Ten New Details on the Apple Tablet

Ten New Details on the Apple Tablet 1

Want to know some more about Apple’s upcoming tablet device? You’re in luck. We’ve received the scoop from our reliable source—who correctly called the iPod nano 5G, iPhone 3GS and Chinese iPhone 3G months ago.

  1. Apple has created at least three separate prototypes of its tablet computer. Let’s call it “iPad.”
  2. Version 1 was designed with a 7” screen, which was judged to be too small. The latest version has a 10.7” screen.
  3. image
  4. It runs iPhone OS.
  5. There have been reports that it looks like an iPhone. They’re sort of true. It looks like an iPhone 3G, complete with a curved back.
  6. It will come in two different variations: one with 3G networking capabilities, and one without 3G networking capabilities. Think of the 3G version as a bigscreen iPhone 3GS, and the non-3G version as a bigscreen iPod touch.
  7. Screen resolutions will obviously jump considerably from the iPhone and iPod touch 480×320-pixel displays, enabling easy reading of full-sized book and magazine pages, plus cropped newspaper pages. Expect something like 5-6 times the resolution of an iPod touch or iPhone screen (720p or thereabouts) and 7 times the touchable surface area.
  8. It is designed to expand the iPhone and iPod touch media concept to its next potential level: as a slate-like replacement for books and magazines, plus all of the media, gaming, app, and web functionality of the iPhone and iPod touch.
  9. It is not meant to compete with netbooks. It’s an iPhone OS media player and light communication device.
  10. Apple is currently planning to announce it on or before January 19, 2010, and to use an iPhone-like hype buildup period to start selling it in May or June.
  11. It is apparently awaiting a final green light from Steve Jobs; chances of it appearing in the market are believed to be 80% at this point.

Feel free to discuss it all below. Just don’t make the mistake that some of these people made back in May (“what’s the point of putting a camera on the Nano?”). Keep an open mind.

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  1. @73: Agreed! It’s time for Flash to be phased out in favor of an open standard like HTML 5. There are far, far too many media formats out there, creating a mess that’s expensive for consumers and benefits only the pushers of the formats. One open, scalable format would be obviously be ideal.

  2. Oh, and a non-proprietary (up yours with the expensive iPhone/iPod video cables, Apple!), dongleless HDMI output for the iPad would be a very nice addition. Slideshows on the big-screen TV and all that.

  3. How will apple market it?

    They wont have ads for apps on it because that makes it seem like a big iphone and they wont have ads of it playing gams because thats a rip on the ipod touch, and as for Mac ads there isnt any real competition with Microsoft.

  4. Add support for a USB or Bluetooth keyboard & mouse for desktop use. And an optional folding stand.

    Hmm… If it had all the features I’ve mentioned above, I’d pay more than $800.

    And to the many, many folks who say something like “Why not just get a MacBook?”, you’re missing the point. A keyboardless tablet is much easier to hold & use in crowded and/or portable situations, or for situations (like ebook reading) where a portrait orientation may be more useful. I might walk the streets with tablet in hand getting information about the sights around me (or, being carbait, reading a book :-), but that would be hopelessly awkward with a laptop and I’ve rarely seen anyone try it.

  5. I have seen the new tablet. In fact, anyone who has gone to an Apple store in the last few months has, too.

    Next time you visit a mall-based store, just look at the iPhone/iPod Touch display in the picture window that is showing how the apps work. The size is right and it looks a lot like a tablet device.

  6. After reading all the news about this forthcoming Tablet, I couldn’t be more disappointed. As another reader said, I want a smaller, pressure sensitive, touch screen Apple device, not a larger iPod Touch.

    The described product, for me, does not fit anywhere. I don’t want an electronic device to replace my books/magazines. I can get news on my iPhone no problem via various websites before print editions are even conceptualized.

    A friend of mine recently bought a HP Touchsmart TX2 laptop. I advised him against it but he got it anyway and I must say, I was wrong. It’s a wonderful computer. Whilst using it I couldn’t help but think, “now if Apple would make something like this, it would be a truly perfect computer experience.”

