back to article Apple tablet spooks world of PCs

That long-awaited Apple tablet/netbook/media-pad/ebook/whatever has yet to be confirmed let alone offered for sale, and it's already scaring the bejesus out of the competition. And for good reason. As we reported earlier today, an unnamed "veteran analyst" who claims to have had the rare honor of actually laying hands on the …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    Meh...crap quality, crap OS

    who cares? After a year of using an apple laptop I can honestly say that if the pc manufacturers get off their fat backsides and make a good looking machine, then I reckon that will be on my xmas list.

  2. ian 22
    Jobs Halo

    I'm no fanboi

    But since my wife bought an iMac, the scales have fallen from my eyes. Steve Jobs is not only not the devil incarnate, he may be God Himself. Will this always be true? No. Steve is only a secular God, and is destined to fall to the dark reaper's scythe, as are we all. In the meantime, he is influencing some fascinating (and well-integrated) products.

    Now let's hear from Bill Gate's fanbois.

    Saint Jobs, naturally!

  3. J 3
    Terminator

    t/n/m/e/w

    Couldn't you have given it a more pronounceable nickname? Something like, say, iThing? :-)

    Anyway, looking forward to see what they are up to this time, if anything.

  4. Andy Bright

    No fanboi either

    But I've been highly tempted now the lowest priced Macbook Pro is around $1200. You can still get a better price on a PC, but Macs offer more of what I want for a travel and home computer. By the time you factor in the price difference of the software I use on both platforms, their cost is almost identical. And I'd be able to get a more intuitive and more stable set of programs because Macs have been in these fields far longer.

    As for their new product, whatever it is, if it is anything like the iPod Touch or iPhone, but with a larger screen, more functionality and more processing power, then I'll want one last week.

    I use several devices for on-the-road entertainment (another reason for thinking about combining everything into a Macbook Pro or PC notebook) and if this offers what I want I may forget the notebook, continue doing my hobbies on my home desktop and get one of these new devices for my in-flight and layover entertainment.

  5. Justin Clements

    @AC

    Yeah, whatever.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whatever it is, it won't be BillG's vision of a tablet

    specifically, it won't be an attempt to entirely replace your laptop computer with something you prod at spastically with a plastic pen because you've watched far too much Star Trek while suffering the delusion that Scotty fixed his dilithium crystals using some elaborate Excel hinge tables.

    Of course, one thing is for sure: when it eventually emerges and notably fails to cure cancer, world poverty, global warming and HIV/AIDS, defeat bigotry, injustice and prejudice in all their varieties, save the pandas, whales, gorillas, corals, rain forests and glaciers, solve the P/NP problem, derive the mass of the Higgs boson from first principles and construct a fully quantised theory of gravity compatible with both relativity and string theory, all while simultaneously connecting you via Bluetooth EDR2.0 to a Skype conference call with God, Vishnu, Mohammed, Elvis, Bill Hicks, Winston Churchill, Horst Wessel, Galileo, Leonardo Da Vinci , Albert Einstein, Florence Nightingale, Amelia Earhart, Henry VIII, Henry Ford, Alfred Wegener, Genghis Khan, Khan Noonien Singh and Obi-Wan Kenfuckinobi, Apple stock will tank.

  7. DavCrav Silver badge

    Apple should be worried

    It's not the device manufacturers that should be worried, but Apple. No other company has such restrictions on the uses of their devices, etc. and once Apple moves into #2 or #1 position as a device manufacturer, expect a massive enquiry, followed by swift and furious justice with multi-billion-dollar fines from the US, the EU, and so on. Apple have methods that would get Microsoft back in the dock in about five minutes. The only reason that Apple gets away with it is that it's not in a dominant position, but as its market share increases, at some point the regulators are going to mandate that Apple separate its software and hardware divisions and they will split up the company into two or three; Apple electronics, Apple hardware, and Apple software. (Maybe two of these would be combined.)

    At that point, the entire reason people buy Apple disappears.

  8. Charlie Clark Silver badge
    Terminator

    Thoreau anyone?

    Apple has done well by following the "Simplify, simplify" dictum and having a worringly complicit media well-managed by the PR department. By focussing so obsessively on the delivered product Apple does indeed provide users with wow, wet trouser moments. But it also hides its failures well - the first iPhone was very nearly one of them.

    I like MacOS and and I like Apple notebooks (recently got my second) but it was Intel's work that saved their bacon a few years ago. Like I suspect oh so many others, Macs only became really interesting once they approached PC pricing and offered the prospect of virtual or dual-boot windows. Windows 7 works very nicely in Parallels and I can see it getting the kind of adoption that MS has missed with Vista and will give many users a similar good feeling though probably less worringly intense about owning that fanbois seem to get. And getting 7 onto netbooks will probably worry Apple as much as seeing mobile phones grow MP3 players. It responded brilliantly and no doubt whatever is in production is going to be interesting but Apple does also get it wrong at times.

  9. uhuznaa
    FAIL

    It's amazing

    At least since all these netbook platforms became common dozens of manufacturers could have just stripped the keyboard, include a touchscreen and sell tablets. The platform and the hardware is there since years and it's cheap.

    That netbooks are mostly used for consuming things (video, music, photos, browsing/reading, email, simple games) is nothing you need a Steve Jobs to realise. That a touchscreen even with a basic on-screen keyboard is enough to type in passwords, credit card numbers, search strings or short text snippets is also evident. But what did all the manfacturers of all this netbooks do? They sat on their hands and waited until Apple just does what Apple always does: Do the obvious and do it good. I can just see even now that the Apple tablet will hit them out of the blue sky and they will start whining and then copying. As if nobody could have seen it coming. It's just pathetic.

    Asus, Acer, Dell and so on could have had dirt-cheap netbook-based tablets out for at least a year. You can buy literally hundreds of slightly different netbook models but not *one* that is a tablet. You can see users of these things sitting in trains and in pubs and elsewhere fighting with tiny trackpads and hardly ever using the keyboards, but still every single one of these silly things has a crappy tiny trackpad, crappy hinges and lids and a crappy keyboard that most people only use to hit return instead of having to navigate the cursor to the "OK" button with that bloody trackpad. Or to use the cursor keys for scrolling instead of navigating to the scroll bar.

    I'm pretty sure that Apple was praying for Asus, Acer, Dell and others not seeing the obvious in the last two years. Well, they never see the obvious, it's almost as if they have a blind spot in that place.

  10. Robert 3
    Coat

    @AC

    I was about to say the SAME THING!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Apple are not amazing, everyone else is just rubbish!

    Apple Tablet?

    Hmm so they made a iPod Touch with a 10" screen!

    Well done Apple!

    Sigh

  12. raving angry loony
    Grenade

    tale of two products

    The well-reviewed (at the time) Sony Viao laptop and the Mac G4 laptop were purchased at about the same time in our household. That would be about 7 years ago.

    The Sony lasted about 3 years before it became pretty hard to upgrade enough to run latest codecs, software, and other items. It just ran out of steam. Couldn't even run linux on it due to various driver issues. It's now pretty much a doorstop, the battery having failed and me being unable to find a replacement in this 3rd world corner of the world I'm currently living in (Canada).

    The Mac is STILL in use (albeit occasionally now, but was used routinely until a year ago). It can run up-to-date software, and even though it can't now be updated to the lastest MacOSX, the version it has is current enough that I'm not running into too many problems. I figure its time has just now come up, and it might get retired to a quiet life as a firewall or something.

    So, effectively, the Mac laptop had twice as long a lifespan as the Viao. If we'd tried to keep up, we would have needed TWO so-called "Microsoft" laptops to keep up to a single Apple laptop. Which, to me, means that even if a Mac laptop is just under twice the price of its competitors, it's still a better deal.

