Editor's Note: This was originally posted in July 2008, 18 months ago. For my latest posts on the Apple tablet click on the tablet category. All see ZDNet's latest tablet computing coverage. Some recent tablet posts:
Previously I speculated about the mysterious “product transition” that Apple's Peter Oppenheimer (CFO) mentioned no less than seven times in the Q3 2008 Earnings conference call with analysts. Some of his quotes from the call:
We are working to develop new products that contains technologies that our competition will not be able to match. I cannot discuss these new products, but we are very confident in our product pipeline.
Apple believes that the software is the key ingredient. We believe that we are many years ahead of the competition and we welcome any and all competition as long as they do not step on our Intellectual Property.
We plan to deliver state-of-the-art products that I cannot discuss today and are very excited about the products in our pipeline.
I had an epiphany today that Apple's mysterious new product is going to be the iTablet. It's obviously not just a MacBook revision that he's talking about, it "contains technologies that our competition will not be able to match" and "software is the key ingredient."
This, to me, means that Apple is going to leverage the more than 100 patents (like MultiTouch) that they've filed for iPhone in a larger screen device that borrows heavily from iPhone. Think of a larger, media playing, eBook reading iTablet with 3G, GPS, and Bluetooth. Now think of it in 6, 8 and 10-inch screen sizes. This is when things get interesting.
A source told me first hand back in May that the Apple tablet is real and that it would be coming this fall. According to my source said tablet could arrive in the September or October, it will run the full Mac OS X, have a slot loading SuperDrive, an “iPhone-type” GPS chip and an Intel Core Duo processor – presumably Intel’s Atom.
If I was a student getting ready to purchase a notebook computer to take to school, I'd have to think long and hard about picking up an iTablet instead. An Apple tablet, preferably around 8-inch diagonal, 10-inch max, would be a Kindle-killer and the ultimate eBook reader. Its color display and slot-loading SuperDrive would also make the tablet a killer movie and music platform too – and we know how much Apple is invested in movies and music, right?
I know that tablets and UMPCs haven't traditionally sold well, but those were Windows tablets. Apple tends to do things a little different and has built a business by adding a ton of sizzle to an otherwise pedestrian product. I also know that a tablet can't replace a hardware QWERTY keyboard for long-form writing, but Apple could easily address this with a simple USB port and/or a Bluetooth wireless keyboard and a little kick-stand that turns the tablet into a monitor. Apple could also resurrect their InkWell handwriting recognition or you could run voice recognition software like MacSpeech’s Dictate.