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Apple

Apple Tablet Rumor Wrap Up 348

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the long-time-coming dept.
Since the Apple event is this afternoon, and the submission bin overflows with Apple Tablet rumor stories, I'm putting up a few of the more choice links here so we can all speculate for the next few hours. A McGraw Hill CEO confirmed the tablet on CNBC last night, basically saying it is a big iPhone that has content agreements with publishers. Another blogger wrote in with a expectation list for the event, and technologizer had a nice history of fail in the world of tablet computing. Feel free to add your own rumor, speculation, and exhausted eye rolling below.
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Apple Tablet Rumor Wrap Up

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  • Early Prediction (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pete-wilko (628329) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @11:09AM (#30917500)
    My prediction: that the massive amount of hype built up for this will mean a spectacular write-up of the device regardless of the quality - or else there will be a lot of egg on various 'tech reporters' faces. Also I loved the penny-arcade comic on this: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2010/1/22/ [penny-arcade.com]
  • by Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @11:11AM (#30917526)
    Correction: Apple at least rethinks usability properly.

    Microsoft bungs hundreds of millions at "usability" & we end up with the stupid ribbon... Pah!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @11:12AM (#30917546)

    Think of how frustrated other hardware makers are racing to create a clone of a device they haven't seen.

  • by Twillerror (536681) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @11:14AM (#30917564) Homepage Journal

    Looking at the history of the tablet it always seems to be a PC with a touch screen. MS Word or Excel and a tablet don't go together.

    The start menu, task bar, and general navigation of a full blown PC (win or mac) doesn't directly translate.

    It is very likely that this tablet will just be a big ole iPhone. I think everyone who has used their smart phone on their couch has gone "God I wish the screen was just a few more inches".

    The "content" portion of the web will translate very well to the new tablets.

    Any app that requires but load of editing...especially with text won't work. Imagine writing a book, some C++ code, or fill in a form with 20 inputs on one of these things. Even with a slide out keyboard these sort of tasks suck. People will make simple music and video editors...but real work just has to be done on a full pc.

    That said the tablet could be put in a doc and instead of translating the pc to a tablet...it'll be the other way around. This is where MS might have some advantage for some folks...especially in business.

    A Chrome OS tablet has to follow with what is essentially an Android phone with a slightly bigger screen. MS will come out with something like Windows with a simple interface...or Zune(just rebrand the thing already MS).

    Wouldn't it be great if you could get one tablet with all three OSs....

  • Staying with Paper (Score:1, Insightful)

    by BodhiCat (925309) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @11:14AM (#30917568)
    I am not giving up my paper books. They just have a certain feel. I love sitting up at night reading with a bowl of snacks next to me. I just can't see using a Kindel or Tablet for most of my reading.
  • by BodhiCat (925309) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @11:20AM (#30917676)
    Ya, two things about the iphone that limit its usability: 1. small keyboard 2. lack of a good text editing program. The tablet could solve the keyboard problem by having a bigger screen, but if it doesn't have a good text editing program, then its just an iphone/ipod-touch that's too big to put in your pocket.
  • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @11:21AM (#30917696)

    >I think everyone who has used their smart phone on their couch has gone "God I wish the screen was just a few more inches".

    But Im not willing to pay $800-$1500 or whatever the tablet costs for the privilege of casual couch surfing. Especially when I can just park a laptop on a side table next to my couch and have a full fledged system for $500.

    Not to mention, some of the apps Id like to run have been banned by Apple's censors. I dont know why Id spend all that money for a gimped machine.

  • Rumors? Bah (Score:4, Insightful)

    by darjen (879890) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @11:24AM (#30917742)

    I just don't care much for all this speculation and rumors. Waste of time in my book. Wait for the device to come out and judge it on its merits.

  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @11:24AM (#30917750) Homepage Journal
    That and lack of flash support, love it or hate it, a lot of sites have yet to upgrade to html5 for video, so we are stuck with flash. Unless Apple has struck a deal with Adobe to allow flash on the tablet, there are going to be a lot of web sites that aren't accessible from the tablet.
  • Re:Patience (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Eponymous Coward (6097) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @11:33AM (#30917872)

    Why hurry? For some people, it's fun.

    How about a bad analogy? Compare it to the superbowl. Why speculate on how the game will go or even bother watching it? It will be over soon and you can just find out the score.

  • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @11:37AM (#30917932) Journal

    I don't mind Apple trying new things, but I fail to see what this device has going for it that is essentially "New".

    It sounds like it'll be either an IPhone thats too big to fit in my pocket, or a small, touchscreen Netbook, Whereas I don't particularily have a need. If it doesn't fit in my pocket, it goes in a bag. If I'm putting it in a bag, the bag is about the size of a brief case. I don't see where in my adventures it'll be any more practical for me to pull out a tablet than it will be to pull out a Macbook.

    I honestly think Microsofts Touch-Table-Top-Screen-Thing has more applications than this. But all in all, they are both "Meh" products.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @11:43AM (#30918036) Journal
    An Apple tablet would certainly be bad news for them; but they might have a future among people who want OSX in tablet form.

    Unless Steve Jobs accidentally mind-melds with Richard Stallman in the next hour or so, the tablet is almost certainly going to be a hard-locked app-store only product. Further, the odds that it is x86 are somewhere between slim and none, and slim is bleeding to death.

    If most of Axiotron's customers were more or less casual users who just had to have an Apple tablet for some reason, they are completely fucked. If, though, they are substantially people who want to be able to draw directly on the screen in photoshop, or otherwise do full OSX stuff in tablet form, they might survive.
  • by tepples (727027) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {selppet}> on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @11:53AM (#30918232) Homepage Journal

    Microsoft bungs hundreds of millions at "usability" & we end up with the stupid ribbon

    I'm not convinced that "the stupid ribbon" is the best example of your thesis. Perhaps it is easier for novices to learn a program's tabbed toolbar than a program's menu bar. For one thing, recasting a pull-down menu as a toolbar keeps a class of actions on the screen where the user can see them rather than overlapping the document and disappearing once the user chooses an action. As I understand it, most of the whining about Ribbon came from 1. people who rely on muscle memory from previous versions of the product, the same sort of people who would get confused between Microsoft Office and OpenOffice.org anyway, and 2. people concerned about the legal fees of putting up prior art from 2002 [codeguru.com] to invalidate the patents that Microsoft engineers were applying for over tabbed toolbars. Sure, Ribbon has room for improvement, but it took a couple iterations for Apple to get pull-down menus right too.

  • by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @12:03PM (#30918374)

    But Im not willing to pay $800-$1500 or whatever the tablet costs for the privilege of casual couch surfing.

    Then don't. This product isn't for you. Why is it when ever Apple does *anything* Slashdot takes it as a personal affront? The iPod (lame), the iPhone (better Smartphones exist), the newest MacBook Pros (No Express Card slot), The built in batteries, etc. Apple, or any other company, isn't forcing you to do anything.

    When McLaren or Maybach come out with new cars do you all complain that they're over priced and don't appeal to you? Why do you do it with computers?

    Sort of reminds me of this xkcd. [xkcd.com] Fine, the Apple tablet doesn't appeal to you, why even bother making a comment?

  • by Tom (822) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @12:03PM (#30918376) Homepage Journal

    Microsoft just throws Windows on the device complete with all the crappy desktop metaphors and UI widgets that are completely irrelevant to the new form factor -- witness Windows Mobile and all the Windows tablets. Apple at least rethinks usability.

    Apple at least thinks about usability. When's the last time that MS did that? I can tell you: Just prior to the launch of Win95, after even the final user testing showed that this "start button" concept is stupid, dumb, user-unfriendly and counterintuitive. They finally put the "Start" label on it (it was just the windos logo before that, yes a straight copy from the Apple logo on the Apple menu bar, except that that's always been on the menu bar where users expect menu things to be) and then added the "click here to start" animation when you first launch the OS, because even the label wasn't enough.

    That's how MS thinks about "usability". Explains a lot about the trainwreck that every new windos edition adds to, doesn't it?

  • by SquirrelCrack (522382) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @12:04PM (#30918386)

    Man up and learn Objective C

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @12:06PM (#30918414)

    I fail to see what this device has going for it that is essentially "New".

    Lock-in. Ten years ago, would anyone have predicted that products like the iPhone or the Kindle could possibly have any success at all? Back then, it looked like there was a trend toward more freedom, and new products would be competing to be more open and usable than one another.

    Somehow, in the last decade, the personal computer market has accepted (in the sense of people actually spend money on some of the products) that personal computers don't need to be totally open to developers; that personal computers can use the same development model as video game consoles, and some people (maybe a minority, but a big enough niche to make a profit and get a SHITLOAD of publicity) will actually buy them.