    After using the HP, if Apple don’t produce what I’m looking for, I’m jumping ship when it comes to my next purchase. They seem to be more concerned with riding evolving trends than they do making their existing product line better. Hell, if Apple has it’s way, I’ll be using a desktop at home, their ‘tablet’ for controlling it, my iPhone for calls and messages. That, is 1 too many devices. iPhone plus tablet Mac running MAC OS X please. THAT would be a killer lineup that wouldn’t canablize sales of other products.

  7. This is large enough to have space for a high-capacity battery, therefore making background apps much more practical than on the iPod touch or iPhone. iPhone OS with backgrounding enabled would be fine for an iPad, and the ability to run existing iThing apps (in windows) is essential.

    I very, very much want a large-screen ebook reader, but have avoided the existing ones since they suck with PDF rendering and/or the screens are too slow. iPhone OS works well with PDFs, and LCD displays are of course more than fast enough for ebook reading. So, an iPhone OS-based iPad would make me happy.

    Minimum acceptable battey life is 6 hours with the display on, 24 hours with display off (audio-only mode). It should be easy to do at least this well with current technology.

    A smart move for Apple would be to convince iPhone carriers to offer a $20/month add-on option for iPhone accounts that would enable WiFi tethering to just an iPad. This would be in addition to offering the choice of an iPad with or without a $40/$60 standalone 3G data plan (same prices as current 250MB/5GB data-only plans from Verizon, for example). It would make vastly more marketing sense to offer just one hardware version (with a built-in 3G transceiver), but provide a subsidy if purchased with a data plan. There could be two tiers for the subsidized device pricing–one for tethering to an existing iPhone account, another (cheaper) for more-expensive standalone data service. This would make an iPad/iPhone combination a viable up-sell from either alone.

    Personally, I would pay up to $800 for a non-subsidized, no-contract version of this iPad if it included a built-in GPS receiver, an iSight (or better)-quality camera, forward and rear microphones, and stereo speakers. Landscape-only mode for stereo would be tolerable (so that only two speakers are required), with an automatic downmix to mono in portrait orientation. Always stereo to the headset jack, of course.

    The two speakers must face the user, not off to the sides.

    The camera would need to be able to face either towards the user or forward, using either two separate cameras or, if it were more cost effective, a single camera on a 180° swivel. Better, a swiveling camera sensor could be completely enclosed within the body for protection, and could be electrically rotated to aim through either of two fixed lenses (one front, one rear). The rear (user)-facing lens would be optimized for portrait closeups, with the front lens designed for general-purpose shots (this is perhaps a patentable idea, but I hereby give it freely to Apple if it gets used in my iPad :-). 2x or better optical zoom on the front lens would be very desirable, but the space required for the rotating sensor might preclude that. I could live with the compromise, though maybe that speaks for having two completely-separate cameras.

  8. @73 & @74

    Bingo indeed.

    Buy an MLB app for your iPhone. Buy another one for your tablet.

    You’ve made my original point. Apple, like any good business, is trying to get you to spend more money with them.

    My current MLB web subscription works on my Mac, PC, or any computer I happen to be on. One purchase price.

    My larger point is I’d prefer something more akin to a Mac than an iPhone.

  9. I think its ridiculous that it runs on iphone OS. one app at a time concept. Absolute rubbish. Why cant apple allow background processing.
    Without a physical keyboard it maybe hard to use this device.

  10. As excited as I am about the new “iPad”, I cannot see it working out as it’s described here. I have an iPod in my pocket. I have a computer I can fold down and put into a case and carry around with me. How will I be able to carry around the iPad? I really don’t think anybody is going to want to carry it around like a book; it will get too many scratches and one bump and you drop it and it’s done.

    It’s going to be really interesting to see how Apple advertises this thing as. Too big to carry around like a book and too small and not a powerful enough OS to have it as a main computer? As much as it pains me to say this, I would definitely not buy it.

  11. I would love this thing. I hate lugging my laptop around so usually don’t. Yet my ipod is too small for the writing I like to do on the road. This would fit the bill and seems snazzier than a netbook. I only hope the battery lasts a decent time, if it’s the same as a laptop it wouldn’t be much use.

  12. Yes… let apple launch a tablet with stock of 10 000 and be short within weeks and have no stock…. I mean if the iphone is in such demand and no stock available what will they do with this tablet????? I have been waiting for two months for an iphone now. I love this product but feeling so despondent about their delivery promises or am i just giving into one of the best marketing schemes out there today.

