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back to article Apple's iPad - the tablet with the data center soul

The soul of Apple's soon-to-be-unveiled iPad won't reside in Cupertino. You'll find it in Catawba County, North Carolina. That's the whereabouts of the WestStar Mission Critical Data Park, where Apple is busily building its $1bn data center, scheduled to open later this year. Yes, we're fully aware that the iPad is still a …

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More Apple Fanboi Gushing

Apple could never make a stinker. Oh, wait, shouldn't one of those failed tablets be Apple's Newton?

Fortunately, Apple devices have become a fashion statement so people will probably buy it no matter what.

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Anonymous Coward

re: More Apple Fanboi Gushing

The Newton largely failed for four reasons:

The first was the expectations created by a short teaser film (made by Spielberg's company for a huge amount of money). In this short film 'Newton' was a protrayed as a human assisting a college professor in his day (ordering flowers for the professor's wife, booking a table etc.). It created a huge amount of buzz about the product, which led to an underwhelmed reaction when it was launched that can be summed up as 'WTF! It's just an electronic diary'.

The second was the advertising campaign - the TV spots used to be accessible via a couple of websites. One advert summed up how misguided the marketing campaign (rather ironic, given the Newton was the baby of the marketing guru who gave us the Pepsi challenge). A board meeting is show and one fat, balding suit, who hasn't been paying attention and is put on the spot when asked a question… luckily the message appears on his Newton giving the answer, after another fat balding suit beams it across using his Newton. Not only would most viewers not want to be associate themselves with that type of person, it suggested that the Newton would be great from business users… who aren’t likely to use the Mac OS at work, so there was no way of syncing it with your work system.

The third was the buggy hand-writing recognition. This was fixed quite quickly, but the Newton was dogged with a reputation for not working for then and ever more.

The fourth was that it tried to offer too much. In terms of a PDA, Palm’s offering did the job. It may not have had all the bells and whistles as the Newton, but it offered the core functionality that business users wanted, it was genuinely pocket-sized, far more affordable and it synced with work systems easily.

I can’t see the same mistakes being made these days. Like it or not – and I suspect you don’t – but Jobs, whatever his faults are, is very canny at marketing and understanding how consumers will use products.

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Paris Hilton

iSlate not an acceptable business machine foresay?

Uh-huh baby, uh-huh.

iSlate engineer arrives at business, needs other drivers for non-netted device and a couple of hardware queries along with site location and business appointment diary to end user.

Shame that Tom-Tom dived so low on the iPhone - maybe it will learn by its mistakes?

So there you have it, it or at least a shadow of it's potential.

Business diary to the user, clickable links to GPS get you there-isms, online ability to say arrived at site, departed site both with gps confirmation of sorts based on bonjoured location of nearest wi-fi spot and strength, needed a firmware update to a device as part of this onsite service call, acts as speakerphone while enroute no need for bluetooth earphone and also demonstrates on call noise reduction, voice clarity with on the fly diary updates to next adjusted enroute appointments and yes! there has been a delay on gps suggested route so please take the alternative route to next appointment.

Ah, the cloud, the ever increasingly dynamic cloud?

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(untitled)

So.. you mean exactly like the mobile phone I already have in my pocket, but bigger so it won't fit in my pocket and way too big to be used as a satnav.

The reason tablets failed and continue to fail is because they have no use that isn't covered perfectly by other devices. If I want to carry a device around I have a laptop that does the job. If I don't I have a phone. There's no space for a 3rd device with none of the advantages of either.

Apple may be going for the ebook space.. but I suspect unless they've managed something miraculous with battery life and not to mention pricing I'm sceptical even that will work.

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Tablets and Fail

I don't disagree with your point of view (quite aside of the fact that I couldn't grok the original poster's example scenario too well). I think tablets will find their niche - the key as always is to look at the situations where people currently use clipboards, brochures etc and then postulate how the same activities can be performed on a tablet, in such a way that there are clear benefits from doing so.

So, instead of being handed an expensive glossy brochure when touring a new housing development show home I get given a tablet which guides me of a tour around the house, provides ancilliary information, allows me to enter some basic details of my requirements etc.

When I get back to the salesperson they can better tailor their sales pitch to the info I have provided. And they don't need to print so many glossy brochures - or can print details on demand instead. If you were to tour the estate itself, GPS can be used to present information relevant to the houses I am close to.