    As for Apple as a company, unfortunately, I probably won't be buying many of their products again. The shenanigans they've played with the iPod / iPod Touch / iPhone have really soured my opinion. When I bought my iPod Touch, I expected all my iPod accessories to work with it. I was wrong - NONE worked. I had to re-purchase several important ones (car charger), but once I figured out I was being ripped off for no reason. For instance, there is NO mechanical reason that the space between the slot and the earphone plug had to be 1mm wider on the iPod Touch, other than to deliberately stop certain accessories from working. Let's not talk about the locking of the iPhone to sub-standard network providers, and their whole App Store attitude.

    So, Apple probably has better products at this point, but their marketing people are so evil that I refuse to look at their products any more. I'm tired of getting ripped off. That said, I'll still be having a really close look at the tablet, assuming their marketing idiots can keep their fucking scumbag attitudes away from it and not fuck it all up. Which they probably will.

  13. John Freeman
    FAIL

    Fanbois Just Don't Get It

    If Apple and Linux actually had decent game development, their share of the market would sky-rocket. Games are the key to opening people's options. Until then, Apple....Linux.... you will always be an extremely radical and vocal "also ran" to the PC.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    app store

    you will probably only be allowed to use apple app store apps that apple approves of. if that works for then, they can do it to all macs.

  15. Reid Malenfant
    Happy

    @ raving angry loony

    I've had a near identical experience; only with 2 Acers and 1 Viao vs a Mactop (which had not been my choice) - the XP Viao's still running fine but that sodding Mac still runs like new, if a little slow by modern standards.

    My biggest surprise, after so many extremely Mac-critical years, was the gradual realisation that I'd keep finding little excuses to do work on the Mac in preference to the PCs - In fact somebody else pointed this out and, to my shame, I very angrily and very vocally denied it all (I may even have heard a cock crow too).

    Incidentally, I also have an Xplore tablet running XP pro (battery life expectancy truly crap). It was required for work capturing data outside in the field (carried in one hand), often in adverse environments where you frequently needed to let go of it in a hurry (it came with neck straps). I persevered but my colleagues soon dumped it for the tried and trusted biro / Weather Writer clipboard combo and extra work (err overtime?) back in the vehicle/office. Hmm, just spotted a correlation - damn!

    Why did it fail? That sodding stylus was just too slow/small/fiddly/inaccurate/tether snagable to get any meaninful work done; in short it was too annoying to use. Perhaps if they'd let Wacom develop the stylus? Its also a pretty hefty slab, best part of 2" thick in its case. Voice control? Not a chance.

    The one thing ALL my IT phobic colleagues used regularly to berate me with went something like this: "You bloody muppet, why didn't you just get one that lets you use your finger to write with?". It didn't help that they used to watch News Readers walking around the studio with one reading their Autocue.

    It seems to me now that if Apple have researched previous failed tablet incarnations (see above) and can now truly produce a reasonably rugged, slim, touch tablet - there may well more interested business takers than you might realise. Yeah a big iPod touch maybe - but that would have worked just fine for us.

    A sleeve/forearm, hands-free mount? Even better - now that would be something.

  16. Philip Kroker
    Grenade

    Archos anyone?

    So it's like the upcoming Archos 9pctablet then eh?

    http://www.archos.com/products/nb/archos_9/index.html?country=ca&lang=en

    Call me when something truly new hits the market.

  17. Player_16

    Here's a picture of one!

    http://danielhilfling.com/index/image/menu%20bar/studio/etch_a_sketch.jpg

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @John Freeman : As if everybody

    is a hardcore gamer who would sell his own mother for 2 extra fps just to spend day and night staring at a screen, clicking mechanically and living in a parallel universe, some of them even dying from exhaustion. Sorry pal, you're a minority and you're being abused by manufacturers of video cards, memory, cooling systems etc. Other than that, you're pretty much irrelevant for the computing history in general. I enjoy playing computer games from time to time but I don't let this affect my intellect.

  19. toms
    Go

    iTab - iTurns on, iTunes in, iSellout ?

    if we're getting an iTab media tablet as opposed to a 'tablet computer', I presume we'll be able to paraphrase Timothy Leary;

    iTab - iTurns on, iTunes in, iSellout ?

    People laughed when Apple was going to release an MP3 player, they didn't expect the iphone to do as well as it has done. The market does have a place for a easy to use product, people are willing to pay extra for useability, even if this comes with a 'loss of freedom' or tethering to a supplier for media files / applications etc. Until the MS world accept this and deliver products that 'do what they say on the tin' Apple will remain a thorn in their side.

    Unless I am mistaken, I've not seen an embedded XP / win CE / similar cut down M$ OS tablet. Why not? is it simply because the M$ camp are lazy? and feel that if people want a media player they'll get a laptot? as we HAVE the OS market anyway people will come to us. So, maybe it's time for M$ to stop whinging and re-design an OS from the HCI perspective ? as Apple realised years ago?

    I believe that Apple's success now can in part be linked to their changing of processor families - 68k to powerpc to intel or ARM. Sometimes you need a break from the ties that bind you with 'legacy' computing - this hasn't been acted upon by M$. They simply bolt OS 'development' and GUI 'refinement' onto a shaky superstructure and then confuse you by selling 4 versions of the same. Why? because they think they can.

    What storage will we see in the iTab? 256Gb SSD anyone? will we get a new Apple tv device to go with this product as it's 'home media server' ?

    Go - and get your market share, cause it's yours for the taking.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Messrs Malefant & Raving Loony

    Same experience as my buddy at work. Generations of Windows laptops provided by the company have come and gone (died, ran out of puff, whatever).

    His 17" G4 laptop just soldiers on. I'm looking for an old cheap G4 laptop just to play some old games which aren't supported on the Intel Macs but they don't seem to be available at a price equivalent to 6 year old Dells or HPs.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ John Freeman

    Believe it or not, the most sophisticated game the vast majority of Windows machines out there will ever play is Solitaire, which hasn't required any significant amount of computing power in, ooh, at least 15 years now.

  22. Dave Bell

    And mobile broadband?

    OK, I don't do much mobile computing anyway, but mobile broadband in the UK looks a bit old-fashioned on the marketing side. The PAYG model is badly behind the equivalent for standard mobile. Use the paid-for data volume within a month, or lose it.

    We lost landline service here, over the weekend. I dug out an old mobile phone, popped a free SIM card in, and did a top-up in the village shop. I'll not lose that money when September comes.

    Add the 3G coverage problem, and if this new machine is dependent on Mobile Broadband, if it's a super-iPhone, then no.

  23. Youngdog
    Flame

    Re-posted from a previous iTablet article

    There is DEFINITELY a market out there for this thing. You are looking at (potentially) a DVD Player, Browser/mail client, remote control/media centre, eBook reader and games console in ONE sexy, useable unit that doesn't require a minimum level of technical expertise to master.

    Unlike most IT professionals who hang around here and know their way around the NT Registry and don't get intimidated opening up a PC most people in this world don't want to understand how it works to use one. Your average Joe/Joanne just wants nice shiny icons that tell him/her what it does, an interface that is a genuine pleasure to use and the ability to download new apps without piddling around and having to rely on PC World/vendor helpdesks when it doesn't work. Done, done and DONE.

