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Asus Insider Claims Apple Tablet Is Real 358

Posted by Zonk
from the pleasant-fantasy dept.
CaptainCrunchyApple writes "According to cnet.co.uk the oft-rumoured Apple Tablet PC is actually very real, and on its way soon. CNET claims to have spoken to an anonymous tipster at Asus who claims to be working with Apple to produce the tablet. 'We're guessing it'll be based on Intel Core architecture, a tweaked version of Leopard, and have all the multi-touch, CoverFlow goodness we've seen in the iPhone and iPod touch. All this begs the question: Can Apple turn the Tablet PC into a success when previous attempts have failed? The short answer is 'yes'. Any company that can make a mobile phone with no buttons, no picture messaging, slow Web access and no video capture into the most desirable phone on the planet can easily make tablets popular.'"
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Asus Insider Claims Apple Tablet Is Real

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  • Nifty. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @10:25AM (#21253923)
    Tablet PC's have been cornered by Windows for a while now, it'll be nice to see some competition in the market.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by somersault (912633)
      Shame that they've been pretty useless for everyone but graphic artists so far eh? The summary is a little overoptimistic about Apple's ability to sell something - lack of picture messaging is hardly a problem when you have email, and nobody uses picture email anyway. The only real missing tech on the iPhone was a lack of 3G (and of course a sliding keyboard :P I find that a lot better than taking up space on-screen). Anyway, it's all well and good making cool gadgets, but unless they actually have a purpos
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ByOhTek (1181381)
        Actually, until they became hard to get in the >= 14" market, tablets were great for the nearsighted (the swivel screen, add an external keyboard/mouse, and it is perfect for that crowd).

        But, that isn't a crowd much larger than the graphic artists...
        • Re:Nifty. (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Reaperducer (871695) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @02:08PM (#21256795)
          I know a few people who make their living simply trading stocks. They don't consider themselves "stock traders" by profession, just people who invest well enough that they move to a different city every couple of months so they can see the world.

          Anyway, I occasionally run into them at Starbucks, because where there's wifi, there's an office. The interesting thing about this group of guys is that they all use tablet PCs (IBMs I think -- they're black and don't look cheap like a Dell) to track their finances (which they constantly do).

          I don't know if there's something about tablet PCs that is useful to the financial+mobile set, but until it was mentioned above, I never considered tablets would be useful to artists and designers.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by masdog (794316)
        One of the plants at the company I work for makes very good use of Tablet PCs amongst the production floor supervisors.
      • by dave420 (699308)
        I'm not trolling, I swear. It was (is?) lacking a native SDK, GPS, the ability to be unlocked. It most definitely is not lacking a price :)
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by djh101010 (656795) *

          I'm not trolling, I swear. It was (is?) lacking a native SDK, GPS, the ability to be unlocked. It most definitely is not lacking a price :)

          Maybe you're not trolling, but you're pretty much completely wrong. There has been a third party SDK out for months, and ditto for unlocking them. Go to eBay and enter "unlocked iPhone" if you need confirmation on that. I've got 4 screens of icons on mine, so I'm thinking the third party apps either exist, or I'm hallucinating. GPS, yeah, not the satellite type, but there's one which triangulates where you are from cellphone towers and WIFI hotspots around you (kind of how LORAN works) and is pretty mu

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by dave420 (699308)
            I should have been more specific. I'm talking about officially-supported unlocking, and an officially-supported SDK. So you can keep your phone under warranty and not have to wait for hacks to use your own SIM or applications. You're not hallucinating, you simply don't make the distinction between official and unofficial.

            As for GPS, cell triangulation is NOT GPS. Considering there are phones out there with actual bona fide GPS in them, having to use a rough technology like cell triangulation seems a bit
            • Re:Nifty. (Score:5, Insightful)

              by djh101010 (656795) * on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @02:33PM (#21257147) Homepage Journal

              I should have been more specific. I'm talking about officially-supported unlocking, and an officially-supported SDK. So you can keep your phone under warranty and not have to wait for hacks to use your own SIM or applications.
              The contractual reasons for not having officially-supported unlocking are well known. And I have to mention that my Treo 600 was locked to Verizon, I couldn't use it with any other service provider. Oh, and there was no SIM card that I could access, and the battery also wasn't user-replacable, just for the record. The officially supported SDK comes out in January or so, if you don't want to use the third party one that's been out for months already.

              You're not hallucinating, you simply don't make the distinction between official and unofficial.
              You're right, it doesn't matter to me whose sdk is used to write third-party apps for my iPhone. Why should it?


