Apple is planning to release an iProd. And no, that is not a typo.
The device is one of four works-in-progress which have been exposed by those folks who enjoy nosing around the coding of the iPhone operating system (as opposed to, say, making phone calls or listening to music). They’ve noticed the upcoming third edition of the system includes support for four new devices:
The iPhone and iPod references are self-explanatory, though it’s worth noting that in Apple’s numbering system these indicate new generation models: the 3G iPhone was known as iPhone2,1 which means these new devices should have some major changes.
IFPGA appears to refer to “field-programmable gate array”, which is a type of computer chip which can be configured after manufacture. This doesn’t exactly sound like something that will be on sale to the public, which may explain why it has no version number.
The iProd is clearly a work in progress as Apple labels the first edition of a product to go on sale as 1,1. Unfortunately that means the name may not necessarily give any insight into what it will actually be, so we’re probably not talking about a device which lets you round up cattle while listening to music. The most likely explanation is that ‘Prod’ refers to ‘prototype device’ and is being used as a generic name to protect the secrecy of a major product in development.
The most popular theory at the moment is that it’s a tablet computer along the lines of a giant iPod touch which aims to bridge the gap between the iPhone and the Macbook. Apple has already received a patent for a device along these lines.
There are also rumours the iProd will be an iPod touch with a high-definition screen (which seems fairly pointless given its size), or that it will be a Nano edition of the iPhone (a case for which is apparantly in development in China).