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Apple Tablet Rumors Again (Still?)

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 21, 2009 @11:01AM (#28039983)

    Sounds like the apple wheel

  • by tsa (15680) on Thursday May 21, 2009 @11:01AM (#28039989) Homepage

    Rumours are not news. They belong on Digg. Please please /., try to keep the quality of the post high and avoid speculation like this. It makes the site so much more worth reading.

    • by causality (777677) on Thursday May 21, 2009 @11:23AM (#28040301)

      Rumours are not news. They belong on Digg. Please please /., try to keep the quality of the post high and avoid speculation like this. It makes the site so much more worth reading.

      It was clearly labelled as a rumor: "Apple Tablet Rumors Again (Still?)". If it weren't, I'd have a much easier time seeing your point.

      Sure, you could say that the holy absolute purity of the rest of Slashdot is forever tainted by the stain of the word "rumor" in this story but, eh, have you SEEN the rest of Slashdot? I think it'll be alright.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by alfredo (18243)

        One reason to post a story is to generate conversation. It doesn't have to be some mind twisting geeks only story, it can be fluff, it can be rumor or humor.

        From what I heard, Sir Isaac Newton liked a good fart joke every now and then.

      • by pwnies (1034518) *

        ...have you SEEN the rest of Slashdot?

        I don't know what you're talking about. The new idle section is the pinacle of newsworthy news!</sarcasm>

    • by ChunderDownunder (709234) on Thursday May 21, 2009 @11:25AM (#28040321)
      Agreed, calling this a rumour is even stretching it a bit. Paraphrasing the article:

      Apple bought a chip manufacturer. The iPhone is too small to surf the web and needs a real keyboard. All the cool kids have portables with 10" screens. Wouldn't it be cool if my Macbook had the iPhone's multi-touch input? My Apple shares are idling due to the global financial crisis; I better start some badass rumour to spur on the fanboys. It's Apple, they haven't introduced some magical product for a while now.
    • by LSU_ADT_Geek (580524) on Thursday May 21, 2009 @11:29AM (#28040375)
      Please begin metamoderating news submissions in firehose if you don't find the quality of submissions to your liking, but it did bubble its way up because someone else thought it wasn't a bad idea to talk about.
    • Rumours are not news. They belong on Digg. Please please /., try to keep the quality of the post high and avoid speculation like this. It makes the site so much more worth reading.

      The diversity is what makes Slashdot worth reading. Frankly, that's all Slashdot's got.

    • Just don't click on something you don't want to see, don't click on it, don't respond to it, stick your fingers in your ears and go 'La La La' if it helps you. Geez
  • I can digg it. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BlueKitties (1541613) <bluekitties616@gmail.com> on Thursday May 21, 2009 @11:02AM (#28039991)
    I could definitely see something like this heading our way; While I'm not a Mac fan myself, they do seem keen on making "nifty" products (e.g. the iPhone, iMusicPlayers, etc.) If they do make something like this, it will probably have unique features (maybe a camera that lets you interact via hand motions, facial expressions?) Still, this seems fairly realistic.
  • by rindeee (530084) on Thursday May 21, 2009 @11:03AM (#28040015)
    If they integrated all of the cool functionality (multi-touch screen, etc.) from the iPhone as well as the full OS X base (iChat w/video, real app support, etc.); I'd be all over it. I don't want an iPhone for this kind of stuff, nor do I want to carry around my MacBook (as I do now out of necessity). A tablet would be the perfect compromise for my needs.
    • by TinBromide (921574) on Thursday May 21, 2009 @11:13AM (#28040139)
      Sell it to verizon to be subsidized some what like their HP netbook [verizonwireless.com], give it unlimited wifi, and apple may have killed its iphone. Granted you can't stick an itablet, inote, isheet? into your pocket, but it takes what a lot of people view to be the compelling reasons to buy an iphone (always on internet, nifty apps, nifty user interface). I'm sure someone would hack skype or some other voip solution to work for it, then you could make free calls from anywhere, and it wouldn't quite be as redundant as making voip calls from your iphone.
      • Have other people got some crazy whacky super-awesome cellular technology that I'm not aware of? I currently have HSDPA on "3" in the UK, and VOIP calls point blank do not work. I don't know any cellular technology that can sustain a VOIP conversation, or even come close.

