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Apple tablet speculation: production costs, internal components

post #1 of 69
Thread Starter 
With a rumored Jan. 27 event fast approaching, speculation regarding Apple's still-unannounced tablet continues to mount. This week, one analyst shared alleged information on the device's internal components, while another attempted to project the cost of its parts.

Analyst Ashok Kumar of Northeast Securities spoke with AppleInsider this week about the device, which is expected to debut this month and ship in March. Kumar said the tablet processor will be manufactured by Samsung and will be based on the Cortex-A8 ARM architecture. He believes it will have a speed of about 1GHz.

However, some have assumed that the tablet, along with the next iPhone, would be based on ARM's new Cortex-A9 architecture. The reference designs for the next-generation chip allow either two or four cores with a more power efficient design.

Though Intel and its low-power, low-cost Atom processor were rumored in 2007 to be a part of Apple's forthcoming products, it never happened. Since then, it has been believed that Apple's $278 million buyout of fabless chip designer P.A. Semi would allow the company to create its own ARM-based designs for devices.

Ashok also said sources have told him that the tablet will be sold in two ways: a carrier-subsidized model with a wireless data contract, and an unlocked, more expensive model not tied to a wireless provider.

"They're going to have one subsidized and one direct to the consumer model," he said.

Kumar also said the hardware will have a baseband supplied by Infineon, the same as in the iPhone.

In November, he also told AppleInsider that a CDMA-only iPhone with a chipset from Qualcomm will be released for the Verizon network in the U.S. in 2010. He said a new dual-mode chip from Qualcomm will not be available in time for a summer 2010 launch for the new iPhone.

Last fall, Kumar correctly stated that Google would release its own custom-built handset. The Nexus One was officially unveiled by Google Tuesday. However, Kumar was also criticized after he noted that iPhone sales in China were "disappointing" before the device was even on sale.

Also this week, Jeffrey Fidacaro of Susquehanna Financial provided a projection of how much the internal components of Apple's tablet might cost -- without even knowing for sure what they are. The details were revealed in a note to investors this week, as relayed by Fortune Brainstorm Tech.

While the calculated $340 cost of components has been widely reported, that total is based on the inclusion of a 4200rpm 160GB hard disk drive. Given Apple's push for solid state drives and NAND flash memory in its mobile devices, it is unlikely that the Apple tablet would include a spinning hard drive.

Fidacaro said if Apple opts for a 128GB SSD, it would add several hundred dollars to the cost of the device.

The analyst also assumes the device will run on an Intel Atom processor, would include 2GB of DRAM, and sport a 3.2 megapixel camera. If Apple went with an ARM-based processor, Fidacaro said, the tablet's cost could be reduced by as much as $50.

Susquehanna Financial Group estimates, via Fortune Brainstorm Tech.

Apple's tablet is expected to be unveiled this month at an event on Wednesday, Jan. 27. Analysts expect it to cost less than $1,000 and to compete with both the e-book and netbook markets.
post #2 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

that total is based on the inclusion of a 4200rpm 160GB hard disk drive


P.S. Surprisingly, those "scans" of "internal Apple documents" saying "Upto widget based" are not on the frontpage of the site yet.

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post #3 of 69
Calculating cost on a device very few people have actually seen, is either very brave or very stupid.
I'm guessing the latter.

20 more days of these analysts, analyzing the hell out of this not-yet-seen product.. yippee..
post #4 of 69
Quote:
Kumar said the tablet processor will be manufactured by Samsung and will be based on the Cortex-A8 ARM architecture. He believes it will have a speed of about 1GHz.


BULLSH*T.


First off, Apple has virtually removed all MacBook's from it's lineup except the wildly popular white MacBook. So something has to go there and it won't be a weak 1Ghz machine that's for sure. Not with the GUI UI and fancy effects like Coverflow that Apple likes to do to make hardware sales.


Second Samsung is a competitor to Apple, they copy anything and invade markets. Why do business with that when you can do it all yourself with companies that don't have a retail front?

