How To Convert An Apple iPad Into A Netbook

During CES2010, a UK-based company called ION Audio, launched a new device called the iType which is a standard, laptop size keyboard peripheral that allows users to use their iPhones as micro notebooks, a 2010 version of the ZX88.

Following that release a few weeks ago, we wrote that the iType did not go far enough in what it does. For a start, the iPhone has touch screen that's too small to be useful.

The 9.7-inch capacitive display of the iPad however is eight times bigger than that of the iPhone and would therefore form a powerful partnership with a separate keyboard accessory like the iType.

A new iType for the iPad would be a fantastic addition, provided that it is keenly priced. We've come up with a mock picture (see below) of how such an accessory might look like. A bigger version of the photo is here.

For it to happen though, Apple will need to come up with a side 30-pin connector (unlikely) or ION Audio will have to be creative about how to fit the iPad on top of the iType.

On the list of features or improvements, we'd like ION Audio to solve the issue of the virtual keyboard appearing when the iPad would be connected to the iType and allow the iType + iPad to be used as a tablet (see Asus T91).

The iType for iPad could also either a docking station for the iPod Touch/iPhone - which could be used as a touch pad plus a 6-cell secondary battery that could boost the battery life of the iPad to more than one day.

It would certainly add to the weight of the device but would also make it more stable. Even at 600g, the total weight of the netbook would be around 1.1Kg, which is significantly lighter than any 10-inch netbooks on the market.

Significantly, at £100, it would bring the total price of Apple's "Netbook" to less than £500, making it an attractive alternative to netbooks even at twice the price.

(ed : For some reason, ION Audio has decided to erase the existence of the iType from their websites. That includes removing the press release as well as the product page. Why? We have absolutely no clue and will try to ask ION Audio over the next few days).