              As for GPS, cell triangulation is NOT GPS. Considering there are phones out there with actual bona fide GPS in them, having to use a rough technology like cell triangulation seems a bit cheap.
              Fair enough - works more than well enough for me where I live, maybe I'm supposed to be bothered that it's coming from cellphone tower locations instead of time shifts measured from geosynchronous orbit but, functions the same from my perspective. And even if it didn't exist, that lack of one minor feature is more than made up for by the usability of the rest of the iPhone.

              I'm not disliking it out of ignorance. Not having an official SDK or an official unlocking method, which can leave your phone inoperable with the latest firmware, is a show-stopper.
              Ah, so you _are_ intentionally distorting facts. Because this latest is quite a backpedal from your initial points that it couldn't be unlocked and had no SDK.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Shame that they've been pretty useless for everyone but graphic artists so far eh?
        Far from it. Some people in the university here (I am in Pisa, Italy) teach their lectures using a tablet pc (connected to a beamer) as a blackboard. You teach your lecture sitting down at your desk and looking at the students' faces, then you publish a screencast online for the ones that couldn't come to the lesson. Very useful indeed, for both students and lecturers.
        • Okay, so I was exaggerating slightly, but in real terms, for the average consumer, a tablet isn't a very useful device for anything but tasks with very limited inputs like web browsing, reading, listening to music/watching movies, or freehand input like drawing. So while it would be fine as a personal media player/toy, it's not really a laptop replacement without a usable keyboard (which you can of course plug in with USB, but I think it could be better to have a nice sliding keyboard like you get on smartp
    • I've been waiting for this, esp. since the iPhone came out and I thought 'if they just made this a little BIGGER...' I would literally hang the thing off my neck and swivel it up to use it. And heck, I could get one of those "power from clothing" fabrics and make a suit out of it. Different colors for different wattages. And headphones, so I can hear my music while I work, but mute to hear outside sounds better. Oh, and I could put a wi-fi antenna for better reception when I'm in the server room... oh, wait
  • now that the news has broken, Steve will have to punish us for spoiling his surprise.
    • Mac user? Who cares? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @10:29AM (#21253975)
      Last Monday, Macworld ran a blog item on the diminishing allure of the Mac to artists and graphic designers in the United States. The next day, the San Francisco Chronicle published a story, in the business section, explaining how Mac users in California are a lot more socially and creatively diverse -- read: more strait-laced and less avant-garde -- than you might believe. This month's Computerworld will contain a report by ersatz demographer Mike Elgan that explicitly poses the question: Is Apple the new Microsoft?

      Elgan's research on U.S. Census data drives home a point that the Mac vanguard has been wrestling with for a while: The hedonistic, transgressive, radical ethos (and stereotype) that once characterized the Mac community doesn't represent reality anymore. The decline of urban coastal Mac user groups, the increase in the Mac-using population in the interior U.S. and the overall diversification of the Mac community are facts. What's more, Elgan argues, these trends are a function of the growing acceptance of Macs among the American public.

      Acceptance? Really? Has Elgan forgotten about the majority of offices that have policies in effect barring Mac use at work, or the Justice Department's recent decision to relax court-ordered restrictions on Microsoft's business practices in the face of continuing opposition from the White House?

      Not at all. There is, he says, a vocal, virulent -- and sometimes violent -- anti-Mac movement, but it doesn't negate years of opinion surveys that show a marked increase in tolerance in most Americans' attitudes toward Macs and Mac users. In 1998, for example, a Gallup poll found that only 33% of Americans thought that Macs could perform standard pencil-pushing tasks like running Microsoft Office. By 2007, that figure had risen to 59%.

      Growing acceptance means a decline in social stigma associated with using Macs, and a consequent shift in the politics of declaring oneself a Mac user. The more Mac users come out, the more accepting people are around them, and the more accepting the public becomes, the more people switch to Macs.

      Elgan's study shows that the number of self-described Mac users in the U.S. has quadrupled since 1998, and the biggest increases are in the country's more socially conservative areas.

      Utah is the poster state. Between 1990 and 2006, for example, it went from having the 38th-highest concentration of Mac users in the country to 14th highest. In that same time period, the percentage of Mac users who lived in large cities declined from 45% to 23%. Even more counterintuitive, from 2000 to 2006, the states with the fewest Apple stores had above-average increases in the number of Mac users. And places, like Utah, where a majority of people still believe Saddam Hussein had anything to do with 9/11 -- the reddest of red, the squarest of rectangle states -- saw even larger increases.

