Originally Posted by addabox
I think the general outlines of an Apple tablet are pretty clearly laid out in two articles: John Gruber at Daring Fireball
and John Siracusa at Ars Technica.
John S. Article pretty much reflects what I've been saying and expect. The only thing that I disagree with is the performance of the PA Semi chip. I'm fully expecting bleeding edge performance. If that wasn't Apples goal they would never have purchased PA as there is plenty of suitable ARM hardware already on the market.
So I'm expecting a PA chip that is very focused integration wise. Keeping the pheripheral set minimal reduces wasted die space freeing it up for other uses. One of those uses might be a full video buffer memory for the GPU. That is one possibility but at 40 nm there are many possibilities. For example SMP support which would have a dramatic impact on performance.
They're not entirely on the same page, but where they overlap tells the tale, IMO.
Yep, but I lean more to John S's view than the other. I'm very much of the opinion that the writing is already on the wall, all you need to do is look for it. However I do need to state that Apple has unlimited freedom to expand Cocoa Touch in any way they want. That would include new input methods.
An Apple tablet won't have anything spectacular or surprising on the hardware side, and be a slim, small bezeled 10" (or whatever) LCD touch tablet with few physical buttons and pretty main stream innards-- 64 to 128 Gb flash storage, no optical drive, possibly a PA Semi enhanced chip set, WiFi, Bluetooth, and fewer ports than some people want. Apple will brag about how skinny and light it is, pundits will question the tradeoffs made vs. battery life.
Interesting your comments about ports as it is almost a given there will be less there than many of us want. In the end I would like to see Apple offer up a commercial version that supports snapping on accessory hardware like barcode readers, IR thermometer or what ever the imagination can come up with.
Given that that is unlikely I would like to see at least one USB host port using a standard connector. Of course the dock port would be there for slave access. Finally a general purpose switch to supplement the home button, that would work as a shutter release in the camera app but would otherwise be general purpose.
It also won't feature any jaw dropping innovations on the software side, although it will not simply be a big iPod or a keyboard-less MacBook.
This I'm not so clear on. I fully expect more "stuff" than the current iPhone implementation. There will be frameworks to support books and albums for example. Apple could also surprise us with new input methods like voice or handwriting recognition. The tablet needs something more than touch screen keyboards for input of text.
What will distinguish an Apple tablet, however, is a whole bunch of very careful, very well though out optimizations arising from what Apple has decided the most common use cases will be. That, of course, will be the kind of thing that doesn't impress a certain segment, who will dismiss the tablet as old tech and me-too ism, and have a lot to say about how the Apple faithful think Apple innovates when it just markets.
I found the above perplexing. Certainly you can see the innovation in the iPhone right? Making something profoundly easier to use is innovation. I mean what are you expecting some sort of cybernetic cyborg implant to go along with each tablet to effect a new man-machine interface?
What could well make the tablet a success, however, are just those optimizations, plus relentless leveraging of the iTunes and App Stores, which give Apple a huge installed based of ready and willing credit card numbers. "Ease of use", after all, includes the whole process of acquiring, paying for and using media and software.
This is certainly true. App store has driven iPhone sales in a beautiful fashion. In fact I don't think iPhone would be the success it is today without app store.
It's funny, because as Siracusa lays out, the parts are all there in plain site and don't require magic new Apple breakthroughs. It's just that making a really well thought out, fun to use tablet that drastically reduces the friction involved with getting a lot of stuff on the thing isn't teh sexy. It's just a matter of putting the pieces together in a way that works really well. Since Apple happens to be as good or better than anybody at putting the pieces together really well, I think one would be pretty shortsighted to dismiss their tablet as being pointless.
True again but we really won't know until it debuts. The problem is there are millions of ways to put that tablet together. It is the combination of features and access that will make or break the unit. Personally if they make the unit to cloud centric and make it difficult for users to access the unit then there will be problems. Finally it needs to support multitasking of user apps. In any event I agree in the sense that you can't dismiss the thing until you see it and experience it.
One more thing, the Johns are expecting a modestly performant unit with nothing dramatic to be said for the CPU. Right now I see this as a mistake, because I believe they (Apple) will leverage GCD and OpenCL on the unit. While I expect the ARM chip to be industry leading and SMP capable there are already plenty of competing chips on the market. Apple will likely take their small bleeding edge advantage and leverage it heavily with the software tech that GCD and OpenCL provide. So like iPhone the tablet will compete very well against similar hardware. I suspect people will be very pleased with the performance, especially for a battery powered device.