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Jobs Finally "Happy" With Unannounced Apple Tablet 303

All the whispers of an Apple tablet PC seem to be culminating in a flurry of rumors suggesting we may see one as soon as next month. Sources inside Apple are saying that Jobs is finally "happy" with the device after being involved in every detail of bringing it into the light of day. As a side result of these rumors, it seems that Apple stockholders are also getting a bit of Christmas cheer with a significant bump in stock price.
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Jobs Finally "Happy" With Unannounced Apple Tablet

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  • by hwyhobo ( 1420503 ) on Friday December 25, 2009 @12:09PM (#30551146)

    "You will be very surprised how you interact with the new tablet"

    DOS prompt?

  • Will the executive anonymously quoted in the article be leaving soon or have things changed there?
  • Let the H8 begin! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MCSEBear ( 907831 ) on Friday December 25, 2009 @12:18PM (#30551204)
    We will see if Apple's habit of actually rethinking their user interface and user interaction methods can bring some life to the tablet market. I think expecting users to use a stylus with the traditional tiny user interface elements in Windows was a problem holding back the form factor.

    However, I have faith that people will come up with plenty of reasons to hate the new hardware when it appears.
  • by mattcsn ( 1592281 ) on Friday December 25, 2009 @12:22PM (#30551222)

    It came out last summer that Jobs was intimately involved with every detail of bringing the tablet to market. It seems that the device has finally gotten Jobs's seal of approval: when asked if the tablet rumors were true, a senior Apple executive gave The New York Times a rather coy reply. "I can't really say anything," he said, "but, let's just say Steve is extremely happy with the new tablet."

    Translation: the only button is a power button, it has a battery-sucking colour screen as opposed to an e-ink display, it requires itunes on a mac or PC to use, the only Apple-approved way to run programs is via an app store, it has a non-user-replaceable battery, and it will cost upwards of $1000.

    • Translation: the only button is a power button, it has a battery-sucking colour screen as opposed to an e-ink display, it requires itunes on a mac or PC to use, the only Apple-approved way to run programs is via an app store, it has a non-user-replaceable battery, and it will cost upwards of $1000.

      Shiney! What's not to like?

    • by cheros ( 223479 ) on Friday December 25, 2009 @12:29PM (#30551266)

      ..and it already has legions of people already exclaiming that this is the best device yet, despite the fact that nobody has seen as much as a drawing yet.

      Then again, how did Windows Vista get all those rave reviews?

      Exactly :-)

      • by je ne sais quoi ( 987177 ) on Friday December 25, 2009 @12:39PM (#30551322)

        ..and it already has legions of people already exclaiming that this is the best device yet, despite the fact that nobody has seen as much as a drawing yet.

        Actually, I haven't read anyone who actually liked apple products say anything of the sort. All I've read in this thread so far are people who are complaining about imagined features they have pulled out of their asses, as you've pointed out, nobody has seen anything yet.

        If Apple's past design decisions are any guide, the only thing I feel confident saying is that Apple has likely spent a tremendous amount of time and money designing the interface and it will likely be fairly intuitive and easy to use, but it's far from certain. It could just be an ipod touch, but bigger. This will certainly have some interesting applications, especially if they use a display that can be read in direct sunlight. I believe it likely that for applications they will follow their (mind-blowingly) successful app store but who knows. This is Apple we're talking about, they aren't the leader in innovation in the PC market for nothing and it's hard to imagine Jobs getting excited over an overblown ipod touch, but he has tried to sell us polished turds before so who knows.

    • by fermion ( 181285 ) on Friday December 25, 2009 @01:00PM (#30551470) Homepage Journal
      The button fetish of the PC user is something that needs to be studied. It is like the cup holder fetish of the SUV buyer. I am sure both are symptoms of a previously unpublished metal issue in humans.
      • by clang_jangle ( 975789 ) on Friday December 25, 2009 @01:42PM (#30551668) Journal

        ...symptoms of a previously unpublished metal issue...

        What, like lead poisoning? :D

        • by Dr. Evil ( 3501 )

          Arsenic, the lead singer of the unpublished metal band "Lead Poisoning", when told that iTunes will not carry his songs, reportedly exclaimed "GGGAAAAFGGGAWWAGAHHH!"

      • by Draek ( 916851 )

        It's fairly well known, in fact. It's called "tactile feedback", and it helps tremendously in doing things by muscle memory rather than conscious thought.

        If anything, it's the fetish for button-less appliances that's unusual. Perhaps we should send Steve Jobs to a psychologist to investigate it further.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        The button fetish of the PC user is something that needs to be studied.