      • So why didn't the iPod Touch kill the iPhone?

        • no cellular internet access, no gps, no microphone, and for a similar price, you get a very similar thing where the difference is the phone. Add the fact that Steve Jobs has called the iPod Touch "training wheels for the iPhone" [wordpress.com] and you have a device that apple has positioned as a second fiddle. Apple devices are rarely sold to the fashion conscious masses based on what they ARE, but instead based on what they're told the devices are. If apple says "this will kill the iphone," then it will kill the iphone.
          • by centuren (106470)

            If apple says "this will kill the iphone," then it will kill the iphone. If apple says "You should buy this before you graduate you our big boy toy," people will skip the training wheels.

            Then why didn't the iPhone kill the iPod Touch? It's amazingly obvious: the touch lets someone have a cool gadget when they can't afford the iPhone voice/data plan pricing. One device is an iPod, one is a phone, and there's still separate markets for each of them to be highly desirable.

      • by alfredo (18243)

        Offer a deal with newspapers so they can put content on the tablet in trade for a two year subscription. You know, similar to the iPhone/AT&T deal.

      • If you're really interested in having always on internet or making free voip calls from anywhere, just keep in mind that Verizon keeps its cell phone "Unlimited data plan" limited to 5 GB per month.
  • Like I said before (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tibor the Hun (143056) on Thursday May 21, 2009 @11:06AM (#28040057)

    Like I said before, it will be sweet, groundbreaking, worth every penny and several hundred dollars more than a conventional netbook.
    So it will not be a netbook competitor at all.

  • Newton 2 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Onyma (1018104) on Thursday May 21, 2009 @11:07AM (#28040071)
    I knew I kept my Newton for a reason... now I can be snotty and say "Oh yeah, I had one first" when it becomes popular. Now where did I put it...

    Seriously as said above I can't see it selling that cheaply but I really did love the Newton despite its quirks. I still believe it died because it was just a little too far ahead of its time. Palm drove the last nail in its coffin with a smaller, lighter, more practical device. I would be interested to see what Apple could come up with for a tablet now with their focus on touch egonomics and a decade+ of hardware advancement.
  • 3rd party conversion (Score:5, Informative)

    by OzPeter (195038) on Thursday May 21, 2009 @11:09AM (#28040093)
    There is already a company that does conversions of Macbooks to a tablet format, so the idea is not unprecedented and there must be a market for it.

    Axiotron Modbook [axiotron.com]

    Note that I am not connected with Axiotron nor do I own a Macbook

    • by dwater (72834)

      Hrm. I might go for this if it weren't running OS X (or rather Aqua). Can it run Linux?

      • by fm6 (162816) on Thursday May 21, 2009 @12:07PM (#28040915) Homepage Journal

        If there's an active platform that can't run Linux, it must be very arcane. And Macs are hardly arcane. Nowadays the hardware is not that different from a PC.

        I have a Motion tablet that runs Vista. That OS is every bit as bad as its reputation, but I put up with it because it's the only tablet OS with decent handwriting recognition. If I could similar software for Linux, I'd switch tomorrow.

        And yes, I know about PenReader. Despite its claims, it does not handle handwriting. You have to draw out the letters one at a time. Easier to use an on-screen keyboard.

  • Mounting evidence (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Thursday May 21, 2009 @11:09AM (#28040099)

    That evidence being, apparently, the increasing number of analysts who all parrot "Apple may be making a netbook"?

    Don't get me wrong - I'd love to see what Apple might come up with - but there are plenty of Mac rumor sites already available.

    • Apple has a very carefully scripted response when asked about making netbooks. They say, "right now there doesn't seem to be much of a market for it, but we have some good ideas if it starts becoming popular." This is the response they gave on their last two conference calls with investors. It was clearly scripted.