      Some of the growth in the number of Mac users in conservative areas could be because of migration. And yes, some on-the-barricades members of the Mac community have gotten older and mellower and moved out to the heartland. But the larger trend is simply that as more latent Mac users switch to Macs, they don't need to change or assimilate to fit into the mainstream because they are already very much a part of it.

      "The demographic characteristics of the Mac community are converging with those of the mainstream," Elgan says. If you're from a state like Utah or Nebraska, chances are you're going to share a lot with your neighbors whether you're a Mac user or a PC user: "They're rural," Elgan says, "they're religious, and they're Republican."

      So what does this all mean for American culture at large?

      "Society is beginning to say that being a Mac user is not such a big deal," Elgan says. "What that means for Mac users is that their platform choice won't have the centrality to their identity it once did. Being a Mac user then becomes one of a variety of an individual's competing identities."

      In other words, as the challen
    • by dave420 (699308) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @10:41AM (#21254157)
      True, true - Apple does like to punish those leaking future product details, especially when it's a company they work with. Yikes, Asus!
      • by cyfer2000 (548592)
        But if some one from Dell or HP claim he/she is from Asus and Apple is going to release a tablet...
        • by dave420 (699308)
          Then that will be discovered when the iGestapo conclude their iNvestigation. Which is not as funny as it sounds - most likely Apple will try to figure out if this is a legitimate leak, and if it is, where it came from. If it was a partner company that leaked it, their relationship will be put under a lot of strain, and they might possibly part ways.
      • I'd really like to not have to run the risk of ever getting another piece of ATI hardware in an Apple machine. ATI really pissed me with their six-month-late PCIE Linux drivers a few years back, and they continued to piss me off with Linux drivers that were apparently written by a large but still finite number of monkeys. Since I switched over to Apple I discovered something that the windows guys have known all along -- that ATI can't even do a supported system well. The daily crashes caused by an overheati
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MsGeek (162936)
        Asus is the OEM for the MacBook. Would Apple screw over their supplier for their most lucrative product over a leak? Stay tuned...this could get gnarly.
  • Really? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @10:27AM (#21253941)
    "Asus Claimes Apple Tablet Is Real"

    Can someone comfirme that, since I really doubte it?
  • Wow, who could believe ASUS can leak so much details on the design!
  • by iknownuttin (1099999) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @10:29AM (#21253971)
    All this begs the question: Can Apple turn the Tablet PC into a success when previous attempts have failed?

    The link they give goes to an article about the Newton. I don't mean to be pedantic, but comparing a PDA to a Tablet?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by heyguy (981995)
      Dude, the question begged to be asked. The editor just couldn't resist.

      Anyway, coming out with a multi-touch tablet would be huge. It should provide for a lot more utility than it does on the iphone, and (hopefully) be much cheaper than the $10k Microsoft Surface.
    • by dave420 (699308)
      Not to mention the Tablet PC is a success already, just not by Apple's hand.
    • I don't mean to be pedantic, but comparing a PDA to a Tablet?

      Thanks to the March Of Technology Progress, an Apple Tablet in 2007 may very well have a similar weight and form factor to an Apple PDA in 1994. Could be quite a fair comparison.
  • I've been looking for a 14" or larger tablet + DVI output. I don't care if Apple makes it, I've been wanting one for a while. I know they will have the later, if they have the former, they will have my purchase. I may prefer a desktop I build myself, but I can't build my own notebook (that is of a reasonable size), and there aren't many pre-builts better than Apple in terms of hardware.

    Of course, I may reinstall the OS (I have some issues with MacOS, I like the look and feel I can get out of KDE better), bu
    • by simpl3x (238301)
      I owned a Fujitsu several years ago, and would love nothing more than a decently sized tablet, particularly from Apple. As a designer, being able to have a portable, Cintiq like device would be fantastic. That said, I'm not holding my breath, especially for one with decent horsepower.

      A 14" tablet would be a bit large, unless the screen goes to the edge like the iPhone. Having considered installing Linux on the tablet, I am curious what functionality you expect to get? I haven't looked in a while, but has an
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ByOhTek (1181381)
        I've checked the FreeBSD mailing list (my preferred OS), as well as several Linux forums (including Ubuntu and Gentoo), and apparantly tablet support isn't bad, especially with X11R7.