ARM? don't think so, Intel has got a lineup of multi-core cool processors and cheap prices and lots of volume potential. ARM copies Intel and has to follow them in order to keep it's processors able to run the majority of software out there, it's a niche player now.


Apple could use their PA Semi, it's a hell of a risk though, a new market with a new processor and lots of unforeseeable problems that can ruin their chances of success. I say they use Intel first and then later gradually introduce their chips, but I don't think they can bring the price per unit down enough.


Kumar should just shut the fsck up.
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post #5 of 69
I predict it will cost "an undiscolsed amount of money" will run "some sort of CPU" along with "some sort of GPU".

Moreover, I predict it will have an "installed OS resembling OSX". Ah, yes "it will be designed in Cupertino and made in China".


Someone cares to offer me a job in financial analysis? I think, with these bold predictions, that I am ready for primetime in Wall Street
post #6 of 69
Imagine the media frenzy with that one. All speculation...Think I am going to skip reading the www.appleinsider.com until Jan 28th....

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post #7 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTripper View Post

BULLSH*T. Samsung is a competitor to Apple, they copy anything and invade markets. Why do business with that when you can do it all yourself with companies that don't have a retail front?

Agreed. As soon as I saw "Samsung" listed I was like "Whaaaaat??" Besides, I thought we already had manufacturing leaks from Foxconn?
post #8 of 69
Well from what folks have been saying and asking fro, Apple BETTER have a tablet starting around $399.00 or it will not be as big a deal as we hoped.

YES the iPhone would sell a TON more at $199.00 or lower, and the same will go for the "AppleTab". And as for subsidizing it, what in hell is that all about. Cut the sale of these by 75% or more, if you can't get one to use, without being tied to some damn Verizon, AT&T contract or whatever.

This WILL be an interesting next 20 days or so (and way to long a wait to get the final answers).

My next question is, when will we start hearing something, anything about the next Desktop Units (formally known as COMPUTERS), Monitors, or anything else that Apple USE to be known for.

Skip
post #9 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTripper View Post

BULLSH*T.


First off, Apple has virtually removed all MacBook's from it's lineup except the wildly popular white MacBook. So something has to go there and it won't be a weak 1Ghz machine that's for sure.


Second Samsung is a competitor to Apple, they copy anything and invade markets. Why do business with that when you can do it all yourself with companies that don't have a retail front?

ARM? don't think so, Intel has got a lineup of multi-core cool processors and cheap prices and lots of volume potential. ARM copies Intel and has to follow them in order to keep it's processors able to run the majority of software out there, it's a niche player now.


Kumar should just shut the fsck up.


Good Lord you're an idiot.

The MacBook is going nowhere so I have no idea what you are talking about.

Samsung have supplied Apple for years with components for the iPhone and iPods

It is highly probable the processors will dual A9's. ARM don't just copy Intel (where do you get this shit from?) and the ARM's are considered superior to any of the Atom's so far.

post #10 of 69
My prediction for iSlate launch cost: $900 - $1200
post #11 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by ncee View Post

Well from what folks have been saying and asking fro, Apple BETTER have a tablet starting around $399.00 or it will not be as big a deal as we hoped. ...

Unless it's subsidised, you will definitely not see an Apple tablet at $399.00.

The tablet is intended to replace the netbook form factor. Any decent netbook (that works) is between $600 and $800. Also, like most PC's, netbooks have razor thin margins.

Why would Apple make an advanced technology fancy replacement for a netbook and then price it lower than the lowest price POS netbook on the market? Apple also historically never goes below retail style margins (30% or so) although they've dipped a bit lately. Even if the hardware cost was identical, you would see the Apple tablet at 10 or 20% higher than the comparable netbook hardware.
post #12 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinney57 View Post

My prediction for iSlate launch cost: $900 - $1200

Remember the Newton?

If it costs anywhere near 1000, then what´s the edge of this machine over a laptop?

The idea is to get some additional portability/functionality but factoring in the downside of a tablet too (no file saving, limited capability of software, etc.), which means selling it for less than a Macbook. Guess some still think that they are not competing products....

