Some guy has a blog entry featuring fan-made mock-ups of what a cell phone designed by Apple Computer might look like. Of course, there seems to be an unwritten rule that any such official results would be integrated with an iPod. I think it far more likely that it would be integrated with a Newton-like system, but whatever. I’ll run with the iPod assumption for now.
Now, if I was Apple, I wouldn’t go with any of those proposals. Instead, the rotary phone would be king. It would go wonderfully with the iPod’s scroll wheel.
Here’s how it might work. When the thing is turned off, there would be no controls visible on the scroll wheel. When turned on, the controls would be displayed via a blue light behind the wheel. I’m not entirely sure how this would be accomplished, but I’m thinking of something like a doughnut-shaped glowing liquid crystal display. This would allow different controls to be visible in different modes. It would also let the thing to be used in the dark.
In music mode, the traditional iPod controls would be visible. In phone mode, numbers would light up on the dial. The user could drag their finger around the wheel to dial, like on a rotary phone, or they would be able to simply punch the buttons.
Sadly, I fear an Apple made phone may be nothing but a dream.