        The functionality?
        (1) The MacOS setup is... Challanging for anyone who is highly nearsighted. The moving your head to go between the top menu bar and your window, rather than having the menu bar on the window is a pain. Or trying to move around to find which item is in focus and hence what the menu controls... I'd much rather h
    • I must respectfully disagree with your comment about "there aren't many pre-builts better than Apple in terms of hardware." I have had an Apple MacBook for just over a year now and while I love the OS (and upgraded to Leopard a few days ago--the improvements to file management, particularly Stacks and Quicklook are phenomenal), but their hardware (at least the low-end stuff) is some of the crappiest hardware I've ever owned. After just over a year, the plastic on my MacBook has cracked twice (once repaired
      • by ByOhTek (1181381)
        In my experience...

        Toshiba > Dell|Lenovo > Apple >> HP|Compaq|Gateway

        I've not had much experience outside of that. I also take tech support into consideration.
  • by caffiend666 (598633) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @10:31AM (#21254009) Homepage
    Does it have motion sensing like an iPhone? Could you reboot the thing by shaking it up and down like an etchasketch? How about drawing by moving the thing around? Now, just because somebody has one of these things in a lab somewhere doesn't mean it's a realistic product. Lots of strange things hiding in labs in this world.
    • by mini me (132455)

      Does it have motion sensing like an iPhone?

      Considering that the Macbooks already come with a motion sensor, the odds are pretty good.
  • by MikeRT (947531) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @10:33AM (#21254043) Homepage
    I got a Razr because it was cheap, and a good phone. A lot of phones are similar in quality. They cannot hold a candle to the iPhone when it comes to the software interface. I am not an Apple fan boy, and I would GLADLY give up my Razr right now if the iPhone were available to Verizon customers. Do you know clunky its software is, compared to Apple's? If you think the iPhone sucks because it has a few missing features, then that's fine, but you clearly haven't paid attention to how bad a lot of the alternatives are.
    • by elecngnr (843285)
      Hate to say ditto, but ditto! I am an Apple fanboy and do not make apologies for it. The iPhone came out after I had recently inked my deal with Alltel....or it certainly would have been on my radar. I have a Razr. It looks okay, works fine, but is slow and clunky at times. A colleague of mine has an iPhone and I have played around with it. If Alltel had the iPhone, I would have it.
    • They cannot hold a candle to the iPhone when it comes to the software interface. I am not an Apple fan boy, and I would GLADLY give up my Razr right now if the iPhone were available to Verizon customers. Do you know clunky its software is, compared to Apple's?

      I've always felt this was really Apple's strong suit... Not the trendy white plastic, or the nifty eye candy, or catchy commercials... The reason Apple's products are popular is because the interface is so well done. Features may be missing, it may

    • by dave420 (699308)
      Many people don't care about the interface, they care about what they can do with the phone. I'm not bashing it, it's just a device doesn't being and end with the interface. The name itself suggests it's the tip of the iceberg. Having a fantastic interface that has a limited back end is less useful than a poor interface with an extensive back end. That's what we've been saying about Windows for decades, isn't it?
  • OK, Microsoft's tablet PC failed because it was awkward, heavy and ugly. The whole swivel keyboard thing was just plain awkward the touch screen wasn't up to snuff.

    I'm sure Apple will have solved the touch screen, keyboard and attractiveness issues, but I just don't see how they'll get around the weight.

    No one wants to wear their wrists out holding up something to read it.
    • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @10:45AM (#21254203)

      I'm sure Apple will have solved the touch screen, keyboard and attractiveness issues, but I just don't see how they'll get around the weight.

      Apple will probably focus on this aspect unlike other manufacturers, as Apple has a tendency to work on form and function. Other manufacturers don't go the extra mile to do both. After all, the first iPod was considerably smaller than the Nomad.

    • by dave420 (699308) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @10:45AM (#21254205)
      It didn't fail in the slightest. The swivel keyboard is optional, and is a way to turn a notebook into a tablet. It's not forced on people. You don't buy a nice slimline tablet and Bill Gates turns up on your doorstep threatening your dog with a shotgun, screaming until you swap out your tablet for a notebook/tablet hybrid. Funnily enough, people want those machines, hence them being available to the public. Some folks like being able to draw using a pen on a tablet they hold, and also like using it as a notebook. Some just like the tablet-only computers that don't have a keyboard, which weigh considerably lighter, and run all office software you can shake a stick at. But please don't let facts get in the way - you were on a roll.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by UnanimousCoward (9841)
        I can't take your post seriously: When I first read it, I thought 'slimline' said 'slime lime' and I couldn't get that image out of my head. Sorry!
    • by Vancorps (746090) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @10:51AM (#21254277)

      I'm going to guess you haven't actually used a modern tablet-PC with OneNote2007. HP's offering in particular uses a magnetic stylus so you can put your hand on the screen and write very reliably during into OneNote or any other application that requires lots of writing. If you accidentally mark it you just turn the stylus over and use it as an eraser automatically just like with a pencil. OneNote makes it easy to convert all your notes to text. You can even do it after the fact. Combined with Penflicks you have yourself a powerful interface that is surprisingly intuitive. My experience with it resulted in 100% accuracy when converting my crappy handwriting. That was of course after a half hour of training it.

