Is an Apple Tablet PC/UMPC device coming next week?

Apple always seems to generate lots of wild rumors and speculation before a Steve Jobs' keynote, but as an Apple fan myself I enjoy the talk and circus-like atmosphere. Robert Scoble has hinted at some type of portable device coming from Apple next week and I take a look at some of his recent blog postings.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer

A couple of weeks ago James Kendrick posted some thoughts on the new Apple hover touchscreen patent and we talked about it a bit on MobileTechRoundup show #59. We all know that there will be some announcements from Steve Jobs next week at the World Wide Developer Conference and speculation has been running rampant all over Mac enthusiast sites. Most of the sites believe Apple may intro Macs with a Core 2 Duo or Xeon processor or reveal details of the Leopard OS.

I subscribe to several RSS feeds and Scoble of course is one I enjoy reading. And the Tablet PC, Speech Recognition, and Media Center stuff that’s in there is WORLDS ahead of Apple. Although watch Apple in a week. Hint hint. In a couple of recent postings he has hinted that some mobile hardware may be introduced and it sounds like he has some great inside information that he can't reveal to the public or the lawyers will be all over him. In an August 1st post where he was discussing Windows Vista he was responding to some questions and wrote, "Huh? I believe Vista DOES make our computing lives easier. The desktop search features are a huge advance. The multimedia capabilities are WORLDS ahead of anything else I’ve used. And the Tablet PC, Speech Recognition, and Media Center stuff that’s in there is WORLDS ahead of Apple. Although watch Apple in a week. Hint hint." Then in an August 3rd post where he was talking about why his Mac fanboy son was angry at him, Scoble wrote, "So, why is Patrick pissed at me? Cause he wanted to watch Steve Jobs’ keynote and be at the Apple store first thing to buy his new Mac. (We promised him a new portable if he got all A’s, which he did)."

I think it is pretty clear from Scoble's first post that we can almost expect to see an Apple Tablet/UMPC device announced and if that is true then I'll probably be one of the first in line at the Apple Store in Seattle next week. In his second post I may be reading into it more than I should, but why would his son want to be at the Apple store to buy a portable after Steve Jobs' keynote rather than go right now and pick up a current MacBook or MacBook Pro? Maybe there will be another Mac laptop, but with the MacBook and MacBook Pro the only other variants I could think of would be a model with a Core 2 Duo 2 processor or a Tablet PC/UMPC model.

I am personally quite excited about these hints and speculation as I am quite a fan of my Samsung Q1 UMPC and the small slate Tablet PC form factor. I am also a longtime Apple user and would trade in my MacBook Pro in a second for an Apple Tablet device. I also really like what I saw in the Apple hover touchscreen patent approval document and think Apple can bring some more innovation to the portable design. I'll be dreaming of Apples this weekend and let's hope my dreams come true next week.

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