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back to article Apple tablet unveiling brought forward

Apple addicts need no longer wait until early 2010 to get their hands on the firm’s long-rumoured tablet PC, because – contrary to an earlier report - it’s since emerged that the firm’s gunning for a launch within months. People briefed on the subject recently told newspaper the Financial Times that Apple’s working towards a …

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FAIL

What gets me...

I can see the advantage over a laptop if you spend all your time standing up, but you can use a laptop hands-free while sitting down, with this 'tablet' you'd have to hold it at all times or lie down/slouch and rest it on your legs...

For that reason, I'm out.

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Silver badge

Great for movies?

Then I hereby wish it all the success of the Apple TV.

Seriously though — with so many failed tablet PC designs over the years, Apple would be entirely correct to aim this at games, media and browsing rather than to try to turn it into some sort of replacement for a trusty A4 refill pad, ala Microsoft's push circa 2002. Maybe they'll also benefit from their zeal for small and light, provided someone stands up to Jobs on thermal issues.

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FAIL

And the target audience is.....

....er.....em.....Fanboi's? No-one else would waste there money on it.

As much use as feathers on a frog!

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10 inches?

perhaps I'm alone here, but a 10 inch screen being 'perfect for watching movies is like saying a laptop is perfect for watching movies. The eyestrain from watching something so close for so long is going to be painful after a while I would have thought.

Not, if they may it a 10" tablet with one of those pico-projectors built in that would be seriously impressive and blow the competition away. That admittedly assumes the pico projectors are good enough already.

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Hmm...

"A potential price hasn’t emerged, yet"

Since it's from apple I'm going to guess at fricking expensive, probably ending in 499 or 999 and with at least a 1 in front of that!

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Re: what get's me

>> but you can use a laptop hands-free while sitting down, with this 'tablet' you'd have to hold it at all times or lie down/slouch and rest it on your legs...

With the amount of heat modern laptops pump out, you can't really use a laptop on top of you lap these days. . I imagine you could hold it like a book, if it is only 10".

What I want to know is, will it have ARM or Intel processor? Perhaps they will go for both - makes about as much sense as the MacBook Pro's with to graphics chips.

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@Colin

Of course, there'll be an instant flood of cases which will fold in such a way as to make the thing stand up.

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Jobs Horns

Internet but no Phone??

So is this allowing Skype then??

Probably not.

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Go

Good for movies... and more.

I just posted in the other Apple tablet thread, but having given this more thought, I really can see this being a good move for Cupertino.

The iPhone/Pod Touch screen is too small for sofa-based browsing, but a laptop is too big, frankly (or at least it is for me). If you can link the iPad (or whatever it's called) into your network, and use it to VNC into bigger, meatier computers, or use it to control things that happen on your TV, I'll buy one.

If it also brings about an iPod for Books, I'll also be at the head of the queue.

As for the Apple TV, do we think that this could be a useful co-conspirator in bringing a better iTunes to your telly/media centre experience about?

Finally, you may even see Time Capsule stop being a rather expensive n Wireless AP and NAS, and start being a home server, which would fill a real need I have at that price point.

All conjecture, but there are gaps in the Apple "Digital Lifestyle" portfolio, and at least three rather dead-end looking products kicking about (Time Capsule, the iTunes-streaming Airport base station and Apple TV). As there's been not a great deal of movement in the Home Server market for the last three years, it may be that Apple have set their sights on expanding out of the phone/MP3 and computing space in peoples houses onto joining their existing products together better with a simple slate device and some additional functionality to some of their more -ahem- "placeholder" products.

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Atom?

I predict this tablet will run on an Atom proc, which does away with the cooling issues and 10" is enough for movies coz you're holding it...

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FAIL

sleeve notes and other interactive features

..ooh i can't wait to read sleeve notes on a 10" screen, perfect for those lazy summer days. 'interactive features' yippee! a link to the bands website where can buy more music - no, hang on. isn't that what itunes is for?

steve - all that we need is a slightly larger ipod touch to kick the archos 5's ass

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The tablet's time may have come...

Last time tablet PCs tried to take over the world, they didn't have the benefit of the Netbook legacy. What netbooks have proven is that it is possible to build a cheap, light and underpowered computer and turn a profit. But while netbooks popularized the pixie-computer, I think they chose the wrong format. Are we about to see the slate PC take over the world?

Seriously, imagine a 9" multi-touch slate PC, built to be as light as possible...

- no optical drive

- no keyboard.

- 32GB flash hard disk

- 2 e-SATA ports

- 4 USB

- Bluetooth + WiFi

- Multitouch display

By designing the shell so the ports are aligned with an cheap dock, the device could be extended with SATA hard disk and blu-ray, USB network adapter & pass-through ports. I WANT ONE! ...Provided that it'll run the OS I choose, that is.

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Pint

Dullards

Ah yes, all the usual reasons why the form is 'wrong'.

Where notebook tablets have largely failed so far is that they've weighed the same as a laptop, and been very focused on being expensive notebooks.

