Thoughts to ponder as Apple Tablet rumors spread

Thoughts to ponder as Apple Tablet rumors spread

Summary: The rumors around the arrival of a tablet computer from Apple have been out there for a while, but the latest one from the AppleInsider blog seems to have some meat to it.Image Credit: AppleInsiderThe blog is reporting that Apple has plans to launch a 10-inch, 3G-enabled tablet, kind of an oversized iPod Touch, if you will.

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The rumors around the arrival of a tablet computer from Apple have been out there for a while, but the latest one from the AppleInsider blog seems to have some meat to it.

Image Credit: AppleInsider

Image Credit: AppleInsider

The blog is reporting that Apple has plans to launch a 10-inch, 3G-enabled tablet, kind of an oversized iPod Touch, if you will. Because it would be 3G-enabled, there's also growing speculation that Apple is tapping Verizon to be the carrier partner. Remember: the exclusivity agreement between Apple and AT&T only applies to the iPhone. (see update below)

Of course, none of this has been confirmed by Apple. Still, AppleInsider doesn't just attribute the information to a source but rather, in a WSJesque way, cites "people well-respected by AppleInsider for their striking accuracy in Apple's internal affairs."

What's most striking about this rumor is that it also includes information about the Steve Jobs Seal of Approval, which doesn't come easy around Cupertino. The back-to-work CEO has reportedly signed off on the device and "cemented" it into plans for a Q1 launch next year.

With all of that said - and recognizing that no one is officially commenting about the device or fielding on-the-record questions - I offer the following thoughts to ponder, based on what I've read in other postings today.

  • The price becomes an issue because it would have to be cheaper than the lowest-priced laptop in the lineup ($999) but likely would be more than than $500. Anything less than that would put it on the comparison charts against the netbooks, which COO Tim Cook has called "junky." At the same time, with a wireless carriers involved, subsidies will likely drive down the price even more.
  • Is it a oversized mobile device or a small-sized laptop computer? Well, that could depend on 1) whether it's powered by Mac OS X or the iPhone OS and 2) the type of chip it has inside. The AppleInsider post has some good historical insight into the issue over the chip choice (in the latter half of the post.)
  • I wonder what this means for the Crunchpad, the tablet device that's the love interest of TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington these days. That device, a 16mm thick tablet with a 12-inch screen, is expected to retail for about $300 and will be available "as soon as possible." A post on CrunchGear this week, reporting on rumors of Verizon powering an Apple tablet, ends with blogger Peter Ha writing, "We (as in Michael and CrunchPad Inc.) better get on their horse and get the CrunchPad out."

I would tell you that we'll be waiting for the official confirmation from Apple - but I would also caution you to not hold your breath for that one. Knowing Apple, the official confirmation will come from the stage of a special event where the company will announce that the device is already in stores.

updated: TechCrunch, citing unnamed sources, reports that Verizon is fast-forwarding its launch of its 4G LTE service to reach markets by Q1 of 2010, instead of the second half of the year. No one is tying it to a device for Apple but TechCrunch's source also noted that "there was talk of at least one non-dongle (wireless card) product that this LTE launch was being specifically geared towards."

Previous coverage: Apple's future: It's in the Touch

Topics: Hardware, Apple, Laptops, Mobility, Tablets

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48 comments
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  • iPhone OS or OS X?

    I think the iPhone is actually running a slimmed down version of OS X, so
    either way it'll be OS X, right?
    winski
    • OSX, yes...

      But I have to believe this will be just like the iPhone. All apps will be sold through one store and Apple will decide what gets sold. Of course, there will be the inevitable jail-breaking.
      Mac Hosehead
    • Depends on how you define MacOS X

      To most people, it means being able to run retail MacOS X apps like Photoshop and iLife. That means full MacOS X and an x86 processor.

      The rumoured tablet will have neither of these.
      TheWerewolf
      • It doesn't have to be

        an x86 processor, it can be almost anything Apple wishes to use. After
        all, Apple has already had their operating system on three different
        processors, the PowerPC from IBM which is no longer used, the x86 from
        Intel and the ARM processors in the iPhone.
        arminw
        • You missed one

          You forgot the 68K series of processors as well.
          Vulpinemac
  • Not simply an iPod with a bigger screen

    While I am bummed that this is (supposedly) a Q1-2010
    release versus a Q4-2009 release, this is good news, and
    as I have stated it's a real complex undertaking, as this is
    no mere iPod with a bigger screen.

    Most fundamentally, it forces the company to define its
    "matrix" thinking between hardware form factors and
    software forking decisions (e.g., iPhone OS, Mac OS, hybrid
    OS, download anything anywhere, exclusively limit to App
    Store), not to mention the service layer and developer tool
    interconects between same, a topic that I blogged about in:

    Apple, the ?Boomer? Tablet and the Matrix
    http://bit.ly/DwziS

    Check it out, if interested.

    Mark
    hypermark
  • Freeze the market!

    [i]I wonder what this means for the Crunchpad, the tablet device that?s the love interest of TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington these days.[/i]

    This is a very common practice. "Leak" information just before a competitor releases something, freeze the market, and then come out with your clone a few months later. Isn't that how it goes or does Apple get a pass because, well, it's Apple?

    Oh, and I also predict that it will be an inferior clone of every Windows tablet out there and it will be wildly more successful.
    NonZealot
    • yup...

      No question... of course it's not Apple copying anyone and if anything the Windows tablets copied Apple some how.