        Yeah, it's a "fetish", and makes me completely insane, to state that I'd rather press a button that I can feel actually click, instead of wiping my fingers across a smudgy screen and not being able to interact with it without staring down at the screen like an ape.

        I've used touchscreens on everything from POS terminals to cash registers to tablets to iphones. Without exception, they all suck. Touchscreens are an answer to a que
    • So an iPod Touch with a bigger screen?
    • by MobileTatsu-NJG ( 946591 ) on Friday December 25, 2009 @01:16PM (#30551548)

      Translation: the only button is a power button, it has a battery-sucking colour screen as opposed to an e-ink display, it requires itunes on a mac or PC to use, the only Apple-approved way to run programs is via an app store, it has a non-user-replaceable battery, and it will cost upwards of $1000.

      The scary part? Despite all that, it'll probably still embarrass all of the other companies that have tablet products.

  • Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShooterNeo ( 555040 ) on Friday December 25, 2009 @12:29PM (#30551272)

    Here's what I want a high quality, fast and truly usable tablet for : medical care. It should be possible to walk into a patient's room carrying a clipboard sized device that resembled a giant iphone. You should be able to call up medical records, imagery, and the rest with no detectable latency. (because the tablet should use push downloading : each tablet is assigned to a particular doctor or nurse. The table would cache all medical records for each patient assigned to that doctor or nurse, and if a new report comes out for one of those patients, the tablet should automatically download it over the hospital's wireless network)

    It should use a glass topped display, like the iphone, so that you could use caustic chemicals to sterilize the surface. The medical industry has enough money that if this product cost $1500 it would barely be noticed as an expense. (especially if it could boost efficiency)

    Apple has as good a chance to make this happen as anyone. Medical users would be running custom software for this tablet, so there's no need for it to be windows compatible. While displaying large 2D images like X-rays will require some CPU horsepower, it's still entirely possible for a low power CPU to do the job. And apple's superior user interfaces and integration with hardware mean that it will be cheaper and easier to train doctors and nurses to use this device.

    The biggest technical problems I foresee are back end problems, problems with the EMR software, and battery life.(hospital IT departments tend to fuck things up. If they bought a bunch of apple tablets, they probably wouldn't build and maintain the back end servers and wireless AP correctly)

    Also, such a tablet will probably be quite fragile, and fairly heavy.

    Remember, YOU (the typical slashdotter running Linux with a windows box for games on desktop machines) are not the intended users for this tablet. YOU probably sit at a desk all day. You have enough technical expertise that tinkering is fun for you, and you don't mind the idea of a tablet on kludgey, cheap hardware that is running open source software.

    • High quality? forget Apple. When was the last time Apple released a ruggedised device? That is just not the business they are in. They produce expensive, fashionable electronics that go out of fashion after a year or two.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by ShooterNeo ( 555040 )
        Look at FairTrade's reliability data. Apple is one of the manufacturers of the most reliable laptop computers. Sure, they aren't ruggedized laptops : but toughbooks are an extremely expensive niche device. For the overwhelming majority of applications and users, it's cheaper to buy the extended warranty against accidental damage than to buy a ruggedized laptop.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Ash-Fox ( 726320 )

          Apple is one of the manufacturers of the most reliable laptop computers.

          I worked in Unis, large corporations and I found from these places that Apple laptops had a rather large amount of "logicboard failures" and bad manufacturing practices in their products (super amounts of thermal paste, poor soldering) as opposed to HP business laptops, Thinkpads, Acer that had very few issues in comparison... From my large experience, I am skeptical of anyone claiming this.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by dropadrop ( 1057046 )
            From my experience during the last 4 years I would say it's not so simple. We have about 50% employees with Apple, rest with Acer business notebooks. Acer has close to double failure rate, pretty evenly divided between models and revisions. Apple has loads of problems with first gen products and very little after the third revision or so. For example we had tens of G4 powerbooks during the last year they where produced, and only one or two went in for warrenty. About 30% of our macbook pro's during the firs
            • From my experiences Apple probably isn't much better in terms of reliability than most other companies, but as you mentioned that may just be a first generation issue. What I think they really excel at is customer service when things go wrong. My brother had purchased an Macbook that had several problems with varying components. He hadn't purchased an extended warranty, but every time Apple fixed the problem and didn't charge him for it, even after the warranty had run out.

              You might pay a little bit more
          • by alen ( 225700 )

            i'm typing this on a HP Compaq 8510p, a business laptop. maybe i'm unlucky but it seems like mine is self destructing. SquareTrade's figures put Apple at #3 and Asus at #1. those are pre unibody aluminum MBP MacBook Pro figures too.