    And since when did the app store become a bad thing anyway? Half the time this site is running stories covering the latest M$/Mozilla/Adobe vulnerability/bloatware instance. With the App store you have a genuine attempt to impose some standards plus the democracy that comes with ratings and reviews. Also ANYONE can develop for the iPhone/iPod Touch and profit from it with the product price genuinely pegged to its quality and desirability due to market forces. Sure, this isn't the freeware utopia the open-source party were after but it sure beats a handful of complacent companies taking 80-90% market share and abusing their position by selling us crap for the rest of time.

    I would buy this thing in a second. The irony being I would earn the money to do so by supporting Wintel systems/architecture!

  24. Paolo Marini
    WTF?

    How old is El Reg audience?!

    Has everyone forgotten that Apple was the first company to manufacture a tablet PC ages ago, with the Newton. They had the skills long ago and now they see that the market is ripe for the introduction of a very usable device. That's what Apple does: design, engineer and sell usable devices... now if you need something that it's going to be unusable, feel free to buy Windows.

  25. MacGregor

    Tablets ahoy!

    I have been hoping for a laptop for awhile and felt that many people who want to surf the web, watch media etc., don't like computers because they don't like typing. Many people who don't have computers - yes there are alot of them - are waiting for something like this.

    MS can't do it. They don't have the culture or DNA to do it and so it doesn't get done - just like IBM couldn't come up with a laptop.

    Apple can, does and will in the future do this. Anyone who is just a MC fanboi is simply too entrenched in legacy to understand - kinda like people who really like Buicks.

    Anyway, Steve Jobs will school Steve Balmer again and everyone will be happy.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Youngdog: Average Joe/Joanne...

    "Unlike most IT professionals who hang around here and know their way around the NT Registry and don't get intimidated opening up a PC most people in this world don't want to understand how it works to use one. Your average Joe/Joanne just wants nice shiny icons that tell him/her what it does, an interface that is a genuine pleasure to use and the ability to download new apps without piddling around and having to rely on PC World/vendor helpdesks when it doesn't work."

    Actually, after 35 years in IT that's what I would like too. Command line tools and registry patching aren't an indication of hairy-chested IT virility, they're an indication of a failure in the tools.

  27. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Take a Bite of the Apple* .... for the Pleasure of Eve's Desires.

    "If Apple and Linux actually had decent game development, their share of the market would sky-rocket. Games are the key to opening people's options." ..... By John Freeman Posted Tuesday 4th August 2009 00:39 GMT

    John,

    It would be "illogical", although apparently perfectly normal for the poorly educated and oppressed human being and their oppressive and unimaginative sub-prime Control Program Units, to think that Apple and Linux have not developed a Game Changing Great Game which sweeps away All Dodgy Opposition and Pervasive Subversive Competition with a Unique IT Stealth Strategy to Crash the Mocking Markets Ivory Towers and Steal away All of their Investors/Stock Market Gamblers/Money Junkies.

    And you don't even have that as a blip on the Markets radar screens yet, which is Proof Positive of the Efficacy of Advanced IntelAIgent Design Systems and NeuReal Internal Security Protocols.

    "Sorry pal, you're a minority and you're being abused by manufacturers of video cards, memory, cooling systems etc. Other than that, you're pretty much irrelevant for the computing history in general. I enjoy playing computer games from time to time but I don't let this affect my intellect." .... By Anonymous Coward Posted Tuesday 4th August 2009 03:30 GMT

    AC,

    Game the Capitalist System and you will Control IT with Access to All of the World's Banked Wealth, which is Daily ZerodDaily Gaily Abused by the Old School of Bankers who Imagine that IT is All Theirs to do with as they wish, crashing businesses and systems which threaten their house of cards. Retiring Gracefully out of the Picture and ITs NeuReal and SurREal/Innovative Radical New Novel Great Games, will save them more than just Pain, if IT be True. And now that it is so Transparently Registered on the World Wide Web, have they no possible excuse to plead that they didn't know of A.N.Other and Beta Way of Doing Things.

    And if they are as SMART as they need to be to Survive and Prosper in the Greatest of Greater Games, and are Determined to Remain on the Bridge as Control and Power take a New Course, then the SMARTer ones will Invest and Rest their Treasury Futures with Leading Players, for that is where all the SMART Money is Lodged for Spending and Reviving Fortune.

    And what you may/will have to consider, because it is an option which you cannot deny and which will not be denied, is that Virtualisation XXXXtraordinarily Renders ICTechnology, AIMethodology, which dispenses with the normal hardware, software, electronics divisions, preferring instead to morph them all together for the Global Operating Device Driver which Uses the Internet as a Simply CompleXXX Virtual Machine and Virtual Machine Operating System.

    It is certainly Spooky NIRobotIQs Territory whenever IT is Alien to Most Others, which puts it well within Reach of All with more than just the Average Low Intelligence.

    And Paris because the Intelligence of Women is Virgin Territory and AIMagical Mystery Turing Trip for MachoMan, who are Weakened and Defeated to Further Follow Other Fools as Stupid Tools that Deny Themselves their Fervent and Passionate Wishes/AIdDVentures.

    Maybe it is High Time that IT Created a His and Hers Markets System to Break the Present Disastrous Monopoly of FUDdy DUDdy Old Codgers Pwning and Pawing at the Merchandise?

    * In a Orchard of Fresh Luscious Fruits, why would you Deny yourself Natural Bounty?

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    New crowd might take to it....

    The Newton? I owned one, nice little gadget for about 5 mins of play but absolutely useless for anything serious though. Palm came along and buried Apple in the dust for years. Palm didn't try to be too clever, they didn't bother with handwriting rubbish, just click the icons and use the on-screen keyboard, K.I.S.S.!

    Anyone remember the big fuss when Compaq tried around 2002 with a tablet? I saw one person with one on a train once. They seem to be struggling, it was like someone had simply taken a laptop and flipped the screen around and glued it together, it looked ugly, it looked like it weighed a good few pounds too. The screen appeared to do that thing LCDs do when you lean on them, the rainbow effect as you crush the crystals. Too bulky, Windows support was a bit naff for tablets. Lack of K.I.S.S.!

    I always hated tablets, they seemed fragile compared to a nice beefy laptop with a solid clamshell, but given the fact that more of these book readers and flimsy netbooks are appearing and the mobile internet revolution is in full swing, I think Apple might stand a slim chance of making it work gievn their cachet, but they have the battle to convince the old crowd like us that this will not be just another failure, but the new IT tech users may take to it, providing it works like the phone and the MP3 player, a lot of the usual Apple type K.I.S.S. they may make it work!

    Personally I always hated the Apple brand, Jobs, fanboi freaks, iphoneys, iplops, the lot. Then one day my old man, sick and tired of his brand new HP Compaq 3.2 dual core falling over and crashing on both Windows XP and Vista at least once or twice a day, he raided his piggy bank again and bought an iMac. After badgering me about how great it was for months, bought me one. I hated it, repartioned it with bootcamp immediately with XP! Some mornings when everyone else was in bed, I would sneak down and secretly boot it into OSX and play for 20 mins, my own dirty, sad little secret....I wanted to hate it, but I just couldn't anymore! You cannot deny, at a premium, they make very usuable products, but it's easy to get carried away and turn into a fanboi, that's one thing you have to fight, very hard!

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Only product with 2 or more easy markets?

    (a) - a toy thing that does what iPhone and iPod do along with apps - lots of apps

    (b) - a work thing that extends what iPhone and iPod can do along with apps - lots of apps

    And I suppose there is a third sector that does a bit of both?

  30. Mage Silver badge
    Linux

    Keep taking the Tablets

    Archos has nice one already.

    Primarily such a thing only has use in specialist markets. It can't be used as easily as an iPhone as it's too big for holding in hand or pocket. It can't be used a usefully as netbook as no keyboard.