  13. The only reason I suggested the iPhone OS for the iPad is the ability to take advantage of the existing app store ecosystem. But I suppose that Apple could build an iPhone emulator (sans phone) into the version of OS X that might be used. It could be an extension of the current simulator that could interact with the iPad’s hardware (touchscreen, accelerometers, GPS, camera, microphone, and speakers).

  14. @73: Agreed! It’s time for Flash to be phased out in favor of an open standard like HTML 5. There are far, far too many media formats out there, creating a mess that’s expensive for consumers and benefits only the pushers of the formats. One open, scalable format would be obviously be ideal.

  15. Oh, and a non-proprietary (up yours with the expensive iPhone/iPod video cables, Apple!), dongleless HDMI output for the iPad would be a very nice addition. Slideshows on the big-screen TV and all that.

  16. How will apple market it?

    They wont have ads for apps on it because that makes it seem like a big iphone and they wont have ads of it playing gams because thats a rip on the ipod touch, and as for Mac ads there isnt any real competition with Microsoft.

  17. Add support for a USB or Bluetooth keyboard & mouse for desktop use. And an optional folding stand.

    Hmm… If it had all the features I’ve mentioned above, I’d pay more than $800.

    And to the many, many folks who say something like “Why not just get a MacBook?”, you’re missing the point. A keyboardless tablet is much easier to hold & use in crowded and/or portable situations, or for situations (like ebook reading) where a portrait orientation may be more useful. I might walk the streets with tablet in hand getting information about the sights around me (or, being carbait, reading a book :-), but that would be hopelessly awkward with a laptop and I’ve rarely seen anyone try it.

  18. Good discussion here, but Bill Burkholder (#25) and Allan (#70) nailed it best.

    Think of the big picture in computing, what problems it solved yesterday, what problems it solves today, and what problems it has the potential to solve in the near future. Possibilities are endless, but it takes a company like Apple – with a great sense of taste, judgment and strategic thinking – to separate the ordinary from the truly groundbreaking.

    I hope the initial iteration of this device will not disappoint, but even if it is not perfect, there is plenty of room to grow.

  19. I am really looking forward to this new device. I’ve put off buying another computer (currently own a five-year-old Mac mini) in anticipation. BUT, I’m hoping it will be more like a touchscreen laptop and not a big version of the iPhone. I don’t need tons of storage because I can use cloud storage, but I’m hoping the processor and RAM will be similar to a laptop. As for the book reader, the iPhone is perfect for that function. I don’t need a bigger device to hold while reading. If it is a big iPhone, I’ll just buy a Macbook Air. I’m quite sure Apple will not disappoint and the tablet will do a lot more than the iPhone, like make me breakfast in the morning. Here’s hoping!

  20. I have seen the new tablet. In fact, anyone who has gone to an Apple store in the last few months has, too.

    Next time you visit a mall-based store, just look at the iPhone/iPod Touch display in the picture window that is showing how the apps work. The size is right and it looks a lot like a tablet device.

  21. After reading all the news about this forthcoming Tablet, I couldn’t be more disappointed. As another reader said, I want a smaller, pressure sensitive, touch screen Apple device, not a larger iPod Touch.

    The described product, for me, does not fit anywhere. I don’t want an electronic device to replace my books/magazines. I can get news on my iPhone no problem via various websites before print editions are even conceptualized.

    A friend of mine recently bought a HP Touchsmart TX2 laptop. I advised him against it but he got it anyway and I must say, I was wrong. It’s a wonderful computer. Whilst using it I couldn’t help but think, “now if Apple would make something like this, it would be a truly perfect computer experience.”

    After using the HP, if Apple don’t produce what I’m looking for, I’m jumping ship when it comes to my next purchase. They seem to be more concerned with riding evolving trends than they do making their existing product line better. Hell, if Apple has it’s way, I’ll be using a desktop at home, their ‘tablet’ for controlling it, my iPhone for calls and messages. That, is 1 too many devices. iPhone plus tablet Mac running MAC OS X please. THAT would be a killer lineup that wouldn’t canablize sales of other products.