I can also see a tablet being useful in any situation where the shop has a limited sample of merchandise (furniture for example). As with any device its a question of understanding what it can do well, and how it can support/improve existing business processes.

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FAIL

@Tony Hoyle

Couldn't agree more.

An Apple tablet that doesn't run desktop software (and is essentially a big iPhone) has no purpose. I would still need a phone and a laptop and then I could buy this Apple tablet too if I wanted it... so basically, it's one more thing to carry around and it adds no functionality at all, but costs a lot.

Q.E.D. no selling point.

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Anonymous Coward

re: @Tony Hoyle

Maybe, just maybe, it would be best to wait to see what the product is and then judge what the selling point - if any - there is?

Some rumours are indicate that the tablet - or one of them (some reports claim there could be four different sized models - is a gaming device.

I do believe it's best to wait for six more days, but if we're are going to play a guessing game, then if there was a 6" tablet that wasn't bad for gaming (let's face it, there are A LOT of games for the iPhone and some pretty decent ones like GTA Chinatown Wars), that also users read ebooks, surfed the Web and acted as multimedia device, then I think a few might be interested in it.

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So...

...this would basically be an oversized iPod Touch you're talking about?

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Alan Kay...

I think the title says it all. Will this be a Dynabook worth criticizing? Kay was talking about the computer as media when the rest of the world thought it was a glorified calculator.

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Consumption

I don't disagree the slate will be for 'consumption', but so are laptops, so whilst your argument isn't wrong, it misses the point.

No doubt devout Apple fans will buy one, but they won't replace laptops for functionality, and most people aren't going to buy another expensive device when they have a perfectly good laptop.

It's not about not wanting to have, it's about the practicality and cost.

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Bronze badge
Go

And the Roddenberry fans

Might as well bring the Jobs fanatics and Roddenberry fanatics together: Who hasn't admired the Star Trek PADD devices? Laptops are clumsy to carry around and anyone who has used one without a table knows the kind of stares generated by accidentally dropping it. There's a business use for a device that could display documents prepared for a meeting and have just enough user input for note taking. Give it the ability to dig through files on your desktop computer and maybe the laptop gathers dust. That's the Monday through Friday use. At home, like you said, it's for massive media consumption.

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Silver badge
Stop

Agreed, but...

"There's a business use for a device that could display documents prepared for a meeting and have just enough user input for note taking"

Problem is, a soft-keyboard won't really fill that niche. Youtube for "Microsoft Courier" and you soon start to see that either Apple have to be different market or they're screwed before they even launch.

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FAIL

Vapourware

YouTube for "Microsoft Courier" and you'll understand the definition of vapourware.

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iTablet Subsidized by Tech Press

With all the rumors flying around that Apple is going to get the iTablet subsidized by carriers, you have to look at who wants this thing the most. Who stands to benefit the most from this (unannounced - but don't let it stop the speculation) hype machine?

The web-based technology press, that's who. Steve Jobs was getting ready to involve the next iPod, but then all this iTablet stuff hit the wind. If they don't announce something spectacular, half the tech-news websites are going to lose their remaining credibility, and the other half have nothing to write about anyway.

So, sometime in September, Apple decided to join four iPhones together, originally they would call it the iTablet. It will cost as much as 5 iPhones, have 60% of the battery life, and Tech Crunch is paying half the cost of each one sold - if the consumer had to pay full price, this thing would fail and they'd have nothing to write about for another six months, until Google announces they're going back to China.

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Jobs Halo

Laptop?

To all those saying 'my laptop can do all that'. Well for some (i.e. me) I don't want a laptop on me all the time get it? The keyboard is superfluous when watching something or reading something. Get it?

I would LOVE a bigger iPod Touch*. I use my touch more than my netbook. Netbooks? Now there's a pointless product.....

* However I HOPE this new iPad thing runs OSX and not the iPhone OS. Not likely though....

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FAIL

@ Antidisestablishmentarianist

...so get a tablet PC slate. It'll cost less, do more, and you can install (with proper permissions, obviously, before the Fanboi mods kick me off) OSX if you want to. Or, if you're really determined, you can buy a modbook that already exists in tablet form, is completely legal, and runs OSX:

http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/Modbook

A tablet that is essentially a big iPod touch will sell like the Apple TV. Some Fanbois will buy it, but it'll never be a mainstream device, because it has no advantages over the competition. It will be more expensive than a tablet PC, and will offer less.