      Tablet-PCs aren't a failure by any means, specific implementations of them have, Microsoft sucks at producing hardware as I'm sure you already know. I doubt it's a surprise although I've never seen anything called a Microsoft Tablet-PC unless you're referring to the XP Tablet PC or Vista Tablet PC edition. Both are very high in quality with Vista being a rather large improvement in this regard.

      • by sayfawa (1099071)
        I agree, just because not everyone wants one doesn't mean they've failed. I sure as hell want one..

        I was playing with a friend's tablet recently and tested out the handwriting, which was amazing, even using XP. I intentionally wrote worse and worse and it continued to translate perfectly. With no training to my handwriting style. It wasn't until even I couldn't read what I wrote that it started to make mistakes.
    • by compro01 (777531) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @12:28PM (#21255497)
      i personally like the swivel bit. there're a lot of times when i need a keyboard or a write-on screen and that seems to be to be the most elegant method for it, rather than having to lug around an external keyboard, plus a way to prop up the tablet or use a OSK (which is too damn slow).

      though i agree that weight is an issue. perhaps solid-state drives and ultracaps replacing the battery would help for that.
  • by alta (1263) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @10:38AM (#21254107) Homepage Journal
    Unfortunatly, ASUS will now suffer the Wrath of Jobs. This won't be the first time Jobs nixed a product because some dumbass at the company making it spilled the beans. Someone refresh my memory, when was the last time this happened? Was it the ZFS debacle? I think it happened before that with some hardware once as well...

    Thanks to this anonymous poster, we'll never see the rumored Apple Tablet. Thanks
    • by p0tat03 (985078)

      Jobs isn't stupid, he won't can a product because someone talked. Just expect the inevitable Apple Tablet to come without Asus parts inside ;) I believe this is also why all newer Apple machines run NVidia graphics chips, something about an ATI exec being indiscreet with information about their partnership. Wham, Jobs pulls the contract from under them.

      • I believe this is also why all newer Apple machines run NVidia graphics chips
        The mini and macbook use intel graphics. The macbook pros use nvidia. The imacs (which I belive were the most recently updated range) all use ATI. The mac pro offers the choice of nvidia or ati. The xserve uses ATI.

        Seems like quite a mix to me.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by poopdeville (841677)
      ZFS wasn't excluded because of a leak. It was excluded because there were problems with the kernel extensions and it was holding up Leopard. This is why Leopard was delayed. ZFS is coming soon to an Mac near you.

      ATI got slapped by Jobs a few months ago: http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/17800/139/ [tgdaily.com]
    • Was it the ZFS debacle?

      Umm nope, that is just what people like you assumed based on rumors. If you actually look at the current ZFS support in Mac OS (read only), you would understand it wouldn't have been nearly ready for primetime on Leopard.

      And Apple has never NIXED a product due to some spilling beans. They have, however, given contracts to other companies.
    • Apple won't kill the product if it is relatively far along.

      But they will get it even cheaper than ASUS planned to sell it to them for.

      ASUS is in breach of confidentiality - the folks here at Slashdot seem to think that corporations play schoolyard games (ATI leak of Apple specs), but confidentiality is codified in contracts - if ASUS has cost Apple materially due to their employee's leak, Apple will probably reap some benefit in terms of product cost.

    • by Dekortage (697532)

      Unfortunatly, ASUS will now suffer the Wrath of Jobs. [sic]

      In other words, ASUS just lost their contract. Maybe not immediately, but certainly in the near future.

      Alternatively, this was planned by Apple. Everyone knows THEY won't leak anything, but maybe, just maybe, they need to leak this kind of announcement to shake up the industry a little. There is no timetable announced, so the rumors will be flying. By Christmas? Next summer? End of 2008? Or timed with the iPhone SDK, perhaps -- "Oh, and on

  • by jellomizer (103300) * on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @10:42AM (#21254165)
    Any company that can make a mobile phone with no buttons, no picture messaging, slow Web access and no video capture into the most desirable phone on the planet can easily make tablets popular.