      Not only that, on the most recent conference call, when asked, Time Cook responded in way that seemed like he was thinking, "Oh no! Wait, how do I respond to this??" The same way a kid does
    • by chord.wav (599850)

      Zen speaking: If you rumor it, they will build it.
      As rummors pile up, odds of it becoming a reality increase.

  • by pla (258480) on Thursday May 21, 2009 @11:11AM (#28040107) Journal
    Apple next year will introduce its own take on the market in the form of a tablet-based device that will sell for $700 or less.

    Put simple - Tablets suck except for a very few niche uses... And even for those few uses, netbooks do the job cheaper and more conveniently.

    So put simply, I'll consider this a completely bogus rumor, since Apple has better sense than to revive a dying-for-a-good-reason technology. They may have a few failures in trying to predict the next cool toy, but haven't made the mistake of recreating retro hardware since the Lisa.

    Now, I mentioned netbooks above - It wouldn't surprise me at all to see Apple try to jump into that market (though they will no doubt ignore the "sub $500" as a defining characteristic of that class of device). Perhaps (though by no means certain) even with a flippable screen, giving users the option of using it in notebook-style or tablet-style mode. But an outright straight-up tablet, not going to happen.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      ... since Apple has better sense than to revive a dying-for-a-good-reason technology. They may have a few failures in trying to predict the next cool toy, but haven't made the mistake of recreating retro hardware since the Lisa.

      Perhaps, like the iPod, they're going to actually create the next big technology? Or, being positioned where they are in the industry, they may have figured out how to do it right and create a tablet/hybrid which actually catches on ... (yes, entirely speculative, but hey, so is the original article, eh?)

      • by Spatial (1235392)
        Um, Apple didn't create HDD MP3 players.
        • by KylePflug (898555) on Thursday May 21, 2009 @02:17PM (#28043133) Homepage

          No, but it pretty much made them saleable. If you remember back to the dawn of the MP3 era, everyone either had a small (like 128 or 256mb, tops) flash-based mp3 player, maybe with a few memory cards (I went threw several Rios before my first iPod). Almost nobody actually bought HDD MP3 players.

          Apple pulled off the look, synchronization, and most importantly the interface - I'm entirely convinced that the clickwheel is what killed the competition, just like the multi-touch is what is saving the iPhone.

          If they can do this with a tablet - combining active digitizers and capacitive input to get natural input and good handwriting recognition - and combine it with a slim bluetooth keyboard, they have a real shot at making an integrated device that goes for the Kindle/iTouch/netbook markets all at once. I'm of the opinion that it should not run OSX as we know it - I don't think the form factor is right. Give it the backbone of OSX and the ability to run those apps, but it needs a new front-end to replace Finder. The reason Tablets haven't worked before (I've owned three) is because they are pen-input devices built around a mouse/keyboard input operating system. Apple gets interfaces; I don't see them making that mistake.

          • by Mr_Silver (213637)

            No, but it pretty much made them saleable. If you remember back to the dawn of the MP3 era, everyone either had a small (like 128 or 256mb, tops) flash-based mp3 player, maybe with a few memory cards (I went threw several Rios before my first iPod). Almost nobody actually bought HDD MP3 players.

            Not really surprising when you think that the iPod [ministryoftech.com] was up against something like this Archos [sudhian.com]. It was a long time ago but I remember the Archos UI being really poor and you had to manually copy all your music across.

            I

    • by alen (225700) on Thursday May 21, 2009 @11:22AM (#28040287)

      laptops are becoming the next desktop. tablets and netbooks are nice to carry around with you.

      carrying a laptop around is like going out with a baby. you need to take a bag of junk with you. a netbook or a tablet with nice battery life you just throw in your bag that you take with you anyway. and for the millions of people that commute on public transit it will be a nice way to pass the time. bigger screen to read books, better hardware for games, and you may be able to do some work and sync your docs.

      what a tablet or netbook needs to do is not have a boot up time. my wife's iphone is always on. if i want 10 minutes of net time i don't want to waste 5 minutes of it waiting for a netbook to boot up

      • I'm currently looking for the acer timeline series, each supposed to come with a 8h battery life.