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Anonymous Coward

re: "but it'll never be a mainstream device"

They said the same thing about the iPod - this included what every single Mac hack in the UK, and most of the ones in the States, thought privately.

The iPod was seen as typical Apple - nice bit of kit, but far too expensive and limited market. Not saying that that the tablet will enjoy anything like the same success - for one thing, I would like to see what it actually is and what the pricing is - but some products get pooh-poohed and then do rather well...

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Troll

@whiteafrican.

No-one. Knows. What. It. Is. Yet. Not even you...

You and the other myriad pro/con fanbois need to get that through your respective thick fanboi "my cock is bigger than yours" skulls. So far all you have done is make ad hominem attacks on those that disagree with your view and state what YOU do and don't want and therefore by extension no-one wants it!

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Headmaster

@various Anonymous Cowards

@AC 13:41

...except, as with the iPhone, the iPod entered an existing consumer market. There was already a healthy market for personal music players (mp3 players and, before that, CDplayers, MiniDisc Players, Walkmen, etc.) going way back. The iPod simply improved upon the available products, and did very well because it met an identifiable need (i.e. people want to have music with them wherever they go). Same with the iPhone (people needed to make phone calls, have mobile internet etc. and the iPhone does those things well).

The tablet is a different deal. There is no established market for tablets and, if the rumours are to be believed, this Apple tablet will run the iPhone OS. That means it can't replace your computer because it can't do enough and won't work with existing software, and it can't replace your phone because it's too big. It won't replace your games console because the screen's too small and the graphics are too underpowered, and it won't replace your PSP/Gameboy because, once again, it's too big. What it might replace is the Kindle... except that by all accounts the Apple tablet has an LCD/LED/OLED screen (depending on which rumour you believe), and the Kindle has E-Ink, which is pretty much why the Kindle is ideal for reading books...

----------------------

@AC 15:31

"So far all you have done is make ad hominem attacks on those that disagree with your view and state what YOU do and don't want and therefore by extension no-one wants it!"

Not so. What I have done is point out that the mass-media feeding frenzy that is accompanying this thing's supposed release is absurd, because the rumoured Apple tablet has some obvious flaws. The problem isn't that *I* don't want it (I'm actually a fan of tablets - my favourite device ever is my HP tc1100 tablet; when you want photoshop in a train/plane/bus, this is the best device for it. Bar none). But there are a lot of Fanbois wandering around saying, "The iPhone sold well, so this tablet will sell well too." And there are also a lot of doubters saying, "This thing meets no identifiable need, has obvious flaws and will cost a lot. Therefore it won't be a big success at all." We would like to be allowed to disagree with each other, if that's ok by you...

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Thumb Up

I'm no apple fanboi

I have never owned any apple product (about the only apple product I find interesting is the iphone, but I refuse to buy a device that's so locked down), but the idea of an apple tablet device actually sounds interesting.

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Anonymous Coward

I'll wait for other tablets

Me too. I've never owned an apple product, but the idea of an internet tablet appeals to me.

But it's worth waiting to see what other tablets are released, I htink there will be quite a few, based around, was it the freescale reference design reported on the Reg.

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Jobs Halo

Newton

The Newton MessagePad was before its time. Yes, the handwriting recognition was a joke and Apple's big mistake was to oversell that particular feature. Without the handwriting recognition, the Newton was used very successfully by sales forces up and down the country as an intelligent clipboard where they could make menu choices and use tick boxes to configure systems and take orders. Tapping words in with the stylus and on-screen keyboard was not as bad as it sounds and considerably better than most modern mobile phones. There was no WiFi or BlueTooth in those days, the Newton could only be synced with a Mac by network or modem. So, forgetting all the entertainment uses and even the ability to enter text, a device that can be held and used in one hand has a great many practical uses for which a phone is too small and a netbook/laptop too clumsy.

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Anonymous Coward

"Yes, the handwriting recognition was a joke "

As I recall, the joke in question was:

Q: How many Newton users does it take to change a lightbulb?

A: Two, one to change the bulb, the other to mango turnip lobster.

(The Newton was indeed fun in its own broken-interfaced, crappy-screened battery-eating way,

good ideas before the tech was there to pull it off- a brave, but failed attempt)

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Bronze badge

Entertainment?

All this speculation is VERY entertaining. And the <whatsit> hasn't even been announced yet!