    It may be successful in Archos's Media Tablet and Portable DVD player market but it's not going to hurt Netbooks or pocket mediaplayers/smart phones.

    It's also going to be twice the price it needs to be if it's $700. It really needs to be under £250/€300/$400 to have much traction. Actually usually Archos are overpriced (French for Apple should be Archos, not Pomme). I'm amazed at their 160Gbyte HDD Windows and 250Gbyte HDD Linux 10" netbook prices.

    The Apple FanBois will all buy one. But having worked on tablet design concepts for 20 years simply having a multitouch GUI and OSX is not enough.

    http://www.archos.com/

    (Mines the one with an Archos 605 ripping the pocket)

  31. Jon Axtell

    iPad

    iPad sounds the best name for it, sounds like iPod.

  32. David Paul Morgan
    Happy

    Shall we call it the iPad® ?

    I love my asus 1000 notepad, but I really liked my Palm Pilot III & Handspring Visor (the really slim silver one).

    I would like an A5 or A4 'pad' on which I can use cursive script, block letters and, prefereably Palm Grafitti®.

    I won't really care what the underlying Os is, as long as it can browse the web and you can write on it. ebooks would be really great.

  33. Olivier 2
    Grenade

    Workflow

    The more I use my android phone (I am sure it'd be the same with an iPhone), the more I think the PC/MacOS workflow could be seriously improved. HP has done some work around that with their touch screen all-in-ones but it's just an overlay on standard Windows and it's an example of what the PC industry has done for decades : a bit of window dressing here and there, but typically, same old stuff.

    The Apple tablet should be a much deeper effort and has now the clout to foster the birth of a new ecosystem, a la iPhone. Wait and see.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    But it's Apple

    no software, premium support prices and lock-in. no thanks. been there and sold it.

    @Anonymous Coward

    DirectX 10 is a bit more advanced than anything you will ever see on a Mac and it's Spectrum based graphic infrastructure.

  35. TeeCee Gold badge
    Dead Vulture

    One of the most tombstone worthy moments ever.

    Please explain exactly how a one-two of a media player and a phone (however successful) makes a company more relevant in the Personal Computer market? If there were any truth in this, the most relevant player in the PC market would be, er, Nokia (hugely successful phone launches 'R us).

    It's true that Apple have become more relevant in the personal computer market, but that's down to the hugely improved Macs which, let's face it, were looking decidedly ropey prior to the Second Coming of St Steve.

    The tablet might enhance this position, assuming that it a) happens and b) is successful. Personally, I reckon that b is the difficult one here as tablet PCs have traditionally always been in the same category as VOD for mobile phones. i.e. Something that every vendor in the market thinks that everyone should want, but nobody actually does.

  36. Peter Mylward
    Stop

    One Word

    There is one word I have to say to Mr Jobs - FLASH. I can forgive it, grudgingly, on the phone but try and shaft me out of user experience on the web in a tablet format and you can shove it. Politely of course.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Megaphone

    Maybe..

    If it runs on MacOS and Intel architecture then I'll consider buying one - if its just a glorified iPod Touch, then they can whistle!

  38. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    @uhuznaa

    Thanks. That saved a lot of typing.

    You're right, the repeated failure of other manufacturers to learn from Apple's demonstrations of "how it should be done" is frankly amazing. For years, I've failed to understand how Apple could get away with their pricing. Surely it's just a matter of time before someone churns out a similar product at "commodity" prices, I thought. But no, it turns out that everyone else in the industry is just incredibly stupid.

    I expect this new iTablet will be the same. Everyone will say how it is just what they always believed a tablet could be, with none of the dumb (ie, not technically necessary) limitations of previous efforts. Implicit in that is that customers are waiting to buy a "nice" tablet, and the manufacturers know what that involves, but strangely can't bring themselves to produce it.

  39. Rob Beard
    Thumb Up

    @ David Bell

    You should look at Vodafone, okay they're a little bit more pricey at £15 for 1GB but it doesn't expire, you just top up when the allowance is used up. I have a Vodafone 3G modem which I use occasionally, had it about 5 months now and I'm still on the original 1GB of data allowance that came with the modem (which cost £40, with 1GB of allowance worth £15). For me it's ideal, I can use it for web browsing, e-mail and the occasional bit of remote access and don't have to worry about it expiring at the end of the month (plus when I'm in a HSDPA area I get around 2 to 3 Meg and when I'm in a 3G area I get around 384K/sec which is perfectly fast enough).

    On the other hand, T-Mobile and O2 also do a pay per day/week/month option. You basically pay £2 (or there abouts) for the entire day which on O2 gives you about 500 Meg and T-Mobile it's as much as you want (although IIRC if you use over 3GB in a month they seriously cap your speeds).

    Anyway, back to this tablet thing. I can certainly see the point, kind of a bigger iPhone type device with web browsing, games, media playback. I guess it depends on who they're trying to target, I mean will this device run a standard copy of OSX like the MacBook etc or will it be more of a locked down OS like on the iPhone with apps only available from the Apple store?

    I guess either way it'll probably sell well to those who can afford it (and those who can't but get one free with a 3 year mobile data contract).

    Rob

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    PeeSeebois take note?

    Apple's success in this venture is everyone's success.

    Hardware component manufacturers, kit assemblers, distributors, retailers, ISPs, telcos, Apple's own design and development teams and (most importantly?) the end user/customer himself or herself.

    There will be a marketing opportunity for wannabees too.

  41. Neil Charles

    Why tablet PCs have never worked

    Whatever Apple have come up with, there's a simple reason why tablets (or, lets just say every ultra portable PC pre-netbooks) have never taken off.

    Nobody's trying to solve a simple problem. Microsoft have tried, as usual, to create a hell of a lot of problems that nobody knew they had and then solve them all at once. And failed.

    What would you want in a tablet? Personally, I want an electronic version of the notepad on my desk. Handwriting recognition, easy upload to a PC (so bluetooth / wireless) and conversion to a word doc and filing, plus an internet connection to research or send whatever you've written. Anything else is just a bonus. Video playback, music, games... just make a simple, electronic version of the notepad.

    I'd buy one. And I strongly suspect it wouldn't cost $800.

  42. Ru
    Unhappy

    Gaming is irrelevant

    Hard-core PC gaming is dying. All that sort of stuff will move to consoles in due course. What's left will not require serious hardware to run, and will be quite happy on a moderately powered machine.

  43. ThomH Silver badge

    @ TeeCee

    I think the argument is either that the tablet won't be oriented as a computer, in the same way that phones (including Apple's) are computers but are not sold as computers, or that the App Store has widened the category of what matters. Probably much more the former than the latter — though I'll wager that the number of programmers with some knowledge of Objective-C is up several thousand percent since 2007.

  44. Colin MacLean

    @Peter Mylward

    Having seen the less-than-favourable reviews of Flash on the HTC Hero, I think you can most likely shove it.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    @AC

    "Generations of Windows laptops provided by the company have come and gone (died, ran out of puff, whatever).

    His 17" G4 laptop just soldiers on. I'm looking for an old cheap G4 laptop just to play some old games which aren't supported on the Intel Macs but they don't seem to be available at a price equivalent to 6 year old Dells or HPs."

    Duh!

  46. Dave 142

    @mage

    "It really needs to be under £250/€300/$400 to have much traction."

    seeing as that's cheaper than an iPod Touch I don't think that's in any way realistic

  47. Terry 6 Silver badge
    Grenade

    Cost and usability

    If Apple can produce a device that does what the ordinary person wants it to do, at a total cost of ownership that makes it realistic, and looks cool, then they have a winner. I might not like it, but the guys in the back office will.