On the other hand, if you look at people using Blackberry's and iPhones on trains, or these things called books and newspapers, you can see that people have relatively little problem with devices that you hold in front of you.

I find myself quite regularly grabbing my laptop (at home) just to check something up on Google.

And that is where a device in this ballpark would fit in - it's not going to be a workhorse to use all hours of the day, but presumably aiming at being the first thing you think to use when you think 'internet'.

(Note that Apple aren't the only ones doing this - there's the Techcrunch tablet).

And as a geek toy I can see so much use for the format - imagine the potential as an audio controller (look at the price of the bespoke touch-screen based audio controllers available now - it's like comparing the price of a Sonos remote with an iPod Touch).

What's happened with techies these days that rather than instantly imagining possibilities for how something could be used, instead they immediately start going 'ooh, it doesn't do this'.

(C'mon, how many of you would have predicted that laptops would dominate over desktops - no, you were going on about poor performance)

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Happy

@Colin MacLean

You obviously have never seen a plate stand. Or a book stand. Or a menu stand. OK, maybe you have but didn't think of sticking an iPad(tm) into one! Interesting point though - I wonder if it'll have a little fold out foot/stand thing? (Not a great deal of) Time will tell...

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Bronze badge
FAIL

10" is just too big

If Apple were to build a tablet with a screen in the region of 7 inches (with 1024-1200 pixel horizontal resolution) I'd be all over it and the rest of the competing Linux and Windows based Internet MIDs would be history.

A 10" tablet is netbook/laptop territory and I'm just not interested in that form factor - I want something easily "pocketable" (OK, large pockets or bag) and small enough to leave on a table in a lounge without it hogging all the space. In addition, a 10" device isn't going to be light enough to hold in one hand for any significant period of time while lazily surfing the web on the couch...

A 7" screen would fit nicely between the iPhone and a netbook in just the sort of way that a 10" screen would not.

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Happy

C'mon Apple ...

... bring quality computers and computing experiences to the masses

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Stop

On the other hand ...

... we could all just wait and see what actually comes out before giving it a good old fashioned highly prejudiced drubbing because its from Apple.

The iPhone/iPod Touch demonstrated that people will actually use this kind of technology in the handheld/mobile space like no other device before it. The browser stats speak for themselves - much to the chagrin of the hate-filled.

It took only two postings before the first AC fuckwit appeared here.

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Gold badge

@ And the target audience is..

Nope - also anyone who has considered a Kindle - I wouldn't mind a very thin reading device, preferably with a serious battery life (umm WiFi & data - maybe not). I have plenty to read in docs and project plans, and if Apple manages to make a table PC concept actually *work* for input (notes, or even handwriting but also precise annotation) I would be at the front of the queue. Hell, I wouldn't even carry another device in my briefcase. I've been thinking about a Kindle for carrying docs with me - with a notebook you only have one screen and I use a secondary screen usually for reference material while I work (and other distracting crap like email and Skype).

I got one of those HP Elitebooks shoved down my throat at one job, with the sole corporate motivation for buying this overpriced crap being ONE (1) guy in sales who liked the fact he could turn the screen around (thus doubling notebook hardware costs). It is "tablet" capable, which appears to define an inability to place a cursor anywhere near where the pen touches the screen - post calibration - and appears to make an active picture of the keyboard during login compulsory. Yes, that's right - anyone quick enough can actually SEE which keys you're pressing when logging in - just in case you were wondering about any sort of progress in the way MS approaches security.

In summary, I'm looking forward to this Apple device with more than average interest. I'm not fond enough of Apple to disable critical facilities (some aspects of the iPhone are, well, crap) but I think they can't possibly do a worse job than MS in this context.

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Bronze badge
Jobs Halo

screw the flying cars; where's my Newspad, Steve?

(FULL DISCLOSURE: Apple/Mac "fanboy" since 1985; my first computer was a 512k Mac, and I've used nothing else but Macs ever since.)

Sorry if I'm banging on this riff too much, but -- with all due respect to the blue-skyers at El Reg -- I think a "Newspad"-style device (a la Kubrick's "2001") would be far more useful (and safer to the public at large) than a "Blade Runner"-style flying car.

I'd could totally go for an "iPad" with my choice of 9x12" or 11x14" "live" screen area depending on how much cash I can scrape up. I'd want it to run a full version of OSX, of course, as well as having a screen that could be switched between landscape and portrait orientation depending on the task at hand (Web browsing vs. word processing vs. page layout vs. drawing vs. video editing). Needless to say, it'd _have_ to have USB and FireWire ports for hooking up external storage, and a mouse and keyboard if I have to do any appreciable amount of typing.

As a professional illustrator and designer, I've been daydreaming for _years_ about a tablet that runs MacOS, with a "live" screen area large enough that if I had an idea for something, I could just fire up Photoshop or Illustrator and pick up my stylus and sketch right into it (right now, I still carry a spiral-bound 11x14 sketch pad in the bag with my laptop). Man, that'd be suh-WEET.

Screw the flying cars; where's my friggin' Newspad, already? C'mon, Steve-O -- bring it, man!

