The Apple iGo Personal Transporter is Apple's answer to the question of "How will Apple employees traverse the huge building and travel to and from the parking lots at the new Cupertino campus." An Apple insider, who wished to remain anonymous, supplied the drawing and the details for this post following a brief Skype interview. He told me that this drawing was taken from an internal communication originally dated in 1989. The company put its plans on hold in the early 90s due to an overall drop in sales figures. The source also said that the plans have recently resurfaced since the discussion of the new campus plan circulated through management.
Since the drawing is now more than 20 years old, there is an internal design contest to bring it up to date, the insider tells me. The grand prize for winning the contest is an all-expense paid trip to the Apple manufacturing facility in Chengdu, China. The trip's true reward is to see how Apple produces its products and to meet the Foxconn staff.
"The grand prize and trip are meant to foster better relations between our two companies and our employees," stated the source. The trip also allows the winner to see his or her design placed into production in the company's assembly line.
The iGo is Apple's first attempt at a human transport device but even with Apple's long list of innovative products and software, this is perhaps Apple's finest hour. I, for one, am impressed with Apple's vision and foresight in a human transport device. It shows that Apple is truly a company for the whole person--not just your fingertips.
Some of the iGo's proposed features include:
- 128/256 GB flash storage (upgradeable).
- Three USB 3.0 ports.
- Built-in speakers and microphone.
- iOS 5.x
- Thumb-accessible controls on each handle.
- iPad, iPhone, iPod dock.
- Constructed of lightweight aircraft aluminum.
- Supports up to 300 lbs.
- Striding speed is 2.7 miles/hour.
- Adjustable stride speed.
The iGo is sure to be a hit with employees and industry observers. My source tells me that there are no current plans to market the device to consumers but I think that public outcry for this new transporter will be so great that Apple will have no choice but to offer a consumer model. The insider said that if a consumer model were to be produced, the estimated retail price would be approximately $8,000 and would likely offer a variety of consumer-selected options including color, inscriptions, sun visors and obstacle-sensing bumpers.
Like all Apple products, the iGo has a simple, sleek design that's unencumbered by complex controls, confusing dials or poorly-made, failure-prone parts. Human-powered, personal mobility devices such as the iGo will revolutionize short-trip travel as we now know it. Fuel prices, urban overcrowding, greenhouse gases and obesity make this device a true product of the times. It's the right time for the iGo and personal transportation devices like it.
After seeing the original drawing and speaking with my Apple source, I've come to the conclusion that this new product will be very much like my favorite apple: delicious.
What do you think of the iGo? Would you buy one even at the proposed price?
* The "iGo" is actually a patented device from 1905: The Crosse Unicycle.
The Apple iGo personal transporter is, of course, merely a product of Ken Hess' imagination. However, here are some real gadgets we're looking forward to this fall.