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Sources detail physical design of Apple's upcoming tablet device

post #1 of 257
Thread Starter 
When Apple finally takes the wraps off its long-anticipated tablet next Wednesday, the device will strike a familiar chord with owners of the original iPhone, with similarities in industrial design trickling all the way down to the handset's button and connectivity components, AppleInsider has learned.

Nearly two and a half years have passed since AppleInsider exclusively reported in September of 2007 that the Cupertino-based gadget maker planned to follow the blockbuster success of the iPhone with a broader entry into consumer electronics, spearheaded by a completely new category of device akin to a "slate" and reminiscent of a modern-day reincarnation of the company's now defunct Newton tablet.

Since then, Apple has surprised in its capacity to work alongside dozens of partners and still maintain a relatively tight lid of the product's design, feature set, and software-driven functionality. Though recent weeks have been met by a flurry of reports on Apple's likely intentions for the device, a 28-month trail of rumors and speculation have left onlookers with exponentially more questions than answers.

One lingering uncertainty has surrounded the device's aesthetic or, more precisely, what it may look and feel like in a user's hands. According to people familiar with the device, it's largely redolent of a first-generation iPhone that's met its match with a rolling pin.

Of all the mockups and renderings that have surfaced on the Web attempting to depict what the final product will look like, the rendition below created by Flickr user Fotoboer.nl last August is strikingly close to the real deal, those same people say. It would be more precise, they add, if it weren't missing a handful of design elements of the iPhone.

Nestled in an aluminum shell that leverages the Apple's expertise in unibody construction but thinner proportionality than the original iPhone, the tablet reportedly sports all of the same buttons found on the handset, right down to its iconic home button -- which, like the volume toggle, is missing from the rendering.*

*

Similarly, the tablet is said to sport all the same in/out connectivity as the current iPhone 3GS, including a 3.5-mm stereo headphone jack, built-in speaker grills, a* microphone, GPS, 3G connectivity and a 30-pin dock connector. Like the rendering, its 10-inch display is framed by a black border that bleeds into its wrap-around aluminum enclosure.*

Meanwhile, other people with proven track records in predicting Apple's future product designs have recently commented on prototypes of the Apple tablet making the rounds with a baseband chip compatible with CDMA networks like those operated by U.S.-based Verzion Wireless. However, AppleInsider cannot confirm with any degree of certainty that this technology is planned for the shipping version of the product.

For a comprehensive archive of all rumors surrounding Apple's tablet device, readers can check out AppleInsider's Newton and tablet topics pages, or review its exclusive reports on the product (below) dating back to the fall of 2007. Also of potential interest may be a recent feature article: The inside track on Apple's tablet: a history of tablet computing.

Up next for Apple: the return of the Newton - September 2007
Mega Apple filing details next-gen 'multi-touch input surface' - February 2008
Apple details next-gen multi-touch techniques for tablet Macs - August 2008
Apple pushing for patent on versatile tablet docking station - November 2008
Apple orders 10-inch touchscreens for mystery product- March 2009
Apple's much-anticipated tablet device coming early next year - July 2009
Poor bets placed on Apple taking dual tablet route - August 2009
Evidence of Apple's tablet-like input interface reappears - October 2009
Apple confirms Jan. 27 media event to show off 'latest creation' - January 2010
post #2 of 257
What have we just learned here?

I'm getting sick of this. Nothing could live up to this level of hype. Nothing.
post #3 of 257
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

... met its match with a rolling pin.

Ha! Love it.
post #4 of 257
I don't buy the design. Certainly not an alu back. The thing will spend most of its time lying on its back getting scratched up. There will be some other material on the back side. Also don't buy the OSX interface.
post #5 of 257
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpmuk View Post

What have we just learned here?

I'm getting sick of this. Nothing could live up to this level of hype. Nothing.

This is a rumor site.
If you don't expect rumors/learnings, why do you come here?
Same Apple. Same Mac. Different Take. Different Place. http://Applemacness.com
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Same Apple. Same Mac. Different Take. Different Place. http://Applemacness.com
Reply
post #6 of 257
The design in the photo is also a rumour.
post #7 of 257
Except of course there will be no familiar, run anything you like, OS X UI like on Mac's... it will be the iPhone OS and a App Store lock in, unless you jailbreak it and lock yourself out of the App Store and wind up stealing apps as a result. A whole sub-community of hackers and jail breakers will arise.

The App Store will be expanded, MobileMe will be the "cloud" and it will have two models, a cell one and a iPod touch like one, my guess is.

The reason I assume Apple has been able to keep such a good lid on this is because they are using existing iPhone and iPod touch channels, basically a hardware improvement, no new screws to loose and blab.
The danger is that we sleepwalk into a world where cabals of corporations control not only the mainstream devices and the software on them, but also the entire ecosystem of online services around...
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The danger is that we sleepwalk into a world where cabals of corporations control not only the mainstream devices and the software on them, but also the entire ecosystem of online services around...
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post #8 of 257
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

I don't buy the design. Certainly not an alu back. The thing will spend most of its time lying on its back getting scratched up. There will be some other material on the back side. Also don't buy the OSX interface.

Its just a fan rendering - nobody is suggesting that's what it actually looks like

In fact what it looks like is pretty much the least interesting aspect of the device.
post #9 of 257
Quote:
Originally Posted by striker_kk View Post

This is a rumor site.
If you don't expect rumors/learnings, why do you come here?

Seriously. Is it Wednesday yet?
Pity the agnostic dyslectic. They spend all their time contemplating the existence of dog.
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Pity the agnostic dyslectic. They spend all their time contemplating the existence of dog.
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post #10 of 257
I don't understand the connectivity piece. Will iPhone users really pay to add another device to their AT&T bill or will this replace their iPhone?