        However acer don't do tables. I'd really like a non-convertible tablet with a decent battery, and better on screen keyboard (one that will resize the window around it, not one that superimpose itself).
      • by Spatial (1235392)
        Use hibernation. It only takes a few seconds to boot that way.
        • by alen (225700)

          it's still flaky even on windows 7 and there is no reason to have an OS like Windows or a distro like Ubuntu on netbooks.

          you need something like iphone OS, android or another micro linux kernel for the always on ability. these things don't need the ability to run every app. apple will do it right where it's going to be an ipod/iphone on steroids but it will be too expensive

          • by Spatial (1235392)
            I haven't got any problems with it using XP on my NC10. W7 is still in RC status, so I suppose problems are to be expected there.

            I'd prefer to keep the full fledged OS, netbooks are suprisingly capable and I like the flexibility Ubuntu or Windows can offer.
          • by Knara (9377)

            XP had horrid hibernation, but after SP1 Vista hibernates just fine for me.

            Windows 7 isn't even released yet. Something not working on unreleased software doesn't bother me.

        • by pavon (30274)

          Every laptop I have owned has taken just as long, if not longer, to come out of hibernation than to boot (suspend is a little faster). And for some reason it takes longer for networking to start working after coming out of hibernation compared to booting from scratch. And about a quarter of the time I come out of hibernation Client Side Caching ("Make files available offline") gets into this funky state causing any file access (offline or not) to take forever, requiring me to reboot anyway.

          I use hibernation

          • by Spatial (1235392)
            I've never had any of those problems...

            I just timed my NC10 coming out of hibernation, it took nine seconds to reach the desktop from the moment I hit the power button. Much faster than booting normally. It has 2GB of RAM installed, it has a 5400RPM HDD and it's been on for days, so I'm not cheating or anything.
    • by Endo13 (1000782)

      That is certainly all true of previous tablets, but the simple addition multi-touch really can change all that.

    • by Neil Jansen (955182) on Thursday May 21, 2009 @11:30AM (#28040393) Homepage

      The only reason I can see Apple doing any kind of tablet would be to get in on the eBook market. Just like the App Store, it would integrate directly into iTunes and make them even more money. That's the sort of stuff that fits Apple's style.

      • I think Apple is very much interested in going after the e-book market. Sales of e-books are growing very rapidly, and right now Amazon essentially has a stranglehold on the market, at least in the U.S. As a Kindle owner, I welcome Apple bringing some serious competition into this area. Maybe it'll put some pressure on Amazon to open up to the ePub format.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Since you've obviously never used a tablet, I figured I should offer the perspective of someone who has. Mine's convertible, but lives in tablet mode 85% of the time.

      In point of fact, not only is it useful, but the idea that a netbook could substitute is laughable.

      Why? I take a lot of meetings. In the 8 months, I've accumulated 1000+ pages of notes. With a tablet, they're searchable, organizable, and can contain embedded scans of the business cards. Much more convenient to write, especially while standing o

    • by kaizendojo (956951) on Thursday May 21, 2009 @12:27PM (#28041205)

      Put simple - Tablets suck except for a very few niche uses... And even for those few uses, netbooks do the job cheaper and more conveniently.

      Put simple - that's why you're posting on /. instead of working for a company like Apple. They've already proven that tablets - which is what the iPhone essentially is, just in a smaller form factor - don't suck, and millions of consumers agreed. Tablets with a user interface done right, that is. This is not just a move to come up with a cool new toy, this is an acknowledgment of a growing market replete with a built in catalog of available applications that users actually want. And as a bonus, they can expand to users who want a Kindle but expect a but more for their bucks than just a reader. And I'm damn glad, since I put my Dad into the stock early and it's going to be my inheritance some day.

    • http://apple.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=193127&cid=15847027 [slashdot.org]

      Okay. That was probably dumb luck.

      But if you look at the iPod Touch, and you look at where people are going with these days, you'll notice that the sales of netbooks are absolutely skyrocketing. [laptopical.com] Apple doesn't have any product that takes advantage of this new market. So, as a company dedicated to profit, they may make one.