It´s too soon to speculate.
post #13 of 69
I was doing some brainstorming here with a friend - What if
The new Apple tablet would also replace the Apple TV or allow you to browse the internet on your TV wirelessly from your sofa. How much value would something like that add to it?
post #14 of 69
Tablet (if exists) will be expensive enough (exact price will depend on what 'expensive' means on the market). Period.

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post #15 of 69
Apple's Disinformation campaign is in full swing.. just 20 more days of breadcrumbs until someone can claim top honors at the 2010 Slate Precognition Awards.
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post #16 of 69
It would be fantastic if the Apple tablet has an Intel atom inside, because that means Mac OS X (touch) inside. Even if it has reduced battery life.
post #17 of 69
Using a multicore version of the IPhone Samsung ARM chip would make sense. It would enable the iPhone software to run efficiently plus have capacity for additional processing needs.

Meanwhile, Google is closing the gap with the Nexus versus the iPhone. They sure moved fast. I imagine they will have a tablet too.
post #18 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by ncee View Post

Well from what folks have been saying and asking fro, Apple BETTER have a tablet starting around $399.00 or it will not be as big a deal as we hoped.

YES the iPhone would sell a TON more at $199.00 or lower, and the same will go for the "AppleTab". And as for subsidizing it, what in hell is that all about. Cut the sale of these by 75% or more, if you can't get one to use, without being tied to some damn Verizon, AT&T contract or whatever.

This WILL be an interesting next 20 days or so (and way to long a wait to get the final answers).

My next question is, when will we start hearing something, anything about the next Desktop Units (formally known as COMPUTERS), Monitors, or anything else that Apple USE to be known for.

Skip

Have you been paying attention to the products coming to the market right now? $399.99 would be budget priced (it might be possible with a carrier subsidy, although I would still expect it to be at least $100 more than that).
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post #19 of 69
They lost me at 'Hard disk drive'.
post #20 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by zunx View Post

It would be fantastic if the Apple tablet has an Intel atom inside, because that means Mac OS X (touch) inside. Even if it has reduced battery life.

I don't think OSX touch would be fantastic in a tablet. Windows 7 comes with built in tablet and multi touch support, it certainly isn't a fantastic tablet OS. As long as you remain married to an OS and legacy applications designed for use with a keyboard and a mouse, you will not have a great tablet operating system. I think this will run an updated variant of iPhone OS, thus Atom is likely out.

I can't see Arm Cortex A8 in this thing either. The A9 seems to be by far the most likely, you would want to bump the specs of the tablet (over the iPhone) just because of the increase in screen resolution alone. Additional features like multitasking and more powerful apps will also want increased horsepower (and dual core). The biggest question to me is who makes the chip. Will it be Samsung as suggested here, or one from PA Semi?
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post #21 of 69
My bets are on PA Semi producing a custom designed ARM Cortex A9 chip And I bet it's the mystical iPr0n that was referenced earlier in the iPhone OS builds...
post #22 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by zunx View Post

It would be fantastic if the Apple tablet has an Intel atom inside, because that means Mac OS X (touch) inside. Even if it has reduced battery life.

Yeah, fantastic. Within days people will be making hackinslates from the slew of other atom-based cheapo tablets that will be on the market.
post #23 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by bartfat View Post

My bets are on PA Semi producing a custom designed ARM Cortex A9 chip

What are you betting? $100? I'll take that bet.
post #24 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinney57 View Post

The MacBook is going nowhere so I have no idea what you are talking about.

Where have you been, living in a cave?

The MacBook line has been reduced to one model, the white one.


Quote:
Samsung have supplied Apple for years with components for the iPhone and iPods

Components are a different story. You think Apple is going to let out that the iTablet is just a device from Samsung with a sticker change?

Quote:
It is highly probable the processors will dual A9's. ARM don't just copy Intel (where do you get this shit from?) and the ARM's are considered superior to any of the Atom's so far.