    It's why the iTouch sells.

    I like PCs because I like fiddling with 'em and adding stuff.

    Most folks do not

  48. brendand

    uh, wrong

    'Pitchers, that's Yank for bowlers'

    Yes, and sheep is Yank for cow. Pitcher's pitch, Bowler's bowl - there's a difference. Bloody Brits

  49. Karim Bourouba

    I would buy one

    Even though I am not an Apple zealot (like a few people on this thread...), I would consider buying one.

    Mainly because I am sick of current smartphones and I dont want to be locked into a lifelong contract with o2 for an iPhone. I had been thinking about getting the Nokia N810, but now I see this on the horizon, I may wait a little longer.

    I already own an iPod Touch, so having one of them with a larger screen would be ideal.

  50. Tony Paulazzo
    Pint

    Apple vs Windows

    Ah, religious wars, gives one a nice warm feeling. But hey, if the iCrap iPad kicks off a decent windows version (like the iPhone did for mobile touch screens - I love my Samsung Tocco), then I'm all for it.

  51. Adam T

    @AC (Maybe)

    If it runs on whatever gives it the best performance/battery life I think it'll do well. It's not about the desktop, it's about the applications.

    The iPhone / iPod Touch SDK has revealed a whole new cottage industry of developers, and the App Store has proven itself a great delivery platform (even if iTunes isn't very good for discovery).

    I'm quite fond of the iPhone's desktop and apps myself - it's nice to not have to think too deeply about where things are; a feeling shared by the majority I'll bet. I have my laptop and desktops for that.

    If it is Touch based, the only thing I can see that will kill it for that reason is if they fail to allow background apps.

  52. Andus McCoatover

    @MacGregor

    <..just like IBM couldn't come up with a laptop...>

    Beg to differ. My ancient* IBM Thinkpad 600E's have the best lappie keyboard I've _ever_ used. Soft, tactile and precise. I used to prefer the laptop's K/B to the plugin effort from Compaq on my desk. Joy to use.

    True, all the batteries I've 'acquired' are buggered, but still fine machines. And still working! (One's on Windows 95, the other one's on Redhat 7.3...).

    *Not as ancient as the morse key in my bedroom. One of the three keys taken from Oban radio station, where Marconi did many experiments, it was probably used by him. And, it doesn't send .../.--./.-/--//

  53. fifi

    GPS

    I REALLY REALLY hope it has GPS. I already use satnav software on the iPhone, for walking as well as a chartplotter for sailing, and all it really lacks is a bigger screeen, Stick a GPS in there, and it'd be an ideal solution for a portble satnav with a decenmt size screen. Admittedly, the sailing fraternity is a small market, but I can hope.

    a

  54. This post has been deleted by its author

  55. Chris Pollard
    WTF?

    Not convinced

    I'm not convinced people need a £800 ipod touch which doesn't fit in your pocket. Even more so if apple go down the "app store / itunes store" evil genius route to milk cash out of their customers.

  56. John Square
    Troll

    @Tony Paulazzo

    "But hey, if the iCrap iPad kicks off a decent windows version (like the iPhone did for mobile touch screens - I love my Samsung Tocco), then I'm all for it."

    1) If you are talking about the OS-The Tocco runs Samsung's own OS, with a (poor) version of TouchWiz running over the top.

    2) If you are talking about the touchscreen- the Tocco has a resistive single-touch touchscreen, not the iPhone's capacitive multitouch one. Also, the Tocco has some flimsy, cloudy plastic over the top of the screen, not a crystal clear slab of glass.

    Hang on, I've just had a horrid thought: Could you seriously be stating that you prefer WinMo to the iPhone's OSX distro? Or have I fallen for a (very obvious) troll?

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    @brendand

    its only rounders anyway

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Apple have to do something

    Recent readjustment of OS X share has shown it really only has less than 5% market share - not the 10% they thought they had.

    marketshare.hitslink.com/os-market-share.aspx?qprid=9

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Chris Pollard

    Why pluck figures out of the air? It just makes you look bitter, rather than the actual intent of your post. The article states an guesstimated price point of £475, so I reckon that the actual retail price that we'll see is going to be around £479 - £499 mark, pricey, yes. Overpriced? We'll see. The app store 'evil genius route to milk cash out of their customers' has never done so. It's wildly publicised and reported that both the iTunes and App stores are loss-leaders. They exist solely to sell iPods/iPhones.

  60. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    I love it - nobody's seen it yet..

    I find it highly amusing to see all the opinions spouted about what it is and what it will do - without a single FACT available.

    I tell you what I'll do:

    1 - I 'll wait until I know what it is

    2 - I'll wait some more while the "must have it now" people buy it and debug it

    3 - I will see if it's something I actually NEED. I know, it's a unique criteria in IT, but that's the way I am.

    I'm not for or against anything, Apple, Windows, Linux, iPhone, whatever - I buy what works for me and doesn't give me too much hassle getting it to work. At the moment that is Windows XP, and I'm about to buy an iPhone 3GS - the version the iPhone should have been. Ergo - the wait was worth it.

    As for the new iWhatsit - if it is a larger Kindle with input and European comms capabilities I may be interested, especially if it's half an Airbook (keyboard removed), or half that size.

    However, the above process will be followed - it served me well over the years. It neatly offsets marketing hype with hard reality..

  61. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    Stop

    Apple Newton Redux ?

    It's all been done before ( the list is long ), but maybe Apple ( or its hype machine and 'me want' customers ) will succeed where others haven't in the wider consumer market.

    I looked at the Elonex One - basically a digital picture frame with detachable keyboard for sub £100 - but it was so proprietary and locked down while the hardware and cost fitted my bill the system did not. I cannot see Apple doing better, not for $600-$800, but each to their own.

    One thing I want is a completely wireless system - and that includes charging. I want to be able to pick a tablet up, put it down, and not have to connect any wires at all, ever. It needs to have batteries which last a full 10 hours between charges ( working day plus commute ) and be always on. It needs to be lightweight and thin, ideally A4 sized.

    If Apple can achieve that, maybe I'll become a fanboi for this particular product :-)

  62. Ben Rosenthal

    7 year old G4's

    and I still have uses for a 486 powered laptop every now and then, do I win a prize?

  63. Jamie Kitson

    erm...

    http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2009/08/04/dell_intel_tablet/

  64. Richard 102

    @DaveCrav

    Being a monopoly (or whatever the US government decides is a monopoly) is not in and of itself illegal. It is abusing that monopoly, ie leveraging it via unethical business practices to extend the monopoly into other areas, that is illegal.

    Case in point: iPod and iTunes. This is not an illegal monopoly. For one thing, there are alternatives that exist. Second, iTunes and the iPod allow the use of open (or open-ish) formats: mp3, mp4, etc. Third, the DRM was not Apple's idea, but the labels'. Fourth, Apple hasn't tried to use the iPod to strong-arm into other areas. Influence, maybe ("You do know that we are by far the biggest market for personal media player peripherals, right? Maybe you could make those cases for the iPhone.") ; but not force ("Make cases for us exclusively or your puppy gets it.").

    And remember, it's all how you spin things. MS is a software company. Some argue that Apple is a software company, a hardware company, whatever. In truth, they are a *solutions* company. They sell you the whole widget. Don't like that? Okay, that's fine, there are other solutions out there.

  65. Bernie 2
    Thumb Down

    I've got one

    it's crap

  66. Frank Bough
    WTF?

    @AC

    "The Newton? I owned one, nice little gadget for about 5 mins of play but absolutely useless for anything serious though. Palm came along and buried Apple in the dust for years. Palm didn't try to be too clever, they didn't bother with handwriting rubbish, just click the icons and use the on-screen keyboard, K.I.S.S.!"