      I imagine it'll be successful but expensive. Apple has found a way to get someone else to foot the bill (the Telcos which pass the cost right to you.) The possibilities are quite good for Apple regardless as they are walking on air as of lately.
      jessiethe3rd
    • Rush to pre-judgement of a rumor? Amazing.

      Pretty good work there NZ. Great flame bait.

      A product that is only rumored but already you've
      determined that it will be inferior to EVERY
      windows tablet out there.

      Gosh...that's quite a crystal ball you have!
      UGottaBKidding
      • More than that

        He accuses Apple of being behind the rumour. Perhaps he'd like to link to
        an Apple leak story supporting his acquisition, or perhaps he still thinks
        like a NBMer.
        Richard Flude
        • Leak?

          Presumably someone leaked something to
          AppleInsider in the first place. We don't know
          who...but apparently they've been accurate
          before...we don't know what they were accurate
          about before...but that's enough I guess.

          The concept of big ole Apple worrying enough
          about Crunch to freeze the market for a nobody
          competitor with an as yet unreleased product
          for a niche market is kind of funny though.
          UGottaBKidding
          • Apple doesn't have to freeze anything

            But they need to cook up something to fill that netbook to laptop niche. Not sure about you, but this tablet---if only 50% true---is enough to freeze me. Could be my next Kindle, iPod and game machine wrapped into one.
            Larry Dignan
          • As my old Scottish Granny used to say...

            It's an intriguing possible product, but as
            Granny used to say "I hae my doots" Transl. 'I
            have my doubts'

            An iPhone or iPod Touch fits in the
            pocket...portability counts. And iPods/iPhones
            seem to work well for a lot of people for
            simple gaming, internet access, and email. What
            would this product bring other than form factor
            and yet not cost too much?

            There are users who are clearly be disappointed
            with their NetBook purchase (performance),
            Apple would have to set expectations carefully.

            However, as it seems likely that there are
            people in Cupertino who are much smarter about
            this stuff than me, I shall wait to see what,
            if anything appears in due course. Somehow I
            think that, if Apple does come up with
            something, it will be very different from
            existing Windows tablets.
            UGottaBKidding
          • True

            [i]Somehow I think that, if Apple does come up with something, it will be very different from
            existing Windows tablets.[/i]

            I think so too. I predict it won't support multi-tasking or copy and paste. And it will still sell 3 million units on release weekend. :)
            NonZealot
          • NonZealot :) soon after launch...

            headlines will read...

            "Apple sets the bar again"
            "Iconic device"
            "Time Magazine Device of the Year"
            "Johnatan Ive honored with Award for Tablet"
            "Macworld 4.5 stars"
            "PC World Editors Choice"
            "Will anybody be able to match Apple's Iconic Device?"
            "Microsoft readying 'MacTablet' killer. It'll be out in two years"
            "Apple announces another record quarter fueled by MacTablet sales"
            "Nasa adopts MacTablet for Mars mission"
            "Microsoft MacTablet killer after 700 million ad campaign gains 2%
            market share behind Android Tablets with 20%"
            "Ballmer 'happy' with Microsoft tablet sales."
            "Microsoft Tablet Users World Blog: Microsoft Tablet is superior to the
            Mactablet in every way and has way more functions. For example it
            comes with a bungee cord so that you can hang it around your neck
            instead of carrying it..."
            "CNBC: Refusing to say much on Microsoft offering Steve Jobs only
            commented 'bungee cords are ugly' "
            "Gizmode: 5 things I dislike about MacTablet. One: lack of Time Travel
            Function..."
            "Greenpeace says MacTablet not environmentally friendly. Contains
            .01% non recycled plastic"
            "Forrester Research poll shows MacTablet has 81% customer
            satisfaction vs 37% Dell Tabletbook"
            "Apple Cash reserves reaches 60 billion"
            "MacTablet Sales down"
            "MacDaily News says 'of course sales are down' they're waiting for
            Tablet 2!"
            "MacTablet 2 rumors reach fever pitch...:
            "Wired: who cares for Tablet 2! More important Is Apple readying new
            Apple hush hush device.. the 3D Live Generator?"


            yeah NZ you know same old same old with Apple as
            usual....
            :)
            Davewrite
          • LMAO @ Davewrite

            No one wants tablets now and that won't change when Apple makes one.
            T1Oracle
          • T1Oracle - there is a huge market of tablets

            The iphone, ipod touch, and all their similar
            competitors ARE very small tablet computers.


            j.m.galvin
          • @j. g. galvin - Only techies think that way

            to everyone else, the form factor makes the product. A slightly larger iPhone is no longer an iPhone it's an entirely new device. 10 inch and larger tablets already exist and they are niche market products. Apple will change the niche status of the market. As it is tablets have no mass consumer appeal and Apple has only succeeded when this appeal has already existed and they have always failed when they entered a niche by themselves.
            T1Oracle
          • @j.m.galvin - I have to agree (gulp) with T1O... on this. Tablets

            are a niche and like an iPhone difficult for computing. We are currently looking at putting the iPhone as a alternate to our BB lineup at work. We have had some trials for security being able to brick them remotely (Apple does a good job of that) etc. We have had a few come back in because typing on them is difficult. So if you are putting the iPhone into the mix as a model for the touchbad, then based on what our HelpDesk is reporting, it's not going to be as popular as a netbook style device. As with all of these blogs "experts" time will tell and the public is about as predictable as the weather - i.e. NOT.
            TheBottomLineIsAllThatMatters
          • leak or fan boy?

            Fan boy's want to predict Apple so bad they'll say anything, and the bloggers will eat it up to get more fan boy hits.
            T1Oracle