ARM doesn't copy Intel, but it has to make it compatible, not a whole different processor family like PowerPC was my point. Still they don't have the volume or else Apple would have made all Mac's ARM processors from the very start of the switch. Apple plans on iTablet being the next computer of the future, so much that it's going to replace the MacBook and work it's way up, so that means volume sales and no ARM.
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post #25 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

4200rpm 160GB hard disk drive...128GB SSD...Intel Atom processor...2GB of DRAM...3.2 megapixel camera.

Anyone want to bet that none of that is accurate?

(It may ship with 128GB of flash, but iPhone flash != SSD flash)
post #26 of 69
I don't think it's wise to assume that the display would cost $50. Considering how Apple usually changes the paradigm of interfaces, it's probably not a safe bet to assume the display will be a standard plate of glass like everyone else is using.

When the rumors first started for Apple's tablet project, the biggest difference between it and the iPhone's initial buzz was the smartphone market had a large selection of crap for the iPhone to outshine and embarrass. That eclipse-effect is a crucial part of the Apple mystique. A few months ago there was no chance for Apple to tap into that effect because there was no such swarm of tablets/e-readers for an Apple product to outshine. BOY - in just a matter of months Apple's reputation and rumors have brought us to a CES 2010 that just gave Apple the gift of an abundance of blah tablets for Apple to steamroll.
post #27 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwee View Post

Calculating cost on a device very few people have actually seen, is either very brave or very stupid.
I'm guessing the latter.

i have to agree.

it also seems like they are basing a lot on the notion of this as a scaled down computer, not an upscaled iphone (which the dominant rumor).

Assuming that an event is happening later this month (has it actually been confirmed from Apple) it will be interesting to see what is announced in regards to the tablet, if anything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by macinthe408 View Post

They lost me at 'Hard disk drive'.

agreed. this device is meant to be portable. and Apple is shifting all portables to solid state as the prices reach reasonable levels.

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post #28 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hal 9000 View Post

The idea is to get some additional portability/functionality but factoring in the downside of a tablet too (no file saving, limited capability of software, etc.)

Where in the world did you get those down-sides from?

The software would be limited by the hardware, sure. But that will put it on par with comparable netbooks, but gaining the benefit of having a trimmed down and specially tuned OS and apps, rather than desktop OS and apps. If anything, the software on the tablet will be superior to a netbook in every way except for typing.

No file saving? I can save files on the iPhone. Why would that change? The limited file management on the iPhone is more a side effect of the security model. I'm expecting even better access to the media stores and a more-general Newton-style shared-data store. But they certainly won't go backwards.

And the tablet doesn't need an 'advantage' over a laptop. That's like asking what is the advantage of a Shuffle over a Nano; or a Nano over a Touch.

They're different things for different people with different needs.
post #29 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTripper View Post

Where have you been, living in a cave?

The MacBook line has been reduced to one model, the white one.

The MacBook has always had one case design. Once with a 2 colours and a few different performance configs, but the same design. Before that the iBook had two sizes and multiple performance configs so I guess your argument that Apples low end was dying could be made from the time Apple introduced the MacBook.

So they have one configuration for the MacBook while the 13 MBP for $200 more is the machine people buying more. That is a problem for you? Im sure its not a problem for Apple. Note that a tablet is not a replacement for a notebook. The do different things in different ways.

Quote:
Components are a different story. You think Apple is going to let out that the iTablet is just a device from Samsung with a sticker change?

Since when isnt a processor a component?
Quote:
Kumar said the tablet processor will be manufactured by Samsung

As ts been pointed out, Samsung and Apple have a long history of working together.

Quote:
ARM doesn't copy Intel, but it has to make it compatible, not a whole different processor family like PowerPC was my point. Still they don't have the volume or else Apple would have made all Mac's ARM processors from the very start of the switch. Apple plans on iTablet being the next computer of the future, so much that it's going to replace the MacBook and work it's way up, so that means volume sales and no ARM.

You clearly stated:
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTripper

ARM copies Intel

You have failed to see that ARM doesnt need to x86 derivative to run. Its much more efficient than Atom and is much more likely for a tablet than anything Intel produces.