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Why all the negativity?

This thing isn't even out yet, and it might all be leaked disinformation or smokescreen. One would think, between the way that Apple have changed the game in the MP3 player and cell phone markets, they'd at least be given the chance to show us the darn thing first before you pronounce judgement. Maybe it will be a success. Maybe it will be an utter failure. Maybe it doesn't even exist. The hatehs need to be reminded of:

"No wireless. Less space than a Nomad. Lame."

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Bod
Bronze badge

10" for movies

Perfectly fine if you're on a plane etc.

Problem is, there are hundreds of devices that do this job perfectly, and for a fraction of the price Apple will be charging. Some are netbooks, some are dedicated movie players. Most likely play more formats out of the box than Apple will probably allow and won't be tied to iTunes.

So, if it's a 10" movie player you want, I don't see the point.

If however it's a full OS X running Mac in a 10" tablet, that's another matter.

Will still be way overpriced though, but you guys can't resist lining Steve's pockets for a sexy brand ;)

Now if Apple can pull it off at the £300 price point. That's another matter. Won't happen though.

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Jobs Horns

It could be successful

If its built similar to an air and can run medical apps (web based, or ported) it could take over a small but growing niche in the medical sector. In my consulting days, I saw many a hospital and small office with convertable notebooks or mobile stand mounted PCs.

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Terminator

I want a PADD!

We keep courting the true desire of geeks everywhere in a personal device, but for some reason the companies keep shying away at the last minute... I want one of them to have the b@lls to put out a PADD. That's right - Personal Assistant Digital Device - the "clipboards" from Star Trek.

1. Complete multi-touch interface. A large enough screen can hold a simple touch keyboard interface similar to iPhone, but same "size" as netbook (unfolded flat). Same accelerometer for always-right-side-up viewing.

2. Adequate screen size. Somewhere between 6" and 11" mark, I would think. Large enough for bespoke touch keyboard, large enough for perusing video or e-books, small enough to keep it portable in weight and width.

3. This is what will make it (sexy) portable - EXTREMELY thin, and I am talking 12.5mm (1/2") or less. This is where Apple does magic (and ASUS already succeeded - see below). This is achievable through not slapping on the fat like a Florida tourist at a China buffet... No optical drive (pull movies from wi-fi), no speakers(!), keep all ports in-line (3-4USB, 2 Firewire/e-SATA, SD Card, stereo audio input/output), front-facing camera and microphone for voice recording/recognition.

With this you wouldn't even need to worry about removing the battery, further reducing size/weight. The ASUS EEE ACROS 10s clamshell netbook already has this, but goes for hardware keyboard (and you can fold it in half). Having a simple, SECURE latching for power/umbilical cord (instead of dedicated docking station) would allow for convenient charging and wired communications. Hell, why not have it the same as the iPhone? That's already USB compatible. Standardize on that, and you could put out a couple different sizes, like 8" (notebook paper, anyone?) and 6" to bridge to the Touch. We *have* the technology, just need to show the business case... which I think the last two years have shown we (alright, maybe just me) are clamoring for.

The only reason this didn't catch on before was the issue of the screen costing too much to keep it scratch proof. Apple proved they could do it with the sapphire screens, and that people would swallow the price, too.

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Jobs Horns

Hmmm

Apple owns PA Semi. They use their own processor and mainboard design. High battery life, crippled features and of course, an internal unswappable battery should round out the feature set.

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Ipod tablet

It would be good to see somethng like a 6" screen ipod touch with a 1024*768 screen for real web

also only need to drop in the same cpu but at 800mhz and gpu from the iphone 3gs and 512mb system ram and it could do it for £350-£400

slap in 32- 64gb flash and its a great system. and would even eat into the xbox and ps3 market as the games would still look good on a 6" screen as it would just be able to still pocket it just.

And of Cause it would run all ipod touch apps to.

But what the fuck do i know lol

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Anonymous Coward

hahaha

the appletards are going to get conned into paying stupid amounts of money for what will effectively be a touchscreen 10" photo frame unit.

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Go

Flexible screen is the killer app...

If Stevie shows us a full-colour screen that can be rolled into a wee cylinder, then all will be well in the world...

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Go

said it before

Take a look at how people are actually using those millions of iPod Touch and iPhones; games, books and other niche/vertical market apps (all 50,000+ of them on the store) are important capabilitiesm, probably becoming more important than just playing MP3's or making calls which any $50 device can do. You can buy a cheap Chinese knock-off (or a Palm Pre) that can play video/MP3's, or work as a cell-phone as well as any iPod/iPhone, but none I have seen will run Apple App store games/applications. Archos have also proven the market for larger more capable media players; and Archos don't have anything like the software or music/video store tie in's that Apple have.

Apple would have huge amounts of data about how people use Apple devices; far more than people writing this off before it is made public. I suspect that they could keep ahead of the market; if the new device is the right balance or price/performance. Given Apples recent track record, it would be foolish to just write them off.

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Jobs Halo

You got it all wrong

It's called the iPage

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