    Graffiti entirely passed you by, then? As a Newton (2100) and Palm (Titanium 2) user I can honestly state that the Newton was generation ahead.

  67. Wibble

    iPad - iWant iWant iWant

    Love the idea of an iPhone that's bigger. Will be great for browsing, watching films, iPodding and hopefully running iPhone applications in a bigger space. Need to be able to attach a Bluetooth keyboard and maybe a mouse; sit it on a stand. It'll be a brilliant bit of kit.

    The point is that it shouldn't be a fully-functional general purpose lappie. Just stick to the basics.

    Can't wait.

  68. Ed Azzopardi

    Ubiquitousness?

    Isn't 'ubiquity' awfully less clumsy?

    - - - -

    I have resisted a Netbook so far, claiming that I can browse/email/tweet etc on my iPhone, a device that does fit inside a pocket and does almost all I need when I'm on the move. I'm in the office the rest of the time with a proper PC so I really can see no point in a midget laptop for my usage pattern. There are, however, a zillion Netbook users who have been suckered into a low-spec machine that tries hard to do what its elder brother does. I strongly suspect that these are the ones who will be overjoyed that Apple are selling a similar device that is a little quicker, much sexier, and a little more expensive (assumptions, I know, but Apple does have a history of doing all that).

    That said, I know I'll probably shell out for one if they sell the iPad Pro with a glossy, white, plastic back ;)

  69. Paul 4

    RE:@ John Freeman

    And most laptops stay pluged in and on a desk, but that dosent stop people thinking they NNNEEEEDDDDD to spent twice as much on one.

  70. Tony Paulazzo
    Happy

    @ John Square

    No, I'm not saying the Tocco is an iPhone beater, just that the iPhone forced the other mobiles to follow suit and offer touch screen phones, even if it's not as good, they will get better, it does everything I want a mobile phone to do (I don't need to zoom in on pictures on a 3in screen or edit documents on the go). As for my preference (I love my Tocco), that's simply because I wouldn't buy an Apple product (religious wars yea, logic out the window).

    If the iPad (or whatever), becomes popular, then the market should follow suit, offering Win7 (+ software I'm comfortable using, ie not iTunes or slowtime) versions at lower prices - will they be better than the Apple version? IMHO yes, because they're not made by Apple (see religious wars above).

    So, if I was trolling... yay, my first troll on t'internet.

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Terminator

    you gotta be joking!

    Expensive, No Java, No Flash, No Windows/Linux compatibility, Crap camera, Insecure, Unsafe, Horid support, Restricted potential, Poor value, Closed source, Developer hostile tools, etc. etc. etc.

    These are a few reasons why no matter how many TRILLIONS (even) in sales they do, me and others who are not easily swayed by marketing hype and buying something for the sake o' coolness, will NEVER do the mistake of forking out cash to crApple just so they continue to produce crappy products with nicely animating graphics...

    Just because A LOT of people are keen to buy 2 year(!) exclusive/premium iphone contracts and lame ipods doesn't mean much, only that there are lots of muppets out there who would buy anything that starts with a lowercase i.

  72. Wolf 1
    Jobs Horns

    iRead, Kindle-comptetitor, not computer

    I'm betting it's *NOT* a computer. I'm betting it's a Kindle-competitor, one that can also play movies and music. :)

    After all, Steve has always said they'll never build another Newton. But he never said they wouldn't build an eBook reader.

    Popularize the ebook reader and Apple could have another one-trick pony in the stable. Both the iPod and the iPhone are getting a bit long in the tooth.

    Lord knows their computers aren't going anywhere fast...

  73. Toastan Buttar
    Paris Hilton

    iPad ?

    Sounds like a feminine hygiene product !

  74. David 59
    Megaphone

    New nickname for the device

    t/n/m/e/w sounds like tin-mew which is like tin-mious SO...

    the iTablet is now hereby nicknames:

    the TinCat.

    I expect much kudos, and fully expect el Reg to use this in the future :-D

  75. whiteafrican

    Umm... why?

    If this mac tablet is essentially a bigger iPhone, who would buy it? (other than the usual fanbois)

    Something the size of a netbook that lacks the ability to run any useful software just seems like a waste of money. If it's too big to fit in your pocket then it should, at a minimum, be able to run the basic software you get on a real computer (regardless of the OS). I'm not expecting it to be able to do massive 3d renders, or run fast 3d games, but the ability to run Photoshop, Dreamweaver etc. is a must.

    No software = no sale.

  76. albaleo

    iCouch

    Read books, watch video, browse porn, check the stock prices, e-mail the missus to pick up some beer on the way home, and all from the sofa and sometimes the toilet. I just hope it doesn't include a phone. Don't need no interruptions. This may be the killer product of all time.

  77. richard 69
    FAIL

    as a fan

    i really cannot see the point of a tablet, nobody has succeeded with this.

    although i did wonder what the point of the ipod was, when lord jobs announced it....

    so maybe they've got a truly great idea for it but i suspect it's another g4 cube.....

  78. Jessica Werkz

    @ac 14:11

    "me and others who are not easily swayed by marketing hype and buying something for the sake o' coolness, will NEVER do the mistake of forking out cash to crapple..."

    You sure? Loads of people said exactly the same thing when the iPhone first came out and there's no doubt that a lot of them finally succumbed to the blasted thing, or as TheRegister said eventually had their misgivings worn away.

    No doubt you will have the opportunity to eat your words in about 18 months time or more likely stay extremely silent on the subject...

  79. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Innovation

    Since Bill Gates and his coffee table touch screen did not catch on I don't see anything wrong with Apple having a try. Also - it makes sense for the Dells to hold off. They are high-volume imitators rather than innovators.

  80. sam 38
    Jobs Horns

    Good at design....

    ....bad at humility. If only we could harness the power of smugness, we could run the UK on a couple of fanbois.

  81. B 9

    @DavCrav

    "No other company has such restrictions on the uses of their devices,"

    - Specifics please? I'm a heavy user of Apple products and I don't find it restrictive at all. Maybe you have some other specific experience you could share beyond that general statement?

  82. B 9

    @AC

    "no software, premium support prices and lock-in. no thanks. been there and sold it."

    Bull! Tons of software for the Mac, industry leading AppleCare support with your product purchase price (you have the OPTION to purchase more after your first year is up) and there is NO lock in. If you actually sold it then you are the world most ignorant salesman because you didn't know your own product. Personally I don't think you sold it at all because the rest of your post was so full of lies. I'm assuming you lied about the salesman part too.

  83. Eric Dennis
    Grenade

    Right. Sure....

    Yea. The entire PC world is shaking in her boots waiting to see a giant iPod Touch/ Apple Tablet that will cost $699 to $799. The rich people are salivating all over this. The rest of the world is thinking, who gives a darn. Ask yourself this- Why would anyone pay $699 to $799 for a crippled giant iPod when they can have a full PC, Laptop, or even Netbook that does MUCH MORE for MUCH LESS? I suppose the idol rich who simply loved fruit themed gear no matter what it is, will buy it. Microsoft couldn't sell the concept of the Tablet PC to anyone because no one saw the value in paying more for something that does less. Make a convertible netbook and they may have something. Simply growing a larger iPod Touch and calling it a "Tablet" or something else that sounds cool just isn't going to cut it.......

