Apple tablet: too little, too late?

Apple tablet: too little, too late?

Summary: The blogosphere is abuzz about about the prospect of an Apple tablet coming in 2010. According to a note written by Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster (via Silicon Alley Insider) Apple is developing a tablet-based computer that will be positioned between the iPhone/iPod touch and its MacBook lineup of notebooks:The idea is that it'd be better for surfing the Web, watching movies, and reading books than the iPod or iPhone, but not powerful enough that it would crush notebook sales.

SHARE:

The blogosphere is abuzz about about the prospect of an Apple tablet coming in 2010. According to a note written by Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster (via Silicon Alley Insider) Apple is developing a tablet-based computer that will be positioned between the iPhone/iPod touch and its MacBook lineup of notebooks:

The idea is that it'd be better for surfing the Web, watching movies, and reading books than the iPod or iPhone, but not powerful enough that it would crush notebook sales.

Munster claims that the new tablet could run a third, "more robust" version of Mac OS X optimized for multi-touch screens but that they're not going to launch this year, as some had predicted.

We expect the development of such an OS to be underway currently, but its complexity, along with our conversations with a key company in the mobile space, leads us to believe it will not launch until CY10.

The story is based on a rumor that surfaced in April that Apple is deveoping two new mobile devices: an "iPhone lite" and a bigger "media pad" via a partnership with Verizon.

Silicon Alley Insider's Dan Frommer claims that since the netbook market is still relatively small Apple has "plenty of time before it really matters." I beg to disagree. The more time that Apple takes to make up its mind/develop an answer to the netbook is more time for people to buy other hardware and more lost sales.

Whatever happened to being nimble and innovative? Has Apple lost its fire?

Picture: JonnyIsGeek.com

Topics: Laptops, Apple, Hardware, iPhone, Mobility, Tablets

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

74 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Perhaps you need to step away from your publishing job for a while

    .. because you have clearly fallen into the tired mass media trap of trying to generate controversy as a means to drive traffic.

    "Whatever happened to being nimble and innovative? Has Apple lost its fire?"

    God forbid taking some time to design a thoughtful product so that it doesn't come out looking like a lazy rehash of some reference design. Anyone else sick of these Atom MSI reference-design clones?

    Or worse, like cheap toy aka the eeePC 700 series.

    As a tech writer, I think you should know by now there are two ways to make money. One, to get ahead of the curve and sell a million of something before people realise the product is less useful than they thought. Or two, to design a product that *makes it's own curve* and creates or redefines a market.

    At one time or another, Palm, Dell, Sony, IBM were all in the latter category, but not as often as they were in the former. I think most people would agree Apple fits the latter most of the time, and never worries about some glorified gadget guy trying to make a buck selling critiques of it's R&D direction and product strategy.

    croberts
    • Cheap Toy?

      I would hardly call the eeePC a cheap toy. It was an innovative solution that spawned numerous copycats. Serves the needs of most for a portable internet ready laptop that can go anywhere. Now the Macbook air I would call a toy because it doesn't really solve an issue ...and it's definitely not cheap, just another expensive toy. I'll take low cost functionality anyday over highprice toys with little function (compared to a normal laptop). I guess I've never heard someone say this laptop isn't thin enough, but I have heard people ask for small and portable.
      ~Obelix~
      • It does satisfy a consumer want/need

        But a "netbook" is really just a small, cheap laptop. There is nothing innovative, original or even mildly interesting about them other than they are "small and cheap".

        I don't know what the margins on them are, probably razor-thin. Why would Apple even want to get into that business? A race to the bottom to find the cheapest and smallest notebook that consumers can stomach. Oh sure Microsoft can make a buck at it practically giving away an OS that's pushing 8 years old. Not exactly a win-win game for Apple to get into.
        oncall
        • The MBA satifies a consumer want? Are you high?

          The MBA is a shiny paperweight for execs to carry around, pretending to use.

          Here is the difference:

          With a netbook you get what you pay for. Nobody is trying to make you believe that a netbook is a fully-featured notebook.

          With a MacBook Air you get...not very much computer for a whole lot of $$$.
          Scrat
          • Actually

            I was only discussing Netbooks, sorry I didn't spell that out. I don't own an MBA, but since you brought it up, yes, I hear Apple sells a fair number of MBA's so somebody "wants" them. But I don't waste my time for bashing people for shopping Nordstroms over Target so I don't feel the need to bash folks for their computer choices.
            oncall
          • Aren't you sweet!

            .
            sackbut
          • AirBook is perfect for me

            We bought an Apple AirBook just for travel. We need to keep in contact with our customers even during vacation.
            The AirBook is lightweight. Powerful enough to run Photoshop and other Adobe software.
            davebarnes
          • Battery life?

            So, tell me. Do you really get eight hours of battery life on your MBA ?
            Jkirk3279
          • Battery Life?