    Gee that doesn't sound weighted.
    The No buttons is actually its selling point, not a disadvantage.
    Slow Web Access or less battery life? Ill choose Slow Web Access... Btw the reason for the WiFi support is to speed up web access, for most locations that people will be actually using the phone for web access... At Work, in Cafe, home... They would only use the Cell phone when they are on the road and normally they just need to do some rather low bandwidth things...
    Video Capture. I guess that would be a nice feature, but being that I almost never even use the camera on my current phone video seems less likely. Video can take a lot of space really fast. Plus using a cell phone you are often in places with bad lighting anyways.

    No the iPhone isn't perfect I looked at one at the apple store and I was mostly unimpressed with it. It felt slow and sluggish. It had a nice design I would wait for Gen 2 or 3 perhaps...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by dave420 (699308)
      Well, some people like tactile feedback, so it's not a selling point to them.

      The iPhone could have had a 3G radio in it, and be configured to only use it when the user specifies. If you want to get some data quickly, regardless of whether you (or anyone else) regularly wants to do it in your current location, you shouldn't be held up by someone else's idea of what you want. If I have an all-singing-all-dancing phone and I need to download a large email from the office, I should have the option of turning
  • by TomorrowPlusX (571956) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @10:43AM (#21254185)
    As much as I'm a "loyal" Apple user ( I came from linux, and I do love OS X ) I will say flat out that Microsoft's handwriting input is years ahead of Apple's. Microsoft has thoroughly integrated it, with very impressive recognition and overall it *feels* right, like MS really put a lot of love into it.

    As it stands today, "Ink", Apple's handwriting interface leaves a lot to be desired. In principle, it's nicely done. A good sort of floating scratch pad which you can write on, which will insert into the active doc. But, the quality of the handwriting recognition is pretty poor. God knows Apple has the resources to do this right. I'm sure there's a lot of left over experience from Newton ( if Jobs didn't fire all of those guys ), but as it stands, if Apple released a tablet with Ink it would be useless for anything but consuming media.

    Frankly, I don't want to consume media. I want to use a computer, and a tablet is a nice form factor. I know I'd never write code on a tablet, but I'd like to think I *could*. I used to sketch out prototype algorithms using graffiti on a palm ( which I'd later edit/compile/etc on my desktop ), it was a nice thing to be able to do. What I don't want is a real computer which is so hobbled by bad input that it's only good for music, internet and video.

    Seems to me Apple *could* do it... but who knows. Microsoft pulled it off, so, let's let competition bloom!
    • If the problem is handwriting recognition, then obviously the solution is not to rely on it.

      I'm sure the technology will be present, but I suspect, given their recent experience with multi-touch, that a full sized multitouch keyboard will be present instead. Instead of fighting the "better tablet" game, Apple should move onto the next arena: better handheld computer game, which they have already demonstrated a strong opening move with the iPhone.
    • by _|()|\| (159991)

      What I don't want is a real computer which is so hobbled by bad input that it's only good for music, internet and video.

      I think the type of device we're most likely to see come out of rumors like this is a bigger iPod touch. Although it may support some kind of handwriting recognition, I would expect an on-screen keyboard to be the primary mode of input. I've had mixed feelings about the redesign of Apple's wireless keyboard, but it would go very nicely with a tablet.

      I would be quite interested in a pro

    • I will say flat out that Microsoft's handwriting input is years ahead of Apple's. Microsoft has thoroughly integrated it, with very impressive recognition and overall it *feels* right, like MS really put a lot of love into it.

      We'll have to agree to disagree. I'm a Mac user, but I own a Compaq TC1000 with XP/SP2 which has been pulling travel duty with me for the past 3 years. After years of reading accolades from Scoble et al about the Tablet PC's handwriting recognition I've tried time and time again to use it as a primary input method. My assessment: it sucks. It works okay (but still not satisfactorily) if you write standard prose but I'm an engineer that uses a lot of industry-specific terms, and the auto-prediction inevit

      • by WillAdams (45638)
        Have you tried EverNote's RitePen?

        http://www.evernote.com/products/technology/ritepen/ [evernote.com]

        It's the best HWR I've found yet --- I use it constantly on my Fujitsu Stylistic (which I've _finally_ gotten booting off an Extreme III 2GB card using a CF-IDE adapter --- for some reason it wouldn't boot from the 4GB card, so it's in the second slot).

        William

      • You know, you're probably right. My experience with tablet PCs is mucking with my friend's -- no real time spent on it. Perhaps handwriting recognition is one of those things like voice recognition. Great in sci-fi, but no matter how good it gets, the keyboard still rules.