      My prediction: Macbook Touch. Atom Processor. Bluetooth, Wifi, also available with wireless broadband. $799 with no provider

      • by samkass (174571)

        Considering that the current iPod Touch has video out already (although you need to buy a cable adapter to use it), I doubt they'll remove it in the upgrade.

        The iPod Touch *is* a netbook. It just doesn't have a very flexible UI for general computing tasks.

        • by copponex (13876)

          I was thinking DisplayPort or something useful. It may have a cheesy video out that shows what video is playing, but you cannot use a secondary monitor as a display on any of the iPod models.

    • How about a Next-gen Newton? Target a few niches, where large amounts of user input is not a big factor and use the same strategies as the iPhone to minimize the need to input lots of information. Just make sure the form-factor is very lightweight (A clipboard or a news magazine) and aesthetically pleasing. The form-factor will be key. People should be able to relax when they lounge about in their living rooms with this thing.

      • Planner
      • eBook Reader
      • Mobile Web Browsing
      • Remote Control (For Media and Home autom
  • by nobodyman (90587) on Thursday May 21, 2009 @11:12AM (#28040133) Homepage

    I've seen this rumor floating around from enough sources that I won't be surprised if it happens. That said, even though other rumored apple products have turned out to be true, it seems that the only thing that is off is the price -- apple prices these things for about 20% more than what analysts predict.

    If Apple comes out w/ a tablet, I can easily see them pricing it at $999.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Gilmoure (18428)

      What about a Mac Mini-tower? That's what I'm waiting for.

      • by KylePflug (898555)

        Ditto. I'd jump on an ~$800 Mac somewhere between a mini and a Pro - even just a more expandable Mini. My PC finally gave up the ghost and, while my MacBook is a perfectly serviceable desktop when I plug it in, I'd love something with a real graphics card and a few hard drives.

  • the iphone is a hit because it's the same price or cheaper than competing cell phones. few months ago when i bought one for my wife i looked at the BB Storm. the data plan was more expensive and once you figured the cost of the extra storage it was the same price or $200 more than the iphone when adding up the price of the 2 year contract.

    $700 for what is a netbook is way too much especially if you'll need to pay for a wireless data plan. you can buy $299 XP, Android or Ubuntu netbooks. WTF kind of magic ap

    • Supposing the iTablet is an upscaled iPhone with a bigger screen and hardware keyboard, the economics should be the same.

      You'll never know the true cost if you buy it on a 24-month plan, locked to a particular carrier. Apple can afford to subsidise the initial purchase cost if it makes its money through apps, music and videos you download from their online services. (cf. Console makers lose money on their hardware but make it up on each game)

  • Why clearly? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Why is a conventional netbook clearly out of the question? Did I miss another story where they justified that assertion?
  • if you want cheap (or even IMO normal) hardware don't wait for apple to bring it, they wont!

  • They DO have a right to selectively license MacOS X to a vendor who agrees to use high quality, consistent hardware. They could easily get a company like Dell or Acer to license it for one particular line of netbooks.

    You know what happens if someone buys a Dell NetBook with OS X on it in this economy? When they get $1000-$3000 to blow on a real OS X laptop, they'll be more than happy to head to the Apple Store. Apple is in a licensing position to tell any vendor to kiss their shiny, solid aluminum ass if th

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ToasterOven (698529)
      Good points, but I think the problem is that they've been there before [wikipedia.org], and it didn't work out too well for them.

      With Apple being Apple, I think if they ever do venture down that road again, it will be because they have come up with a new and different method of licensing the software.

      However, it's pretty unlikely IMO, given that Apple likes to maintain a very specific user 'experience', and allowing their OS to be used on potentially sub-standard hardware could undermine that experience and potential
  • by onionlee (836083) on Thursday May 21, 2009 @11:29AM (#28040381)
    Here's a picture of it [photobucket.com]
    • If they made it that big, I'd buy it. I can't use an iPhone because the bloody screen is too small for me to see it without optical assistance. If I had to use one everyday, I'd go nuts putting on and taking off my glasses everytime I'd have to make a call.
  • by wandazulu (265281) on Thursday May 21, 2009 @11:56AM (#28040743)

    Apple's said they don't want to do a netbook, and when people think tablet, they think of a standard tablet-based laptop.