Youre stated that ARM has to follow Intel, that ARM should somehow be running x86 apps and yet youve failed to see that every mobile, PMP, and 100s of millions of other devices run on ARM processors. Not exactly the niche player you think it is. Im sure even the HP Slate has ARM processors in it.

if you start with a bad foundation its hard to build a decent house. Perhaps you need to stop looking at a tablet as a slightly thinner ModBook, but as an accessory device synced through iTunes and designed to take over certain tasks of your PC, not replace it.
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post #30 of 69
Here's the breakdown of a netbook. $198 hardware cost!
Pretty amazing when compared to projected Apple iSlate costs.



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post #31 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by ncee View Post

Well from what folks have been saying and asking fro, Apple BETTER have a tablet starting around $399.00 or it will not be as big a deal as we hoped.

Is that $399 with or without a carrier subsidy? An unlooked Google phone is over $500. Apple's tablet will with have 4x the screen size, a more powerful processor and graphics chip to run it, more memory, larger battery, etc, etc. If there is an unlocked version of the Apple tablet, don't expect it to cost less than $900.
post #32 of 69
@ vinney57, @bartfat: I agree.
I would think they'd want to keep it cheaper than the macbook, so $699-$899.
But they might first play on the "cool factor", like the old "black tax" on macbooks, so @vinney57 pricing looks more realistic there.
They'll probably go with dual ARM to get as high performance as possible; even if they only match the 3GSs battery life with the bigger cell the tab will have.

The perf. expectation will be an awesome netbook, like an ION; instead of a huge iPhone. So they'll need all the processor they can afford. Lack of multitasking will probably be wildly unacceptable.


I thought one of the big issues with the ArrogantPad was that the multi-touch panel alone would cost ~$200. So I think @c4rlob is right on.
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post #33 of 69
Why do I feel like this is another of Apple's famous leaks to mislead the competition (i.e., Microsoft and HP). It doesn't make sense that both the iPhone and the tablet would have a 1GHz processor, the same as the Nexus One. There has to be some kind of difference between the next iteration of the iPhone, which should have a similar processor as the Nexus (assuming that it wants to compete with the Nexus) and the tablet. Now, if it's a multi-core Cortex-A9, I understand a 1GHZ processor, but this guy is speculating that it will have a Cortex-A8.
post #34 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTripper View Post

The MacBook line has been reduced to one model, the white one.

They also refreshed that model in a "unibody" design. They wouldn't do that for a product that they are phasing out.

I find it hard to believe that apple will put the tablet in a position to replace a macbook. Why replace your top selling model (although they have done it before)? I think they would rather have you buy both if possible. I think they will try really hard to position it as a companion device (maybe even allowing the tablet to become a secondary screen/input device for your mac). Of course, a tablet will likely replace a macbook for some people. I just don't see that as an ultimate goal.
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post #35 of 69
uh no.

they want to catch the young ones, get to them early so they will go Mac. And the women. Women are totally ignored by technology even today. Everything is so guy focused.

But the Apple Tablet will be fun, sleek, hip, and sexy. Cool for the ladies and the men.

So there's only way to market this baby. 3 people, unified message. You get the women, the teens (boys included) and there's even some muscle for those that want a sense of power. It's totally hawt. Plus they have all been seen time and again by the Paparazzi with their iphones so it's totally logical they would step up.

That's right folks, tremble with fear cause the Twilight Trio is going to be pimping the new Apple tablet.

You heard it here. I have insider sources. this is NOT a rumor, it is fact.

And not only that but they are going to have a special edition Twilight Tablet that is packed with photos, music (from the soundtracks and the kids Celebrity Playlists plus RPatz soon to be released digital EP) and the already released movies. Plus everyone that buys the Twilight Tablet will have the satisfaction of knowing that they are making a donation to SPCSV (that's the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Sparkly Vampires)

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post #36 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by gmeader View Post

Here's the breakdown of a netbook. $198 hardware cost!
Pretty amazing when compared to projected Apple iSlate costs.