  22. This is large enough to have space for a high-capacity battery, therefore making background apps much more practical than on the iPod touch or iPhone. iPhone OS with backgrounding enabled would be fine for an iPad, and the ability to run existing iThing apps (in windows) is essential.

    I very, very much want a large-screen ebook reader, but have avoided the existing ones since they suck with PDF rendering and/or the screens are too slow. iPhone OS works well with PDFs, and LCD displays are of course more than fast enough for ebook reading. So, an iPhone OS-based iPad would make me happy.

    Minimum acceptable battey life is 6 hours with the display on, 24 hours with display off (audio-only mode). It should be easy to do at least this well with current technology.

    A smart move for Apple would be to convince iPhone carriers to offer a $20/month add-on option for iPhone accounts that would enable WiFi tethering to just an iPad. This would be in addition to offering the choice of an iPad with or without a $40/$60 standalone 3G data plan (same prices as current 250MB/5GB data-only plans from Verizon, for example). It would make vastly more marketing sense to offer just one hardware version (with a built-in 3G transceiver), but provide a subsidy if purchased with a data plan. There could be two tiers for the subsidized device pricing–one for tethering to an existing iPhone account, another (cheaper) for more-expensive standalone data service. This would make an iPad/iPhone combination a viable up-sell from either alone.

    Personally, I would pay up to $800 for a non-subsidized, no-contract version of this iPad if it included a built-in GPS receiver, an iSight (or better)-quality camera, forward and rear microphones, and stereo speakers. Landscape-only mode for stereo would be tolerable (so that only two speakers are required), with an automatic downmix to mono in portrait orientation. Always stereo to the headset jack, of course.

    The two speakers must face the user, not off to the sides.

    The camera would need to be able to face either towards the user or forward, using either two separate cameras or, if it were more cost effective, a single camera on a 180° swivel. Better, a swiveling camera sensor could be completely enclosed within the body for protection, and could be electrically rotated to aim through either of two fixed lenses (one front, one rear). The rear (user)-facing lens would be optimized for portrait closeups, with the front lens designed for general-purpose shots (this is perhaps a patentable idea, but I hereby give it freely to Apple if it gets used in my iPad :-). 2x or better optical zoom on the front lens would be very desirable, but the space required for the rotating sensor might preclude that. I could live with the compromise, though maybe that speaks for having two completely-separate cameras.

  23. Yes… let apple launch a tablet with stock of 10 000 and be short within weeks and have no stock…. I mean if the iphone is in such demand and no stock available what will they do with this tablet????? I have been waiting for two months for an iphone now. I love this product but feeling so despondent about their delivery promises or am i just giving into one of the best marketing schemes out there today.

  24. Well your right about a may june release. I have got that info from a friend a few weeks back who is working on the tablet as we speak 🙂

  25. @Steve
    @Scott

    First of all, everyone here – even you – are discussing a non-existent product. To say I shouldn’t be negative because the product doesn’t exist yet is stupid; by that logic, you shouldn’t be positive about this product either. I am – and I believe I said so in my first post – discussing the product “as rumored.”

    I didn’t say this “iPad” would be worthless to everyone, merely that I see no potential value for myself in an oversized iPhone OS product. Understand, I want a device that can *replace* my laptop for 60-70% of the tasks I need it for. If this product cannot replace the functionality of my 15″ laptop, then I have no interest in carrying around another $600+ device.

    “Speaking of size, are you aware of the upgraded Kindle size? This will actually be smaller and get this… have a color screen. It will likely make a much better reader.”

    Were you trying to compare this “iPad” to a Kindle 2 or a Kindle DX? I’m afraid you are wrong on both counts. The Kindle DX, the larger of the two, has a 9.7 inch screen, a full inch smaller than the size of the rumored iPad. Also, since the Kindle doesn’t require a backlight it is considerably thinner and lighter than a comparably sized iPad would be. Yes it would be color, but the last time I checked the overwhelming majority of books were primarily text, which doesn’t need to be in color anyway.

