Posted by Florian Wardell | 6 comments
Imagine the Apple Tablet
It’s official: On January 27th, 2010, Apple will unveil a brand new, mysterious product. One could say without exaggeration that the tech world has been holding its breath and curling its toes ever since the first rumors about the mysterious tablet device appeared, and now that the whole speculation drama is coming to an end, we decided to publish a roundup of what “analysts”, “experts” and fanboys came up with, be it ideas, mockups, names, breathtaking concepts or simply hypothetical features.
So what is this Apple tablet exactly? Good question. Actually, the right question would be is it? Apple has never acknowledged the existence of a tablet or any involvement in the development of such a device, and all we know about it comes from anonymous sources or obscure Asian electronics components manufacturers. Cens.com reports: “outbidding its Taiwanese counterpart Simplo Technology Co., Ltd., DynaPack International Technology Corp. has been exclusively contracted to supply up to 300,000 units of long lasting battery packs a month for Apple`s newest tablet PCs”. Reuters ads “Taiwan touchscreen specialist Wintek already makes small screens for Apple iPhones, and has received orders for the larger ones that are roughly the same size as those used in mini PCs, said the source close to the Taiwan firm”.
And we could go on and quote articles reporting about Apple orders regarding cameras, LED flashes, casings, processors and other parts of the tablet’s anatomy. Sources include the New York Times, Reuters, The Herald Tribune, The Financial Times and The Wallstreet Journal, in addition to the traditional Apple rumor generators like iLounge, Apple Insider, Gizmodo, CNET and Engadget.
But the most convincing indication of the Apple tablet’s existence is perhaps a letter written by bloodthirsty Apple lawyers to Gabriel Snyder, Editor-in-Chief at Valleywag of Gawker media, asking him to put an end to their “scavenger hunt“. A few days earlier, the very same website announced rewards up to 100,000$ for actual proof of the Tablet’s existence, and Apple was obviously not O.K. with that.
Anyway, we can state with quasi-certainty that the Apple tablet does exist, in one form or another. This leads us to the next question: what will it look like? Have a look at what the Apple fan community has come up with:
Seriously, if I were Steve Jobs, I would consider hiring a few of these brilliant designers. True, some concepts just don’t make sense (like the iPod controls on a touch screen) but the pictures clearly show that the world is expecting something incredibly sexy, slim, iPhone like. In fact, the tablet is expected to be nothing less that “an iPhone on steroids“, at least according the Gizmodo. At this point, the question of the operating system can be asked. This is one of Apple’s best guarded mysteries. According to Engadget, the Apple tablet will run on iPhone OS 4.0, and this would explain why no builds of the new OS have been made available to the developers yet: It simply contains too much tablet-related code.
Apple has developed the tablet in great secrecy, but there is one thing it just can’t hide: patents. Here is what Gizmodo has to say about that:
“This patent for a “display housing for a computing device” sure sounds like a tablet, which might fit into the tablet docking station in this patent, and you might use two hands, as shown in this patent, to interact with a multitouchable OS X, generously illustrated in this patent, unless you use a pen (ha ha ha). And it might be bumpy, in a cool way”. But don’t expect too much, Apple loves patenting stuff just for the heck (and money) of it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if at least some of these features appear on the tablet.
By the way features: what should we expect? Let’s imagine the best case scenario. The tablet would be about 10,7 inches wide, and have an OLED screen. The OS would be a OSX 10.6 special multitouch edition. The tablet would have a camera with flash, as well as a front facing webcam, wifi, a 3G (4G?) chip, an ARM processor and a GPS. The only probem with such a configuration would be the price: 1500$ at least. Take away the camera and flash, the OLED screen and OSX 10.6, as well as the 3G connectivity, and you might just be able to purchase for about 800$ or 900$, which would be the logical range, given the fact that it is precisely between the lower end Macbook and the iPhone’s price.
“Most of the excitement lately is that it’s going to redefine newspapers and magazines—we broke the news, using multiple sources, that Apple was talking with several media companies rooted in print about content for the tablet. Also, we heard there might be some kind of textbook content too. Plus, we’re not the only ones who’ve heard it’s got an ebook bent.
Also, well, it depends on the OS. iPhone OS 3.1 had clear traces of new Apple iProducts, and some people say it’s a bigass iPod touch, or at least running iPhone OS, which sorta fits with iPhone app developers supposedly being asked to make higher res versions of their apps for demonstration. It apparently fits in with the iTunes remodeling Apple’s got going on”, again according to Gizmodo.
But what about the name? We’ve seen everything: iSlate, iPad, iTablet, Apple Tablet, Macbook Touch, etc… The most probable name is the “iPad”, given the obvious connection with the iPod, and the fact that iPads, iPods and iPhones all start with the letters ‘iP’. Also, iPad.com seems to be unoccupied, and there’s the connection to Apple’s previous Newton MessagePad, the ancestral hardware relative of today’s iPhone, upon which to further ruminate. The only problem would be that it may remind people of IBM’s “Thinkpads”.
So what do I predict for January 27th? Let’s see.
It’s going to be a 10,7 inch tablet, ARM processor, runing iPhone OS 4.0, it will have wifi, and maybe an OLED screen. I’d be surprised to see 3G, or any kind of camera and flash. It’s going to be called the iPad, it’s going to cost 800$ and it will start shipping in the next few weeks.
Remember, that’s just speculation. There may not be a tablet. Nah, kidding, there will be a tablet, but Jobs only knows what it exactly is. We’ll write another article after the Apple event to compare what was expected and what Apple actually developed, and this will be way more interesting that the speculation itself. Stay tuned.
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