Intel and Apple are actually a closer fit than many believed back in the old PowerPC days. Just as Apple has dazzled us with super new innovative designs and ideas over the years, Intel used to float its own out-there hardware designs during its Developer Forums.

Three years ago Intel tried to get everyone to add secondary displays to laptops. Called Newport, the portable design had some cool features, including a small, secondary display on the outside of the case that let users scan their emails, access their calendar, and check network connections. The idea was to give users access to information stored on the notebook while the case was closed.

Finally, a PC manufacturer has picked up on this neat idea. Taiwan’s Elitegroup has a laptop with a secondary, two-inch exterior LCD screen (pictured) and 1GB of flash memory. The module’s memory stores music, email and calendar entries that can be accessed without having to power up the laptop.

Keith Kressin, Intel’s director of mobile platforms marketing, says that the dream will become reality now that Microsoft has added advanced capabilities that support multiple displays into its Vista operating system.
I hope that Apple too has been listening to Intel’s ideas. With a small secondary display on my MacBook Pro, I could see my emails, monitor battery life, check calendar events, and even play iTunes without having to fire up the whole computer. And why stop at laptops, an iMac that needn’t be turned on all the time would surely cut energy bills. And all that info could be wirelessly beamed to other devices so that I needn’t even be in the same room to access essential communications.

It’s not that crazy an idea, but it’s an insanely great one.