        I'm thinking one of those dynamic on screen thumbkey systems, like MS displayed a couple years ago. But with Apple's slick touch like with the iPhone's keyboard which learns and predicts. Who knows. All that matters to me is that if such a
  • According to cnet.co.uk the oft-rumoured Apple Tablet PC is actually very real, and on its way soon. CNET claims to have spoken to an anonymous tipster at Asus who claims to be working with Apple to produce the tablet.

    On the off chance that it IS true...

    I can't afford one running windows. Actually... I am yet to see one used IRL.
    Don't see how exactly will an Apple's overpriced version bring the tech to the masses.

    And... ummm.. Where exactly is the appeal in the TabletPC?
    I mean... hand-held PDA devices - OK. I can use it and hold it with one hand, and put it in my pocket.

    But a 14", or 15" or 17" big, clumsy, fragile thing I have to haul around and which I must always hold with one hand when I interact with it (no keyboar

    • by Nullav (1053766)
      But tablet PCs do have keyboards and all that good shit. The only difference between a 'tablet PC' and a 'notebook' is that the screen accepts input and it usually rotates to close backwards so that you can use it as the primary interface if you want to.
  • by Gleng (537516) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @10:50AM (#21254267)
    If this is true, and Asus have just completely blown Apple's surprise, then Asus are about to have a really, really bad day.

    Woe betide the man who steals Steve Jobs' thunder.

  • by YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @10:51AM (#21254273) Homepage
    Not in my corner of the world, nor in any of the other places I've been to recently, bar the US.
  • by cyberkahn (398201) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @10:51AM (#21254281) Homepage
    when you can have a Microsoft table [youtube.com]. :-)
  • by snowwrestler (896305) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @10:54AM (#21254319)

    Steve had not been forewarned about the tablet question, but it became obvious he had given the topic serious consideration. He listed a number of reasons why Apple was not interested. And they provide some of the best insights into why Apple does or does not do a product.

    The tablet situation

    First, he said, tablet computers were not a big enough market for Apple to spend its limited resources chasing. And even if the market grew, it would not reach a size to be of interest. The form factor was all wrong. Apple was more interested in defining markets than trying to catch other companies that were busy trying to create a market for questionable products. Still, some of the NIH scientists pressed the issue. Steve's follow-up answer was the most impressive I had heard him give.

    First, he said, the wireless bandwidth for huge images, plus the security needed to successfully do what NIH wanted, was just not on the horizon. (Apple staff had been notably fuzzy earlier in the briefing about wireless standards after 802.11b.) Plus, tablets' screen resolution was nowhere near that required for NIH's high-quality medical images. Finally, any product designed to work in the medical field would attract significant liability. The hint was that Apple wasn't interested in anything with that kind of potential liability. That pretty well shut down the issue.

    So, no tablet. But NIH at the time had more than 2,000 BlackBerry users. The NIH CIO wanted Apple to push RIM for better compatibility. Tough: Steve basically said it was another niche product, and that while there would be convergence of computing and phones, the BlackBerry was not that product. He did not see that compatibility as an area where Apple should spend any effort. So what will the converged product - what is being called the "iPhone" (even though that's a Cisco trademark) - look like? He said the really converged, ubiquitous devices would have to fit in your shirt pocket, and be better than either a phone or a computer by itself.
    From:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2007/jan/04/newmedia.media [guardian.co.uk]

    Since this article ran, Apple has demonstrated two technologies that might change that answer a bit. 802.11n networking approaches the speed needed to work with high-resolution images wirelessly. And Apple is now sourcing LCD screens with very high resolution--the iPod nano screen has about 200 pixels per inch, which is quite close to the resolution of printed photos.

    However I'll believe it when I see it. The big question with tablets has always been data entry, and thus they are closely linked with handwriting recognition in the marketplace. Handwriting recognition has been an almost total market failure, so tablets have been an almost total failure. Perhaps Apple will try a full-size onscreen keyboard. Or perhaps they will leverage the new super-thin iMac keyboard technology and do a pull-out or flip-down physical keyboard. Or perhaps most likely is a slight modification of the MacBook product to include MultiTouch...either a touchscreen display or (as hinted in patents) a second, MultiTouch screen replacing the touchpad.