    So what's new here? Well, look at the tablets of the past: they were programmable by the Little People. They were personal computers in the old sense, where when you bought one, you totally owned it, and you could even start a software business on one if you wanted to, with no limits to what you could do. Not this time. This time it's going to be closed up, have a centralized app store that only sells approved products, and yet people are considering it newsworthy and even predict some success.

    This isn't some obscure wackjob company that you can safely laugh at by default when they try to commit atrocities against hackers; it's Apple. The atrocities are there, but not the laughter. The mockery will be there, but tinged with a very real feeling of fear and bitterness. This fucking piece of shit just might still be in the news the day after tomorrow. And that's sobering. We're nearing the end of the personal computer revolution that took off about 3 decades ago. We're seeing Apple destroy something that they played such an important part in creating. That's news. First it was the handheld, now it's something bigger. In a few years: the desktop?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @12:06PM (#30918418)
    That's what everyone said about the smartphone market...until the iPhone came out and all the hardware manufacturers went "Oh shit!" And all the software manufacturers went "How can we copy that?"
  • by lastchance_000 (847415) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @12:08PM (#30918460)
    Why would anyone want to?
  • by Rockoon (1252108) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @12:15PM (#30918578)
    Translation:

    Apple fanboy sees all negative observations as complaints, and ends his post with a question where he is wondering why anyone would ever publicly make negative observations about Apple or Apple Products.
  • by digitig (1056110) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @12:17PM (#30918614)
    Lock-in. MS Office is pervasive in schools and in business, and a drastically different interface makes it harder for users to shift. True, for a short term the Ribbon is pushing some users who have the choice away from MS Office, but I think that MS are planning to ride that out and by agressive deals with schools, colleges, governments, etc get people locked in.
  • by ID000001 (753578) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @12:20PM (#30918672)
    I think using a LED / LCD screen for book reading is going to put a little more strain on the eyes then e-ink display. Which might make it not suitable for a good amount of people. If being doubled as e-reader is the major selling point, this is likely to be too expensive to count. Of course, Apple have a few years to let this go. We will see.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @12:25PM (#30918756)
    I'd switch to OO, if it wasn't a slow and bloated wanna-be Office CLONE.
  • OMG (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @12:26PM (#30918774)

    a new mac item!

    My mac-gina is pulsating with excitement!

    I have to buy it or I won't be cool! ...bunch of tools...

  • by itsdapead (734413) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @12:30PM (#30918818)

    My prediction: that the massive amount of hype built up for this will mean a spectacular write-up of the device regardless of the quality

    My counter-prediction: when Jobs stands up and announces a larger version of the iPod Touch and the availability of ebooks on iTunes, lots of people will start publicly whinging about the fact that its not powered by zero-point energy, doesn't come with free, unlimited mobile broadband, the books still cost as much as paper books, has less space than a Nomad and is generally lame. Meanwhile, all the media bods who hyped it up will start scouring the land for pundits who now want to knock it down.

  • by Steauengeglase (512315) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @12:34PM (#30918870)

    Wow, comparing an Apple tablet to a McLaren. And some wonder why Apple's fans are so often labeled elitist.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @12:39PM (#30918948)

    Yet the ribbon is the primary reason I refuse to use Office 2007 (or newer). Sometimes making yourself unique to keep people from copying you makes your product less desirable.

  • by Shining Celebi (853093) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @12:44PM (#30919020) Homepage

    This time it's going to be closed up, have a centralized app store that only sells approved products, and yet people are considering it newsworthy and even predict some success.

    Predict some success? The Apple tablet has been a huge story even in the mainstream press for months and it's been nothing but fawning, salivating coverage about how this is the Next Big Thing. With all that advertising, I'm sure it's safe to say those predictions are right -- it's going to be a huge success, regardless of the factors you mention and regardless of whether it's actually good. I can't imagine any other company getting such adulatory coverage everywhere from the New York Times to Reuters to PC World for months about a product nobody even actually knows anything about.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @12:44PM (#30919024)
    Better translation: Apple products are for idiots.
  • by cgenman (325138) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @12:44PM (#30919030) Homepage

    Do you really think the ribbon was anything to do with usability?