            I have no idea.
            We use it in hotel rooms. Plugged into the mains.
            davebarnes
  • If Apple only just did yet another Tablet sure...but

    that is not historically what Apple does now is it? Will it
    succeed? I simply do not know. That said if I were a betting
    man I would not at this time bet against Apple. Heck I was
    not a fan of the iPod for the longest of times... I thought it
    was doomed to be a very limited appeal product. Goes to
    show you what I know:P

    Pagan jim
    James Quinn
    • Just as all the other manufacturers ...

      ... are done investing capital in their "me too" netbook production & sales, Apple will step in with a product that redefines the space. Competitors will be forced to spend even more money to retool to build their version of the Apple Netbook.

      Smart business really - let someone else build all the inroads and then ride them to market dominance. This is what MS did with DOS/Windows and what Apple did with iPod and then iPhone.
      RationalGuy
      • What is there to redefine?

        What, exactly, is there to redefine in the
        netbook market or in the tablet market?
        Netbooks are cheap, small laptops that are
        highly portable. Tablets are great little
        computers for students that need to take notes
        or for people who need access to input other
        than through a traditional keyboard.

        In both cases, they are computers and they
        appear to have fairly limited appeal.
        Microsoft and PC manufacturers have been trying
        to make the tablet form factor work for the
        better part of decade, and it has never really
        taken off. This is because there isn't nearly
        as much interest and demand as you appear to
        want.

        Further, the "media pad" has too much overlap
        with the iPod touch. No one is going to buy
        this little media pad as a replacement for a
        true computer (without a keyboard, get real).
        And I get high quality media playback on the
        iPod, for less.

        I suppose that it could be used as an e-book
        reader, but it's not really designed for that.
        Why, exactly, would I want to stare at yet
        another backlit LCD (even a very pretty LCD).
        The beauty of the Kindle is that isn't backlit
        and it really does read like traditional paper.
        Sure, Apple could introduce display technology
        similar to the Kindle - but then it would suck
        for media playback.

        And I don't really think they'll go the route
        of Microsoft and introduce a clone of the
        tablet PC run by the Mac OS X. I suppose that
        it's possible, but I find it highly unlikely.

        Which leaves us with ... a large form-factor
        iPod touch. So, what is there to redefine?
        What need (that I've never had) is Apple going
        to try and sale me on?

        I already have a notebook (MacBook Pro) that is
        light and easy to carry for real computing. I
        have an always connected internet device that I
        am often frustrated by for on-the-go media
        playback. I am going to be getting a Kindle DX
        for e-books. That pretty much covers my gadget
        lust. Fanboism aside, what is there to
        redefine?
        ______________________________________
        <a href="http://www.oak-
        Rob Oakes
        • Redefining a market

          [i]What, exactly, is there to redefine in the
          netbook market or in the tablet market?[/i]

          Who knows? But you'll know what it is when you see it.

          What I do know is that when you release a late-to-market product that makes your competition copy your ideas to keep up, you have redefined the market.

          Apple has been on an eight year roll with the iPod through to the iPhone, redefining first MP3 players, and then smartphones. In fact, if you look at the larger trend, Apple is leading the redefinition of the "portable electronics market" to the "mobile computing market". An Apple netbook/tablet seems like a natural evolution.

          If I knew what that next product will be exactly, I'd be a much richer man than I am.
          RationalGuy
        • S.J is on record as saying...

          he will do for books what the iPod has done for music!

          paper is going ..
          newspapers will cease to exist
          magazines are fading..

          so..

          the teeny netbook is not any sort of transformative answer to the issue

          look up a Sydney Australia company NDAML and the interactive pdf
          book

          more than an eBook...iBook..soon m-book

          electronic
          interactive
          mobile
          then collaborative

          think schools and learning....it's a natural!!!
          garybau
  • Hey look a UMPC! (NT)

    ...
    pmcgrath@...
    • Except just like MP3 players and Cell Phones, Apple will do it right. [nt]

      [nt]
      olePigeon
      • Bah...

        If you look over at the WinSupersite, Thurrott had made a note in his review of Windows 7 that it can even run quite well on UMPC: "To my surprise, it runs just fine. Not just acceptably, it runs well. It runs as well on this little piece of junk as it does on a 2009-era netbook. This UMPC has an 800 MHz Celeron processor and just 1 GB of RAM. It will not accept any USB memory keys for ReadyBoost purposes, so there's no way to even improve the memory situation. But it doesn't matter: Windows 7 just runs and runs and runs. It runs well enough to play a full resolution H.264 DVD rip in Windows Media Player (windowed or full-screen) without a hitch." http://www.winsupersite.com/win7/win7_rc_04.asp
        clindhartsen
        • Ahem... I heard similar pre release claims of Vista.

          Pagan jim
          James Quinn
        • Thurrott

          ... is a well-known Microsoft shill,and paid well for his pro-MS rantings, even when they fly in the face of reality.
          vikingnyc@...
          • and the truth shall set you free!!

            Paul ran this test. Period, end of story. You dont believe him.... so what? You going to run around in circles with your fingers plugged into your ears screaming this is not right.
            Your koolaid addiction can be beaten you know. Just put it down and walk away. You would be really suprised to find that the world is a brighter place without Apple products.
            CrashPad