    The big question is software. They just released a new OS that will need support. They are already committed to providing and supporting an SDK for the iPhone. And they are undoubtedly working quickly to update applications like the new iMovie, and produce new ones for the iPhone. Apple typically does not release new categories of product without new software to support/drive sales. I have no doubt people at Apple are experimenting with tablets. But I do not believe we will see one released anytime soon.
    • by sootman (158191) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @11:44AM (#21254947) Homepage Journal
      Yup. Having worked with several tablets--which I love as a gadget, and they're really great for a few purposes, like walking around doing inventory with a customized web-app--the single biggest problem is data entry. Basically it comes down to this: how do you enter data on a device that you're supposed to hold in your hands? And I'm not talking about writing the great American novel on one. Unless you're doing nothing but opening, closing, dragging, and dropping files, you can't use a computer in any meaningful fashion for very long without doing some kind of data entry. With tablets, Palms, and even the iPhone, once you get past a couple hundred characters, you realize how excruciatingly slow it is. Even poking out a URL, switching between letters, numbers, and punctuation, you can't help but think "if I were at a desk, I'd already have this page loaded."
      • Voice recognition mostly sucks, and even if it worked fine, I don't want to be talking out loud to my computer most of time--not in the office, not in public.
      • Voice recognition is also out for anything that must be character-perfect: web addresses, email addresses, even renaming a file--miss a period and you'll be renaming it again.
      • Pen-based input is OK, accuracy- and speed-wise, but still nowhere near what you can do with a keyboard.
      • A chord keyboard would be ideal--they can be faster than conventional keyboards--but you're not gonna see something that complicated on a mass-market consumer product from Apple.
      • An iPhone-like virtual keyboard is obviously an option, but unlike the two-thumb operation of an iPhone, you'd be limited to poking with one index finger while you hold the tablet with your hand.
      Which leads to the conclusion--as soon as you set the tablet down to use a conventional mouse and keyboard, it becomes equal to a regular laptop in all regards except it's slower, has a smaller screen, and is more expensive. Apple's last big flop was the Cube, which had the same specs (CPU, RAM, HD) as a PowerMac, was less expandable, and cost $200 more.

      What I really want Apple to make is what I would call the "MacBook Elite": 2 pounds, 10- or 11-inch screen, Core Duo, no HD or optical drive, 1 or 2 GB RAM, 16-32 GB solid-state storage, very thin, and 12-24 hours of battery life. (Yes, I know there are PCs that more or less match these specs, but I want OS X and the industrial design from Apple.) You could use it as a basic standalone computer or you could sync it up with your desktop just like an iPhone. Obviously it wouldn't be the center of your digital life (especially in terms of mass storage of media and media creation) but it would be so good at so many other things.
  • ASUS has always shipped primo hardware and now they have been hitting low price points, too. Could they become a major competitor against Apple, especially if some relatively straightforward hacks for putting oh-ess-ecks on their machines get published?
  • by 2ms (232331) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @11:19AM (#21254615)
    What are the reasons (according to the news item submitter) the iPhone would be a miserable failure if not for Apple's usual getting away with murder tricking the consumer into buying inferior products? The fact that it doesn't have buttons, picture messaging and video? Is that supposed to be a joke?

    The phone has way-faster-than-3G wi-fi instead of the difference in speed between Edge and 3G. As a bonus, it doesn't have practically half it's current battery life the way it would if were 3G. Fact: right now 3G phones universally have poor battery life.
    • by faedle (114018)
      Funny. My EVDO BlackBerry seems to have adequate battery life. 2-3 days between a charge with some usage seems fine.
    • by dave420 (699308)
      Fact: 3G phones can have their 3G radio turned off to preserve battery life, resorting to GPRS/EDGE if needed.
      Fact: WiFi is not as widespread as 3G. Try finding a wireless signal when you're in a car driving down the freeway.
      Fact: There are more-technically-advanced phones available from other companies, with decent battery life

      iPhone users pay for a decent data package, but then are told to pay for WiFi to get really fast speeds? Even when there are no WiFi hotspots around? How does that make sense?
  • Call me crazy (or skeptical - take your pick), but it sounds to me more like someone is doing a pump and dump than this story having a hint of legitimacy.
  • Sigh (Score:2, Informative)

    by edittard (805475)

    All this begs the question
    No it doesn't [wikipedia.org].
  • by pancakegeels (673199) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @12:31PM (#21255547)
    I always thought the AppleDisplayScaleFactor setting was pretty interesting. It, combined with the vector-based interface of Leotard could work really well with multi-touch. Essentially they have the framework in place to scale any application - in the same way you can scale photos on the touch. I really think a sufficiently powerful tablet could genuinely change how we interact with our computers. I just don't think I am ready to write up a dissertation on such a thing... but that's not the point if it, is it?

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