      • Re:Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

        by binary paladin ( 684759 ) <binarypaladin@noSPam.gmail.com> on Friday December 25, 2009 @02:47PM (#30551956)

        Have you even used a Mac?

        I don't even know what the point of reading Mac threads on Slashdot is though. I used to think Mac fanboys were the most annoying people on the planet... until I started reading what their equally ignorant detractors had to say.

        Ruggedised laptops... seriously? Apple? Gee, I wonder when Ferrari will start making dump trucks.

    • Re:Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Friday December 25, 2009 @12:56PM (#30551448) Homepage
      While this is a nice Christmassy fantasy (one that I would love to fall into) it ain't gonna happen:

      1) Apple doesn't do well with big, clunky Enterprise customers who have their own agendas and ideas (AT&T notwithstanding)

      2) Medical systems DO run Windows. Sorry, but it's true. Some of them are coming off of IE 6 as we speak. Some of them. Now, the trend towards making everything run in a browser might mitigate that somewhat, as long as the browser isn't IE 6.

      3. If you run the software in the browser, then you are at the mercy of whatever idiot UI got slapped on to the software at the last moment. If you've worked with medical software, you will quickly realize that nobody spends any time getting the interface even remotely correct.

      4. For Apple's vaunted strategy of tightly coupling the app with the hardware to work out, you have to have a dozen goofball vendors agree to do things the same way. Not going to happen in our lifetimes.

      But keep smoking what you're smoking and don't Bogart that joint!
      • As I puff out a cloud of marijuana smoke laced with LSD, I think of a world where medical EMR software was require by federal law to store it's data in an open format that could be read by multiple vendors....

        Then, you could use your slick apple tablet running some high quality EMR software, bought right through the app store in a competitive market, that would be able to read and write to the records stored on the hospital's clunky back-end servers running last century's EMR app...

        • Like I said, don't Bogart that joint....
          • That bit about EMR standards and Federal law...that isn't a drug induced fantasy...I don't think....hard to see what's on CNN with all these LSD unicorns frolicking in my visual field. Man, this is gooooooooood shit. Good thing for legalized marijuana, eh?
    • A secure PC in every room make more sense than a portable device - the only doctors rushing about aren't the ones who would be looking at medical charts.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I like your vision, but you need two more things: A barcode scanner (otherwise you can't scan patients and meds) and the cooperation of the closed systems (GE, Siemens, etc.) that run hospitals.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by capt.Hij ( 318203 )

      That does sound great. Someone wrote an app for that, but unfortunatley it was rejected. When the folks at Apple realized that it was for medical use and that someone might see the words "penis," "areola," or "clavicle" the app was not allowed to be sold in their store. Since it is not officially blessed by Apple you cannot use it even though you purchased the damn thing and presumably are an adult. Now be quiet, go browse the web like a nice doctor, and move along.

    • This isn't Apple's target market. The only niche business user Apple is likely to target with this is the photographer or film maker on-location. If this can serve them better than a Mac Book Pro, then Apple will do it. I can't think how it would though, but I suppose that's why I don't have Jonathan Ive's job.

    • There really aren't any technical problems for this. Take your pick of reasons, but hospitals spend plenty of money on terribly designed devices that don't speak to one another.

      As an example, next time you are there take a look at the massive proprietary whatchamacallit connectors they use on their machines when much simpler industry standard plugs could be used. And I thought HDMI cables were expensive. Another interesting thought is what happens when one of these wonder devices is stolen? Or is it
    • HP had a medical grade tablet with the TC1100. I guess if you want this you're about 4 years too late.

      But it is telling that you're unwilling to look around you and see the alternatives. I guess if it doesn't have an Apple logo...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dbcad7 ( 771464 )
      Why not just have a thin client station at every bed, rather than dragging germs from patient to patient ?
    • Medical already have tablets. Since about 2002. See Motion Computing, HP, Fujitsu and others. They do all this stuff already. And Windows is needed because the EMR software is Windows based already. Yes, the problems are all the same ones you describe, with the exception of displaying 2d images. That's childs play for todays dual core machines.

      Drop the YOU aren't in the target market crap. If Apple doesn't make what I want I'll buy from somewhere else, and so will others like me. If Apple makes what I

  • by hey ( 83763 )

    What do you think about the iSlate name?

    http://www.google.com/webhp?hl=en#hl=en&source=hp&q=iSlate [google.com]

    • "Is Late"? Sounds like a product that will be delayed and delayed again.
    • by jo42 ( 227475 )

      The "iSlate" trademark belongs to Slate Computing: http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4010:tovtfs.2.1 [uspto.gov]

      Various "iPad" trademarks belong to various companies that are not Apple and "iTablet" belongs to some company out of Taiwan.