I lost track of how many of those items are obviously inferior to what Apple is using. So it's not that amazing at all. To paraphrase Steve, anyone can make a crapbook.
post #37 of 69
I think many are missing the uses of the apple tablet. For the "only a full macos x will do" people, it only needs to be a roaming access to all your other computers. Sure, you will be able to store some files on it, but 128 gigs? what for? My iphone has all the "files" I need in 32 Gb of flash- all the other files and macos (or windows) applications you need will be on your home computer, readily accessible by wifi, and (unlike the iphone, where you can already do this) readable on the 10 or so inch screen. Merely fire up any vnc client and there you are, on your home desktop. You can then do anything you can do on your home computer from your sofa, or with.proper configuration, anywhere in the world, When away from home (or work), in portable mode, the iphone type interface and os will do nicely, for whatever native apps you want. The best of both worlds.
post #38 of 69
I think there will be 2 cameras. Front and back.
post #39 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

uh no.

they want to catch the young ones, get to them early so they will go Mac. And the women. Women are totally ignored by technology even today. Everything is so guy focused.

But the Apple Tablet will be fun, sleek, hip, and sexy. Cool for the ladies and the men.

So there's only way to market this baby. 3 people, unified message. You get the women, the teens (boys included) and there's even some muscle for those that want a sense of power. It's totally hawt. Plus they have all been seen time and again by the Paparazzi with their iphones so it's totally logical they would step up.

That's right folks, tremble with fear cause the Twilight Trio is going to be pimping the new Apple tablet.

You heard it here. I have insider sources. this is NOT a rumor, it is fact.

And not only that but they are going to have a special edition Twilight Tablet that is packed with photos, music (from the soundtracks and the kids Celebrity Playlists plus RPatz soon to be released digital EP) and the already released movies. Plus everyone that buys the Twilight Tablet will have the satisfaction of knowing that they are making a donation to SPCSV (that's the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Sparkly Vampires)

I was laughing so hard at this I actually almost typed "lol" as my password! Sorry I can't see apple putting all of their eggs in the Twilight Basket, that market would cover lonely females and 13yr old girls.

Still nice try ..
post #40 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsnaulty View Post

I think many are missing the uses of the apple tablet. For the "only a full macos x will do" people, it only needs to be a roaming access to all your other computers. Sure, you will be able to store some files on it, but 128 gigs? what for? My iphone has all the "files" I need in 32 Gb of flash- all the other files and macos (or windows) applications you need will be on your home computer, readily accessible by wifi, and (unlike the iphone, where you can already do this) readable on the 10 or so inch screen. Merely fire up any vnc client and there you are, on your home desktop. You can then do anything you can do on your home computer from your sofa, or with.proper configuration, anywhere in the world, When away from home (or work), in portable mode, the iphone type interface and os will do nicely, for whatever native apps you want. The best of both worlds.

This reminded me of two things that I've considered might be in the tablet in the past.
1) Wireless syncing, it's time
2) Apple could introduce their own vnc client that works through mobileme, bringing remote computing to the masses. If not there are plently of vnc clients already on the iPhone that will also work on a tablet, so you are right... people will be able to utilize the full computing power of their home computers if they so desire.

Another option would be to allow app specific vnc clients to reduce lag. For example you could have photoshop on the tablet and your mac/pc. From the photoshop app you would instruct the computer to open photoshop. From that point on, only the necessary inputs would be transmitted between the two devices. The app would contain all the menus and tools needed to work in a touch friendly interface and would only need to transmit instructions when you had to manipulate the image. No more clicking on "file" then transmitting the instruction to the computer, waiting for the updated image with the file menu open to be sent to you, then clicking on "open" and transmitting that and waiting once again. When working on a picture, you could select the area you wanted to crop or whatever before any communication is sent between the two devices. Once you've selected what you wanted to do, that information would be transmitted to your computer and photoshop would do the work and send the image back to you. Of course this could also be done with a cloud based server instead of your computer. An implementation like that would make the whole vnc process a lot more seamless and it would feel like all the work was being done on the tablet.
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