    My personal theory is that it would be a Kindle-sized iPhone, though probably without the phone part (so I guess a Kindle-sized ipod touch). With the features of the next version of the os that's publicly known, there's no reason why you couldn't use the iphone interface to do anything you'd do with a netbook. Any apps that you might expect on a netbook would likely be written and sold in the app store pretty darn quick, like a basic word-processing app. If you couldn't stand to use the on-screen keyboard (which presumably would have bigger buttons for the bigger screen), then use a bluetooth keyboard.

    That, as far as I can tell, would solve (to me, anyway), both the netbook *and* tablet issue.

    • by itsdapead (734413)

      My personal theory is that it would be a Kindle-sized iPhone,

      I'd put my money on that, too: I've found the iPod Touch a lot more usable as a web/email/games appliance than a netbook - one with a 20-30% larger screen would be killer.

      like a basic word-processing app.

      Maybe, not even that: if its packaged as a "tablet PC" then punters would expect handwriting recognition and an office suite. If, however, its positioned as an "iPod Max" then why would you expect to write more than a brief email message on it?

      That's the problem with netbooks: they look like PCs, quack like PCs and you can do office work

  • The first to put an eInk screen in addition to the normal screen in a Netbook or tablet form-factor will win all the prizes.

    Think about it...all the features of a netbook you love, but the eInk display from a Kindle that allows you to send documents to it. Oh, the humanity!
  • Yeah, I'll probably get modded down for this.

    Come on, Slashdot. This "news" is so old. When you've been scooped by Leo Laporte and John C. Dvorak on This Week In Tech TWO WEEKS AGO, you know you suck. Stay out of the rumor business. You're not any good at it. Stick to the cool tech stories that made you who you are today.

    That said, this topic is kind of interesting for Apple fans. If Apple does put out a product like this, its probably going to have some pretty interesting functionality. Usually when

  • Been waiting for Apple to deal with this segment. As a Mac Fanboy, I have been disappointed. I need something between my iPhone and my 17" laptop, and I do not want to spend $1000+. The Dell minis loaded with Ubuntu look pretty sweet right now.
    • That's why I've kept my 12.1" Powerbook, but it's EOL. Fan bearings are rumbling, audio jack doesn't work unless you get the connection just right, same with the powercord, and the backlight is extremely dim, and I'm starting to see enough Intel only stuff. Although once they went back to a dedicated video card in the new MacBook Aluminum, I've been tempted to get one this fall when 10.6 is released.

      I've found that anything less than 12" is hard to use if you're coding. Especially these 9/10" widescreens

  • While I don't think it's out of the question that they'd make a tablet, I think people are right that we'll just end up with a next generation iPhone/iTouch.

    The tablet market is competitive, but it's not huge. I think they'd have a good shot at the art crowd with a decent digitizer, but nothing they've shown so far (that I'm aware of) seems to be going in that direction. They seem much more focused on finger interaction and multitouch. On top of that, Apple isn't terribly desirable in business, which is

  • by divisionbyzero (300681) on Thursday May 21, 2009 @01:00PM (#28041779)

    Almost every bit of information they have is second or third hand (a guy heard from a guy who heard from a guy). They are barely one step above a rumor site. Most of them don't have the expertise to separate the wheat from the chaff.

    Industry Analysts who look at industry trends and give advice to executives can be useful but analysts for financial institutions (e.g. Gene Munster for Piper Jaffray) that are making specific predictions about product introductions have a (not so) hidden agenda. Get people to buy now on optimistic news and dump later when it proves to be bogus. Remember, they make money in both directions.

  • Anyone ever wonder if maybe Apple might see all these rumors, and interpret them as a large demand for a product, then create said product?

    I wouldn't rule out the possibility that inital rumors were false, but got the heads talking in Cupertino.

Murphy's Law, that brash proletarian restatement of Godel's Theorem. -- Thomas Pynchon, "Gravity's Rainbow"

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