  84. Eric Dennis
    Jobs Horns

    How about more instead of less

    If Apple produced products that did more for the same money or less, that would be one thing, but Apple products tend to be hobbled (iPhone, iTouch) and cost more to do less. There will always be people who rationalize this and are willing to accept less and pay more. They are idiots with more money than sense. They can have their exclusive Apple iJunk. The rest of us are over it.

  85. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    People, people, people! Calm down?

    All it is is a new(ish) platform, formalised and finished off to Apple's standards (telcos and ISPs permitting of course).

    There will be plenty of room for wannabeez.

  86. magnetik

    @Eric Dennis

    People like you just don't get it. People buy Apple products for the user experience, not the feature list. If features were the most important thing about a product then we'd all be eating our dinner with Swiss army knives. I'd rather have something that does a few things well than something that does a lot of things badly.

  87. Farai
    Jobs Halo

    Wait a second ! ! !

    Is THIS the device that was meant to slot into a 20" + monitor via the side, and essentially be the pc you can carry around with you, bring to your desk, slot in, and work away?

  88. Eric Dennis
    Grenade

    @magnetik

    People like you can buy Apple kit for the "user experience". The rest of us are more interested in what we can DO with technology, not how "warm and fuzzy" the "user experience' makes us feel. I'm an information technologist. The "USER EXPERIENCE" for me is "WHAT CAN I DO WITH THIS", not "how cool does it look that I have an Apple product". If the so called "user experience" was important to the majority of consumers, Apple would have more than it's 10% market share. More businesses would be purchasing and using Apple gear. Apparently they aren't, because businesses seek value for the money they spend, not the "user experience". Have fun with your Apple "User experience". I'm having a great USER EXPERIENCE with UBUNTU. I can do everything in it that I can do in Windows, and I can do all of that FOR FREE. Can you? Don't think so.

  89. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    @Eric Daniels

    Actually, I did buy an Apple for the feature list. A supported UNIX with supported drivers, a full development system out-of-the-box [remove from box, install Developer Tools package from OS CD], nicely designed laptop hardware with decent screens & keyboards, and you get a pretty OS with a quick & convenient backup solution, great typography/color/printing, standard tools & formats support for e.g. mail, it sleeps as soon as I open the lid when I get to to the train, and it runs Photoshop.

    Oh and I can buy one at a shop after trying it out, locally.

    So who else is offering that?

  90. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
    Jobs Horns

    CLICK-CLICK-CLICK

    Apple always loved the one-button mouse, no matter how outdated it was. Even when OS X started to need a multi-button mouse, they stuck with one button and added a carpel tunnel shredding finger position sensor. Now is their chance to create the one button laptop.

  91. Ivan Headache

    @ Eric Dennis

    " More businesses would be purchasing and using Apple gear. Apparently they aren't, because businesses seek value for the money they spend, not the "user experience"."

    Apparently they are. I'm visiting more places with macs in them than ever before.

    I'm glad you're an information technologist - it sounds like a wonderful thing to be, I wish I could be one.

    But no I don't have the time for that, I'm getting on with my work on my mac without having to worry about it crashing. freezing or getting in the way of what I want to do. The sort of user experience I like.

  92. Big-nosed Pengie
    Paris Hilton

    I can't imagine...

    ...what these damn things will be used for. Anyone who's ever used a "smartphone" will know that finger/stylus input is probably the most useless concept that anyone's ever thought of. On a phone, there's little option - but imagining that anyone bar a few highly specialised industrial users would ever want a tablet device is dreaming or hallucinating. Sadly,a keyboard is still mandatory for any useful work.

    Paris, because I *can* imagine what she'd be used for.

  93. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    The wars!

    Mr Ubuntu and Mr information technologist, I bought a Mac after years of Windows crashes and failed Linux builds, I have happily compiled GNU software straight of the source sites using the freely supplied developer kits. Hell, DarwinPorts even allows me to install a package manager like apt-get and simply drag down and compile in one motion.

    I want it all, with a Mac I get that. Some days I want slick and fuzzy apps with a classy feel, other days I will sit with several terminal windows open banging away at my C++ driver code. Sure I pay a premium for the privilege of having it all, but it's my money and where I wish to waste it is my choice. I don't smoke or drink ( I am married with kids, I am not allowed a life! ), my family are tech-heads like me and we love messing about with interesting tech appliances. One genuine O/S crash in 9 months while hacking and outdated library, not bad going!

    Your choice, but you just don't what your missing until you sign your soul over to the devil-incarnate Mr Jobs!

  94. magnetik
    FAIL

    @Eric Daniels

    Ubuntu lets you do everything for free huh? I guess you don't value your time then. I've been running Linux desktops since FVWM was the window manager of choice. I started using Macs because I got sick of having to mess about with the machines to get them to work. My time is far too valuable to waste on such things. The fact that they look good is a bonus but not as important to me as having something that requires very little maintenance.

    Clearly you can't understand that user experience reaches far beyond looks and "warm and fuzzy feelings". So, you see, you still don't get it.

  95. Doc Spock
    Go

    Apple's Target Market

    Apologies if this has been brought up already, but I don't have the time nor incling to wade through roughly 100 comments.

    It has been suggested that Apple's tablet will fail because businesses won't buy it, and consumers won't buy it. The reasoning seems to hinge on the - possibly accurate - view that a physical keyboard is needed to make the thing useable as an everyday computer.

    Well, here's the thing. I don't believe the tablet is designed to replace people's existing computers, but rather to compliment them. Therefore, it only needs to do a sufficient subset of things well. All well and good you may say, but who's going to buy it? Consumers don't need a crippled laptop in their house (no Windows jokes please...), and businesses won't buy their staff two computers.

    Ah, but there's another market that Apple already does quite well in: Education.

    How many students out there do you think have Apple laptops? How many get frustrated at having to carry around their new computer and all their textbooks/notepads at college/university every day. An Apple tablet seems like the perfect solution. It is lighter and can function as a note-taking device (via a stylus, since we're all taught to use a pen when writing as opposed to our index finger).

    This last point is *very* important in my view. The tablet must be able to act as a digital notepad. Think of the benefits to students: all their notes can be backed up (God help those who forget this!) and also can be searched. At revision time, imagine being able to locate that obscure note you scribbled down about Winston Churchill's mindset (for example) without having to scour every last crumpled piece of tatty paper that you can find in your filthy little flat.

    Plus, what student wouldn't buy a device with the following features:

    less than 1kg (2lbs in 'merkan); 10" touch screen; wireless; Web browser; mail client; music player; video player; photo viewer; iPhone-style games; handwriting recognition (including math stuff); editing/viewing/annotating support for PDFs, spreadsheets, presentations, etc; auto-syncing with regular Macs/PCs.

    Only one thing though, and this is aimed at Apple itself: please don't make the syncronisation require iTunes....

  96. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @albaleo

    you've got some insider knowledge there, you're just missing one detail which will be revealed at launch.

    the truth is closer than you lot think.

    ARSbackroom

  97. whiteafrican

    @Doc Spock

    Doc Spock, agree with the requirements you list in your post (as above, I would add Photoshop and Dreamweaver as well). But how (practically) would Apple do this at anything like a practical cost?

    If they want compatibility with all those functions, and want it to be tailored to use as a tablet, then they are going to have to blow massive amounts of money on developing a whole new OS for the thing (and then they'll have no compatible apps to run on the thing - in any case, standard iPhone apps either won't run on it, or will look terribly pixelated on a 10 inch screen).

    On the other hand, if they put a full version of OSX on there, then they are going to struggle for the same reason the various MS OEMs have struggled with tablets - the market for tablets is too small to profitably compete with the laptop/netbook market. Seems like a lose/lose.