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Thank God!!

Finally, someone that knows what they are talking about. I've read so many high expectation blogs/news feeds that are just wrong. If an iPad is announced this next week it will be more for what this article is speculating than anything else. It shouldn't surprise anyone if this pad is HD compatible for video playback, can be used easily for reading, and will be able to do word processing. Who knows the shear gaming possibilities! Additionally, I'm sure that it will be able to WiFi sync with apple computers and Apple TV.

The price point is going to be the make it or break it deal for them though. Much over $600 and I cannot see people running out to buy these (I'm sure they will have two or three price tiers). This is because it needs an entry price point similar to Amazon's Kindle DX to utterly destroy its competition. Of course this will also decimate profit margins but long-term this would be the best way to market this type of product.

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Ty
Jobs Halo

Hello? Where is Rik??

Am I in a parallel universe?

This article actually has merit and accuracy and is well thought out. Well done.

Now who is this imposter who wrote it? It can't be Rik as he has NEVER EVER written anything that is worth reading in his entire career! How bizarre!

Please keep this Rik 2.0.

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Anonymous Coward

CHIMERA?

I was under the impression a chimera was a hybrid animal, obviously not.

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Chimera!

But don't forget, no-one knows English any more, it's just not cool - whatever that is.

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Pint

Words can have multiple meanings

e.g.

1, ( Chimera) (in Greek mythology) a fire-breathing female monster with a lion's head, a goat's body, and a serpent's tail.

• any mythical animal with parts taken from various animals.

2, a thing that is hoped or wished for but in fact is illusory or impossible to achieve.

I suspect the author was referring to the second definition. The first definition is usually abbreviated as "Vista".

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J 3
Joke

I saw the iPad...

...on Avatar, and it's transparent and stuff.

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Silver badge

I find it amusing ...

... and somewhat scary, that nobody has comment(ard)ed on the concept that this thing will probably come with built-in advertising.

That one "feature" makes it a "not on the things to get" list, at least for me & mine.

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@jake

Really ? Do you really find it _scary_ that no-one, not a single person, has commented on a message board about a feature that might (or might not) exist, on a device that factually doesnt exist yet, and hasnt even been announced?

Wow.

And youve already put it on a "dont get list" based on lack of speculation about speculation. More wow.

Ill suggest that it probably wont come with built in advertising, as none of apples other products do. (Apps yes, Apple products no). How does that shift your future parallel speculative non-existent universe?

You might have to cross it off that list. Unless its just the apple logo that got it on there.

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No one?

If you look at the other stories about the tablet and about the ad-supported OS, you'll see that quite a few people have commented on it.

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wsm
Go

Consumerism

Pure and simple, the iPad will be the combo device to sell songs, movies, and now books through the iTunes store.

I have to agree it's the ultimate channel device for Jobsian marketeering.

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Alert

I really hope it fails

And before all you fanboys jump to "downvote" I'm not saying this because I'm anti-Apple or anti-Apple-fanboy (although I have to admit I pretty much am) but because I'm really REALLY not looking forward to the chattering twits asking me, as the LFG, what do I think about this new Apple iThingy and do I think they should buy one and ooh look you can read books on it and it's apparently ever so easy to use.

Here's a hint: if all your friends buy one why don't you just go ahead and buy one.

Ok fanboys, downvote away to your little iHearts' content.

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Anonymous Coward

Just answer the damn question!

What DO you think about this new Apple iThingy?

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Jobs Horns

Nippy

Lol let me see - perhaps that it's annoying as hell despite the fact that it doesn't even exist yet.

Argh! Steve's evil genius knows no bounds!

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Silver badge

Yawn

yawn

There are lots of tablets. A bigger iTouch or keyboardless iMac locked to subscription services. No thanks.

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Headmaster

iTunes

Sorry its the "ludicrously successful iTunes store" bit that Ive got an issue with... doesnt even turn a profit does it? If it does then its a new thing... to me that doesnt seem successful?! Yes it helps to keep people locked to iPods and paying for tv (I dont really get that - I have several tvs/pvrs/laptops/consoles) but surely to God if it doesnt make money its not THAT great?

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WTF?

iTunes IS profitable

You could even liken it to the goose that lays the golden eggs.