    Maybe patents had something to do with it, but it is classic Microsoft usability. It takes a cohesive, existing system, and layers on top an additional UI element that they hope will make all of the other UI elements make sense. Microsoft rarely removes elements.

    It's like Windows 7 filesharing. Not only did they keep the old Samba based filesharing, but they added an additional type of filesharing on top. Now you have the joys of setting all of the permissions twice, only now you don't really know which goes to which.

    Or the godawful and inconsistent side panels. Why you'd want a system-level UI element taking up that much room just to offer to print photos for you is anybody's guess. But the side panels simply replicate functionality that can be achieved by right-clicking, double clicking, going to the menus, option clicking, or sometimes multiples of the above.

    Or for that matter, Word: where each separate program module has its own interface elements. This is true whether those interface elements would make sense elsewhere, or replicate other functions / settings within the application. Or are just legacy and don't really matter anymore.

    Apple, on the other hand, actually streamlines. They removed the disk drive, removed the com and serial ports. When spotlight became the way to search in OSX, they removed the other ways to search. Instead of just trying to add, so as not to upset old users, they actively redesign the whole system to be usable as a whole. While I have low hopes for the tablet as a piece of hardware, I'm excited to see the interface conventions it comes up with.

  • by vadim_t (324782) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @12:47PM (#30919060) Homepage

    Because the 10 articles that get posted every time Steve Jobs scratches his butt are getting very tiresome.

    Slashdot doesn't have an article about every new product Sony or HP make, and I don't see why Apple is any more noteworthy.

  • by Viewsonic (584922) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @12:51PM (#30919140)
    They really wont. Flash has cemented itself already. It's like saying the iPod wont be a premier mp3 player. Flash just is. If a device like the tablet will not run flash that also in turns allows sites like Netflix, Lala, Hulu, etc .. Basically any standard site that everyone can access from their $500 PC and laptops, and cant access on a $700 device that is basically built for couch surfing it will be a dud. As much as people love/hate Flash. It is 100% needed. I don't use the browser on my touch simply because 90% of the sites just aren't functional these days without flash support of some kind.
  • Re:My toilet (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DarthVain (724186) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @12:56PM (#30919234)

    Ya, like anyone is gonna want to touch that thing. Seriously.

  • by Asclepius99 (1527727) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @12:56PM (#30919240)
    I disagree here. I'm always amazed by people that are, shall we say, less tech savvy and their inability to find things in menus that aren't set up exactly like the program they usually use. I'm not even talking about renaming things, just putting them under a different tab. The amount of people that can't do this [xkcd.com] is staggering.
  • by Azureflare (645778) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @01:00PM (#30919292)

    Battery life and use in sunlight, however, go to the e-ink machines.

    Clearly, you have never heard of PixelQi or mirasol. eInk doesn't win in usage under direct sunlight anymore. Perhaps battery life, but that remains to be seen.

  • by Simon Brooke (45012) <stillyet@googlemail.com> on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @01:36PM (#30919854) Homepage Journal

    Microsoft bungs hundreds of millions at "usability" & we end up with the stupid ribbon

    I'm not convinced that "the stupid ribbon" is the best example of your thesis. Perhaps it is easier for novices to learn a program's tabbed toolbar than a program's menu bar. For one thing, recasting a pull-down menu as a toolbar keeps a class of actions on the screen where the user can see them rather than overlapping the document and disappearing once the user chooses an action. As I understand it, most of the whining about Ribbon came from 1. people who rely on muscle memory from previous versions of the product, the same sort of people who would get confused between Microsoft Office and OpenOffice.org anyway, and 2. people concerned about the legal fees of putting up prior art from 2002 [codeguru.com] to invalidate the patents that Microsoft engineers were applying for over tabbed toolbars. Sure, Ribbon has room for improvement, but it took a couple iterations for Apple to get pull-down menus right too.

    To be honest I think the problem Microsoft has is that if it doesn't actively look different, people won't see it as a new version, so they won't pay for it again. I know this from programs I've written - if you make changes customers can't see, they're very unwilling to pay for them, even if they make significant improvements to speed, usability, stability or something else important to the customer. Word 2007 really isn't any better than the previous version - it isn't more reliable, it doesn't have any useful new features. Why should anyone who has the existing version pay for the new one?

    Because it looks different. They can see it has changed. It doesn't matter that this burdens them with new training costs for no actual benefit: they can see it's new, and, therefore, must be improved.

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