    As for your point about students, I am right there with you. I took all my notes on an HP tc1100 tablet using handwriting recognition. But then, since you can get one of those on ebay for around £300, and since the Apple tablet will cost a lot more than that, you have the price problem again...

  98. uhuznaa

    Is anyone bothering to look at the real world?

    I mean, really. How many people apart from office-workers, professional writers and programmers can touch-type to any usable degree? How many of all those people having read this article bothered to write a comment? (I've read not long ago that about 7% of all internet users are "active" users actually doing things instead of just consuming). How much do "normal" people actually *write* on their netbooks? At least 90% of computer time is *consuming* stuff or doing things which involve moving a tiny arrow around on a screen and clicking the mouse. A touchscreen in a tablet is not only totally fine here, it's even vastly better. And getting rid of the lid and the nasty form-factor of the classic opened laptop will be a relief for most people, even if they don't know it yet.

    One gets the impression that Apple is the only one actually bothering with looking at the statistics while others just don't care and do as they always did, even if it has long ago stopped to make any sense. How else could even the latest and most modern netbooks still come with the inmortal SysRq key? There was a time when computer users where office clerks or scientists or programmers. These times are long over now, but the manufacturers just haven't noticed. Or if they have noticed they think offering a model with a pink lid is all that's needed. It isn't.

    Do you know about the indian monkey trap? You hollow out a coconut, cut a small hole into it, put some food into it and fasten the device to a tree. The monkey will wriggle in its hand, grab the food -- and can't get its hand out anymore. The more it panics, the less it sees the obvious thing to do. The PC-manufacturers are like this monkey. They always need someone to show them the obvious thing to do. If Apple comes with a tablet, six months later netbooks with a keyboard won't be the rule anymore, they will be the exception.

    I'm not a fanboi and Apple surely is not a company of holy men. But they seem to have the expertise and confidence to sit back and stare hard and long at a problem and try to come up with well done products even if they take years to develop. This is so rare nowadays that you just have to admire them a bit. Everyone else just looks at what the others do and tries to do more of the same as quick as possible.

  99. uhuznaa

    @whiteafrican

    I do not know which OS will run on that tablet, if that tablet will come. But Apple has always warned developers to *not* rely on the iPhone screen resolution and in fact the SDK is quite agnostic in this regard. There's no reason to assume that iPhone apps will look "pixelated". Many will have to be adapted to make use of more pixels, but basically they should just offer more room for documents and lists and so on with less room occupied by UI elements. They won't be the same apps, but it should be rather easy to port existing iPhone apps to a larger screen with more pixels if the OS and SDK is basically the same.

    Good old OS X isn't really suited for a touch screen. There's too much going on, UI elements are too small to be used with fingers and it is quite deeply married to keyboard shortcuts and a mouse. I would rather expect an OS very like the iPhone OS, with many things borrowed from Snow Leopard and adapted to a touchscreen. I wouldn't even be surprised if the whole Snow Leopard thing is part of a larger and long-term plan involving portable touchscreen devices. And while I don't know if MS has such a thing as a long-term plan, I'm pretty bloody sure that Apple has one.

    I'm convinced since years that the future of personal computing will be in pads or tablets with a touchscreen and that in not too many years the physical keyboard will be something that only clerks and writers and programmers will use. Apple seems to look at this in very much the same way. We will see. If the tablet indeed will come next month, Apple will have a clean headstart here and all the others will eat the dust...

  100. Ivan Headache

    Just a thought

    Has anyone noticed that (at the moment) there is only 1 'consumer' Mac laptop (as opposed to the 'Pro' models?

    This is a highly unusual state of affairs for Apple. What's the betting that the new whatever it is will come in 2 consumer versions (at the same end of the price scale) in order to restore the usual 3 consumer 3 pro line-up?

  101. whiteafrican

    @uhuznaa

    Point taken on the pixelation issue - I haven't really played with the iPhone SDK.

    However, your comment "If the tablet indeed will come next month, Apple will have a clean headstart here and all the others will eat the dust..." is just plain wrong. Apple will be at least 5 years behind the various Windows OEMs in developing tablets, of which there are loads of convertible tablets and some "slate" (i.e. no keyboard) models on the market.

    Take a look at these, for example:

    http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2009/06/12/archos_9/

    http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2009/06/12/asus_t91_launch/

    http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2009/04/15/review_laptop_toshiba_portege_m750/

    Apple isn't even out of the gate yet and competition is already doing business. And these aren't cut-down OSs - they run full versions of desktop software. That means full support for Photoshop, Dreamweaver, etc. And, given Apple's pricing strategy, it's a fair bet they'll be cheaper than the Apple tablet. Are you seriously suggesting anyone will by an Apple tablet that is more expensive and is running an OS that is essentially designed for a phone, rather than a tablet that runs a full OS, with full software compatibility, that costs less?

  102. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    scary

    there are some comments on here that are very close to the truth.

    you will see, 15th sept 2009.

  103. Doc Spock
    Happy

    @whiteafrican

    Getting the price right will definitely be the hard part, but it isn't going to be cheap - this is Apple we're talking about after all. Of course, it could still be good value for money.

    As uhuznaa alluded to, many of the drawing primitives in the iPhone API are vector-based, and therefore will scale easily to larger screens. However, issues would still arise with custom UI elements that are bit-map based, as well as any layout code that may not take account of potentially larger screens.

    But you seemed to have missed my main point (whereas uhuznaa gets it). I don't think the tablet will be intended to replace laptops or desktops, and therefore running Photoshop, etc won't be something that people will do on it. The closest analogy I can think of is a scaled up iPod Touch. Which is why I think it *needs* extra functionality, and I see the note-taking/handwriting recognition/document editing/sketching stuff as that extra functionality. This wouldn't requrie a huge leap OS-wise from what is currently running on the iPod Touch and iPhone.

  104. whiteafrican

    @Doc Spock

    Yeah, I got that. I guess what I was asking was *why* would anyone pick a scaled-up ipod touch over a fully functional tablet?

    For a device in the same size-category, at a similar price, consumers would be facing a choice between one that has full functionality, or one that doesn't. I just don't see the selling point. Especially for students, who mostly can't afford two computers. If you can only afford one and you want a computer that can do everything a computer should do, as well as handwriting recognition, then why, oh why, would you buy anything less than a fully functional tablet?

    As for the vector graphics point, the buttons on the iphone are already big enough for finger usage. If they just scale everything up on a 10in screen, it's going to look kinda silly.

  105. uhuznaa

    @whiteafrican

    There is no need to scale things up for more resolution. You can just get more room on the screen with more pixels, with same (or slightly larger) sized controls and more room for content. Vector based graphics have nothing to do with that.

    And I think you're totally mistaken if you think that people really want "full functionality tablets". Most people hate the complexity of regular computers, Operating Systems and applications. The want to get things done and have fun, with the technology and software not getting in the way. They certainly don't want to get the "full PC experience" in a mobile device. Even the thought of "getting the full PC experience" while sitting on a train and viewing a movie or reading a book makes most people shudder with disgust.

    I know that many experts and not-so experts will never understand it, but exactly this is the problem. Most people don't like PCs and notebooks, they just use them because they have no choice. Give them something more simple and elegant to do their things and they will happily embrace it. Make it fun and sleek looking and a joy to use and they will love it. Give them an easy to use app-store instead of multi-page installation wizards and registration numbers and they even may start to buy software and games for it.

  106. Robert E A Harvey
    Linux

    My fear

    I fear that this thing will only allow you to get apps from the on-line gaol that the iphone uses.

    If Apple have the cojones to make it truly 'open',. I'll buy it. And probably buy some of the apps from their store too.

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