      If you want to guess what Apple will call it, search the US trademark database to see what trademarks Apple holds...

      • A lot of people predicted that Apple would call their TV thingy an "iTV", except people in Britain who were aware that that is the name of our largest commercial television channel which has been around a lot longer than Apple. In the end it was called the Apple TV, so maybe this will be called the Apple Tablet?

      • This is the same reason everyone said there would be no "iPhone" (it was a Linksys and then Cisco trademark.) I guarantee that Apple can buy off iSlate, iPad, or whatever the hell else they want to call it.

  • If he's just now become happy with the prototype, how are they going to be mass-producing it and selling it in just a month?
  • According to the The Age: apple major product launch set for january 26 [theage.com.au]

    Of course given the date [wikipedia.org] it must be the Ocker [wikipedia.org] version rather than the version

  • As much as I dislike the overhyping (and overpricing) of everything Apple creates, I have to give it to Jobs, for stealing the technical marketing thunder for 2010 with this tablet.

    Here come the endless stories and speculation; the masses of apple fanboys ready to re-mortgage their condo's to pay for this thing, and the articles; OH, THE ARTICLES!

    Dont cha love the 20page reviews with a single paragraph per page and enough ads to lock up your Noscript?

    The guy knows what he's doing. They will sell milli

  • Apple is reportedly close to launching its long-rumored [newstechnica.com] ____. It could be Apple's latest billion-dollar jackpot.

    Analyst speculation says the ___ will be launched in September and be in the shops by Christmas. A new mention of the ___ crops up on Twitter around every eight minutes.

    The ___ is rumoured to be any size and scale between the iPod Shuffle and the Macintosh IIfx. Some have described the ___ as a "___-killer." Analyst speculation suggests the ___ will use a fantastic new interface. "It will be a whole new paradigm," said Apple blogger Leander Kahney.

    Expectations flared when technology research analysts noted that Taiwanese suppliers had received orders from an unknown buyer for a particular obscure component to be filled by the end of the year. "The only possible conclusion is that Apple will launch a ___ by early next year," said Kahney. "They've been working on the ___ for the past six years. People expect it to be the ultimate Apple surprise. This thing will knock people's socks off."

    Apple has refused to comment on the ___ speculation. But Tim Cook, its chief operating officer, recently hinted that the company was working on something "very innovative." Steve Jobs is thought to have been personally involved in the development of the ___ over the past two years.

    Daniel Eran Dilger noted on roughlydrafted.com that the ___ would need to be fueled on pain, angst, the destruction of the ecology, the torture of kittens and the tears of widows and orphans, but put together a devastatingly convincing and very lengthy explanation as to why Apple's actions were the only humanly acceptable option for the consumer, the technology industry and the future of humanity, and that Jobs' Nobel Peace Prize was ridiculously overdue. And that all problems were clearly Microsoft's fault.

  • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Friday December 25, 2009 @03:46PM (#30552242) Homepage

    What horrid timing - they're about a month and a half late, if indeed they do come out with this thing next month. Next month will not only be after Christmas, but it'll also be after this healthcare bill has passed.

    Granted, there weren't too many, if any, "socially big item" releases this Christmas, that I can think of. No new game systems, no special new electronics (though, I'm sure there are netbooks aplenty under trees), no new product from Apple, and all the big PC vendors pretty much stayed stable throughout the year.

    Of course, the "uninsured" demographic will have more money this coming year due to not having to pay hospital bills, which in my experience means the kind of people who buy $3000 Macs as often as it means homeless people. So it might work out for Apple to 'release late' anyway.

    • by Therlin ( 126989 )

      .... or in time for tax refunds... when some people buy a present to themselves, whatever they didn't get for Christmas.

      Apple did say late summer that they weren't releasing any more new products for the year, so they knew the schedule of this product well ahead of time. So I figured that they are just releasing it when it's ready, instead of pushing a product out the door before it's truly ready just to get some extra sales. If the product is indeed a hit and it picks up speed as opposed to fizzling out

    • I imagine we'll be seeing the actual product launch in June/July, with the announcement in January. Same thing they did with the iPhone -- announce it early, let the hype take over for six months, and then launch.

1 Angstrom: measure of computer anxiety = 1000 nail-bytes