  26. I don’t care what OS it runs on…I don’t care what it can do…If it says APPLE on it…I’m buyin!!

  27. I am intrigued by the idea of the Iphone OS being the OS for the Ipad. Where as this would be discouraging for hardcore Mac fans, it may be the best way to get Iphone/non-mac users to adopt the Ipad. It seems to be a high risk challenge for Apple. Go with the full mac os get all hardcore mac users to buy the ipad, and make it to difficult for the average consumer. Go with the iphone os hopefully get nonmac users to adopt the Ipad, maybe make a few hardcore fans upset.

    I have had three different tabletpc’s, tc1000, tc1100, toshiba. The slate style it is the best! I loved web surfing on couch, and bed. The machines were never powerful enough to do photoshop. So I look forward to the Ipad and hope the Iphone OS can be improved to fit its larger format. Instant on will be great, and video conferencing.

  28. Good discussion here, but Bill Burkholder (#25) and Allan (#70) nailed it best.

    Think of the big picture in computing, what problems it solved yesterday, what problems it solves today, and what problems it has the potential to solve in the near future. Possibilities are endless, but it takes a company like Apple – with a great sense of taste, judgment and strategic thinking – to separate the ordinary from the truly groundbreaking.

    I hope the initial iteration of this device will not disappoint, but even if it is not perfect, there is plenty of room to grow.

  29. If this ran a cut down version of OSX which would probably need a good processor/memory etc. then that would be great. Half way between ipod/iphone and macbook. But running iphone OS? That will be rather boring, unless of course apps are developed to add all the functionality of, or close to OSX but as a ‘poor mans’ version – even though ironically it will probably cost at least as much as a macbook.

  30. I am really looking forward to this new device. I’ve put off buying another computer (currently own a five-year-old Mac mini) in anticipation. BUT, I’m hoping it will be more like a touchscreen laptop and not a big version of the iPhone. I don’t need tons of storage because I can use cloud storage, but I’m hoping the processor and RAM will be similar to a laptop. As for the book reader, the iPhone is perfect for that function. I don’t need a bigger device to hold while reading. If it is a big iPhone, I’ll just buy a Macbook Air. I’m quite sure Apple will not disappoint and the tablet will do a lot more than the iPhone, like make me breakfast in the morning. Here’s hoping!

  31. Well your right about a may june release. I have got that info from a friend a few weeks back who is working on the tablet as we speak 🙂

  32. @Steve
    @Scott

    First of all, everyone here – even you – are discussing a non-existent product. To say I shouldn’t be negative because the product doesn’t exist yet is stupid; by that logic, you shouldn’t be positive about this product either. I am – and I believe I said so in my first post – discussing the product “as rumored.”

    I didn’t say this “iPad” would be worthless to everyone, merely that I see no potential value for myself in an oversized iPhone OS product. Understand, I want a device that can *replace* my laptop for 60-70% of the tasks I need it for. If this product cannot replace the functionality of my 15″ laptop, then I have no interest in carrying around another $600+ device.

    “Speaking of size, are you aware of the upgraded Kindle size? This will actually be smaller and get this… have a color screen. It will likely make a much better reader.”

    Were you trying to compare this “iPad” to a Kindle 2 or a Kindle DX? I’m afraid you are wrong on both counts. The Kindle DX, the larger of the two, has a 9.7 inch screen, a full inch smaller than the size of the rumored iPad. Also, since the Kindle doesn’t require a backlight it is considerably thinner and lighter than a comparably sized iPad would be. Yes it would be color, but the last time I checked the overwhelming majority of books were primarily text, which doesn’t need to be in color anyway.

  33. I am intrigued by the idea of the Iphone OS being the OS for the Ipad. Where as this would be discouraging for hardcore Mac fans, it may be the best way to get Iphone/non-mac users to adopt the Ipad. It seems to be a high risk challenge for Apple. Go with the full mac os get all hardcore mac users to buy the ipad, and make it to difficult for the average consumer. Go with the iphone os hopefully get nonmac users to adopt the Ipad, maybe make a few hardcore fans upset.

    I have had three different tabletpc’s, tc1000, tc1100, toshiba. The slate style it is the best! I loved web surfing on couch, and bed. The machines were never powerful enough to do photoshop. So I look forward to the Ipad and hope the Iphone OS can be improved to fit its larger format. Instant on will be great, and video conferencing.

