James Law Cybertecture International - a design consultancy based in Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks' InnoCentre - has unveiled its latest project: the "iPad", an apartment tower complex whose exterior design looks, well, like an iPod (minus the click wheel - and any endorsement of any kind from Apple Inc).
The iPad, which is currently under construction by Omniyat Properties in Dubai's Business Bay and scheduled for completion by 2009, is a high-tech affair, with each of its 231 units sporting features like "iReality", which replaces your meatspace view with live streaming video of scenic locations like New York's skyline or Beijing's Tiananmen Square.
Other tech features (all of which start with "i") include a health app in the washroom that monitors your weight, blood pressure and temperature via electric currents, ambience lighting that changes colors when you receive incoming calls or email, voice commands, rotating living rooms and dining rooms, moving walls, virtual art, VOD, a karaoke library "&brkbar; and, of course, a dock for your iPod that links to your home entertainment system.
Even the building's spa is high-tech, with things like a Jacuzzi equipped with water proof touch screens to watch movies and news, and a pool that pipes your music library underwater as you swim.
Each flat has its own dedicated IT bandwidth (a combination of Ethernet and wireless broadband such as Bluetooth) to support the features, with an architecture that prevents a bandwidth outage in one flat from affecting any of the other flats. There's also Wi-Fi in the common areas, and RFID scanners in the lifts and even on the apartment doors that allow the building and the flats to "recognize" their owners.
Not unexpectedly, the iPad is high-end, with prices already at 4,000 dirhams ($1,089) per square foot. On the bright side, James Law - the company's chairman and chief "cybertect" - says that in future, all buildings will be like this. All you have to do is, you know, wait.