there's an opportunity to deliver limited functionality at a far lower cost," said Craig Sears-Black, Apple European marketing manager for the information appliances group.
Sears-Black said the new devices will integrate with the Mac OS and Windows. "All our new products will be information and communication-centric," he added, hinting at Internet, e-mail and office suite features. The devices will be available early next year.
Separately, Apple said it will next year announce systems based on the Pippin design that has so far only been available through licensees like Bandai. It also plans to make specific products for healthcare and education sectors.
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