  34. If this ran a cut down version of OSX which would probably need a good processor/memory etc. then that would be great. Half way between ipod/iphone and macbook. But running iphone OS? That will be rather boring, unless of course apps are developed to add all the functionality of, or close to OSX but as a ‘poor mans’ version – even though ironically it will probably cost at least as much as a macbook.

  35. re: your last comment. I remember hearing an econ professor (mike munger on econtalk) once make a comment something like this:

    “the average person (and, thereby, common sense) is right almost all the time. it correctly predicts that most new products will be failures, because most new products ARE failures. What it can never predict, in fact is 100% wrong about every time, is a GOOD new idea. It will always miss those.”

    I always dug that.

  36. If true, this sounds like an utterly worthless product to me.

    Why do I want to carry around a BIG iPhone with me when I already carry around a regular one? If it won’t be as capable as my laptop — i.e. more than one app at a time, full office apps, Flash — then the usefulness of such a product is extremely limited.

    As to this new device being used as an eReader: The Kindle 2 is about as big and as heavy as is comfortable for most people to hold for long reading sessions. This device (as rumored) would appear to be much larger and heavier, and would be tiring to hold for extended reading periods.

    If an iPhone costs $599 without subsidy – what’s a 10″ iPhone cost without subsidy? Answer: Well more than it’s worth.

  37. It sounds good if all existing Apps work on the larger platform…
    I do hope there is also a line of MacBooks in 13 and 15 inch form factors…

  38. iPhone OS = FAIL. I’m looking for a next computer, and I definitely want it in a handheld form factor, but I also want it to be *an actual computer*, not a larger-sized iPod touch. Guess I’ll be staying on the Windows side of things.

  39. The 3G version of the iPad will probably be launching on Verizon’s data network.
    There are lots of iPhone users out there who love using their iPhone apps but hate how it eats up the battery life of their phone. Once I get an iPad I can use my iPhone apps for hours without using my phone’s battery.
    My investment in iphone apps will also pay off in having a ton of great software I can use right away with the iPad.

    To those saying that this device will be a failure because the iPhone OS can’t multitask…The iPad isn’t an iPhone. It will most likely have a faster processor, more RAM and better graphics chips. It will also be running a different version of the iPhone OS that will most certainly support multitasking.

    These are some of the things that millions of iPhone users have been wanting and Apple is going to offer it to them…just not on the iPhone.

  40. The power of this device is not going to come from “what it is like that came before it in the digital technology realm.” Its power is going to flow from what it replaces in the real world.

    Apple is building an enormous data center in NC to serve up content for their goodies. So with that sort of investment in the ecosystem, I’d be expecting all sorts of reasons to want an iPad…

    It will replace books, magazines, and newspapers. This device will enable you to take a stack of books and magazines and your daily “newspapers” with you where ever you go, and the only limitations to how long you can read will be the battery life or your proximity to an outlet. But it’s not just a reader! It’s a general purpose device with a lot more bang for the buck.

    It’s a stretch, but if they bring back handwriting recognition from the Newton days, it will serve as a note pad for class, meetings, grocery lists, and brainstorming.

    The screen is big enough, that with WiFi and Hulu or some similar source, it can replace your TV, or at least TiVo, for personal viewing of programs you missed.

    Sure, it will also replace your iPod Touch for better movie viewing, and perhaps it will replace your iPhone as well. With a larger virtual keyboard, it will offer even better email and text capabilities. And browsing on a larger screen will be a lot more convenient.

    If they put a front-facing video camera on it, it will be a great videophone for iChat AV, Skype, or similar use.

    Don’t limit your imagination to the examples of the past… Apple is about new directions, and this product will have to go in one, just as the iPhone took telecommunications in a new direction, and the iPod took music distribution in a new direction.

    Think about all the specialty uses, such as serving up medical records, legal documents, sales presentations… all in a lot more elegant package than a netbook or a notebook package.

  41. Just put all the power of the Mac Mini in a 10″ tablet.
    Add-in a web camera to support real-time OCR-PDF page scanning and file creation, and iChat, and make the touch screen easy to use and provide a stylus so it has all the functionality of an iPhone, Touch, and notebook paper tablet!

    Easy to use electronic notebook with 8~12 hours of battery life and full 1080p HD video output..

    Forget Kindle! Apple can do so much more…

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