THREE BILLION apps downloaded in less than two years? And Apple keeps a third of all app sales revenues? And Apple captured over 99% of all mobile app downloads last year? (See http://www.macworld.co.uk/ipod-itunes/news/index.cfm?newsid=28372 for details). And the market just keeps on growing? I suspect that the iTunes store will be Apple's main source of income within three years.

The only questions in my mind - how long before there is a serious legal challenge to the closed store with its obfuscated approvals process and Apple self-protectionist practices? Competition is a good thing, application approval or rejection should be from a technical standpoint only (i.e. software using non-public APIs or working in a way that could cause the phone to malfunction). If you allow applications that compete directly with the Apple equivalents this can only be good for everybody.

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Anonymous Coward

In the past maybe

Afaik, the iTunes store has always made a profit, only it wasn't very substantial relative to turnover when it was only music that was being sold. Films and TV, might have increased it a bit but I doubt that it was by much. However, the App Store has probably increased revenues and profits from iTunes by a massive amount. Add in another distribution platform for Apps and media content, and it might become even more substantial.

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"iTunes doesn't turn a profit" ?

A source would be welcome. Everything I've read seems to indicate that iTunes makes a stash of cash. The iPhone is probably a big help there.

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Stop

shut the fuck up!

i've had it! silence! enough!

just wait and see what they do - if anything.

interesting article but my ipod touch does everything i need - or so i think.....this tablet must have a killer feature.....a giant ipod touch? no thanks.

now please, no more analysing, no more guessing, no more 'in-depth' reports, no more whispers.....let's just wait and see....and then be massively disappointed.

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Thumb Up

That's right!

Nobody should ever be allowed to speculate about anything ever again. From now on, if you can't back up a statement with empirical facts and peer-reviewed analysis, then you shouldn't be allowed to make that statement.

... now, where did I put that new sarcasm punctuation mark?

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Jobs Horns

I reckon your right - unfortunately

consume rather than create - yup - you are probably spot on.

Which is a real pity - I am still hoping for a device flexible enough to run a finger version of iMovie that I can use to edit my HD footage wherever I am - that's the killer for me. At the mo - I either have to have my 17" MBP with me, or I suffer long renders and poor playback on my hackbook netbook.

Most of the iLife suite would need minimum tweaking to work nicely with touch - and with a decent amount of power inn a tablet, it would be just the job for me on the move, holidays, etc.

I dunno, maybe I should have compromised and got a 13" MBP, but I love the screen (matte!) and the power. And after 6 months of iphone usage, I really reckon photo, video and music creation are within reach of a touch pad.

However, they don't make money for apple... and the way Jesus Jobs has been going recently - 'if it don't make extra revenue for us, why bother' seems to be the mantra.

If they just build a consumer device it will be a pity - it will miss the real possibility of bringing creative apps into a new realm. All we get is more brain dead muppets leeching content from the creative mind. - the tv for the new age - sit and be entertained - no need to think - no need to learn.

- stu

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Jobs Halo

Create creative stuff

I can totally buy into the idea of a content consuming device, it has no reason at all to be a netbook or notebook replacement and be able to run Excel or Powerpoint.

The iPad is a consumer device, not a business tool.

However, what will make it different from a giant iPod Touch?

I reckon it will be able to create things that others can consume. i.e. I think it's likely to have iLife support, so that: GarageBand one will be able to use a virtual piano keyboard (rather than typing keyboard that might be used in email) to create music with; iPhoto will support simple photo editing and creation of either photo-albums that one can print-out (paying Apple) or upload to Flickr etc.; similarly iMovie to edit simple video sequence and publish then on YouTube; plus maybe likes of Photo Booth too, and if it has a forward facing web-cam then iChat too.

The kind of stuff that people use to make social networking content, that's what it will help one create or manage.

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Jobs Halo

Needed

The iSlate/Pad/Whatever is needed because ...

POOR PEOPLE are getting the iPhone! I've heard that some are even UNEMPLOYED!

This state of affairs cannot continue.

My street 'cred' is disappearing!

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Stop

This is very true

I'm starting to see iphone usage across a wider demographic too. My only hope at the moment is to pick up a Nexus One directly imported from US. I reckon I'll get 12 months or so exclusivity before the great unwashed latch on.

Either that or Apple need to start bundling iWork with the iPhone. That may act as a deterrent.

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Badgers

OK

All back to the apple forums now pls.

A giant iPhone for £500? Pass.

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WTF?

As opposed to a PAYG iPhone for £450?

WTF?

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