Agree with paxman on the back of the device - it's got to have small rubberplastic feet to prevent the backside from being a scratched up mess. And if it's a slick as the original iPhone was, it's going to be tough to hang onto.

Less than a week... and we'll all know for sure.
post #11 of 257
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

I don't buy the design. Certainly not an alu back. The thing will spend most of its time lying on its back getting scratched up. There will be some other material on the back side. Also don't buy the OSX interface.

In the past it has usually been the protective case manufacturers that have leaked the form factor of new designs. To date we have not seen any prototypes. This might indicate that the protective cases are incompatible with the possible touch interface on the back. I hope it does include this feature. I never used a protective case anyway. I can live with a few scratches for a less bulky feeling device.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #12 of 257
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Also of potential interest may be a recent feature article: The inside track on Apple's tablet: a history of tablet computing.

Personally, I'd like Prince to rename his first piece into something like "a history of tablet computing: on the eve of tablets" and to present us part 2 being an overview of the evolution of tablet computers and readers.

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

Reply
post #13 of 257
It's nice to see Kasper around, I thought he wasn't with the site anymore.

Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

I don't buy the design. Certainly not an alu back. The thing will spend most of its time lying on its back getting scratched up. There will be some other material on the back side.

I don't know if that's a sufficient rebuttal against the idea. The aluminum shelled notebooks seem to hold up pretty well. My old style 2007 MBP still looks nice, and my sister's early 2006 doesn't look too bad. Assuming it's done like that, the standard tiny bumpers under the corners and a clear anodized surface should make it sufficiently scratch resistant. Definitely more so than plastic, IMO. And you could have the unibody concept lending it rigidity while keeping the number of parts down.

Quote:
Also don't buy the OSX interface.

I understand that one. It is a fan rendering, after all. There's a lot of speculation as to what the UI will be, I don't think it makes sense to say what it won't be, because Apple fans can be wrong about their declarations of what isn't going to be an Apple product. I recall some fans saying the "fat" nano will never happen, the same with the vertical screen nano, premature declarations of the death of the Classic, the leaked photo of the aluminum keyboard was just a "photoshop job" and so on. Whatever it will be, it will be, hopefully people don't stake their reputation on a prediction of any particular detail. I don't even think this upcoming announcement even has to be a tablet, though I think it probably is a tablet in some form. Hopefully it's going to be something good and not a repeat of the overhyped iPod HiFi announcement.
post #14 of 257
As for casing, aluminum one makes sense as a distinction from Touch - iPhone line design.

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

Reply

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

Reply
post #15 of 257
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

It's nice to see Kasper around, I thought he wasn't with the site anymore.

Never left =P

K
EIC- AppleInsider.com
Questions and comments to : kasper@appleinsider.com
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EIC- AppleInsider.com
Questions and comments to : kasper@appleinsider.com
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post #16 of 257


I'm not a big fan of the color, but my kids are going to love it......
post #17 of 257
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

I don't know if that's a sufficient rebuttal against the idea. The aluminum shelled notebooks seem to hold up pretty well. My old style 2007 MBP still looks nice, and my sister's early 2006 doesn't look too bad. Assuming it's done like that, the standard tiny bumpers under the corners and a clear anodized surface should make it sufficiently scratch resistant. Definitely more so than plastic, IMO. And you could have the unibody concept lending it rigidity while keeping the number of parts down.

You obviously look after your MBP better than I do - mine looks like it's been attacked by Edward Scissorhands! Agree with what you say about plastic though, I expect aluminium will hold up better.
post #18 of 257
Hmm... These comments agree with the shot of what looks like a huge iPhone frame fitting over a 10" keyboard. This means ...

nothing.

There have been some very real looking fakes of iPods, iPhones, iMacs, etc posted over the last couple years. I believed a few were real...but they weren't.

BTW, if someone is complaining about speculation, Why are they on a rumor sight? Perhaps they need to look up the word "rumor."
post #19 of 257
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Of all the mockups and renderings that have surfaced on the Web attempting to depict what the final product will look like, the rendition below created by Flickr user Fotoboer.nl last August is strikingly close to the real deal, those same people say.

C'mon AI, surely, you give our own Ireland some credit? This mockup is not much different from his, and I recall that was from ages ago......
post #20 of 257
The iPhone is slippery, but it's compact size means you can grip it. A tablet made from slippery materials will be easily dropped. I am fed up of having to purchase custom cases (that eventually wear out) for my Apple products (not including laptop bags). If the tablet is the same, and requires a case to be grippable, this is going to be BAD news.
Further, I am (really) allergic to ALL Apple's aluminium products (skin cracks and bleeds after 3 to 10 minutes of contact), such as the PowerBooks, MacBooks and even the new keyboards and remote. And I have read some others are too. (I use an external monitor and plastic keyboard on my MacBook Pro and can no longer use it on it's own unless avoiding touching the metal parts.) Anyway, if the tablet is also coated in the same material as their other aly devices, I won't be able to use it because adding a protective case will simply bulk it up.

I hope it is grippy by default, else they will lose a customer.
post #21 of 257
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

I don't buy the design. Certainly not an alu back. The thing will spend most of its time lying on its back getting scratched up. There will be some other material on the back side. Also don't buy the OSX interface.

Yeah, the article says that it is a mock-up that is close in look to the actual device (by luck, not because the artist knew what it looked like).

It's clear that if there is a home button, it's either in a corner of the device (depending on how you hold it), or in the middle of the screen, but the tablet will be Portrait, not Landscape, in use. The mock-up is in Landscape. I.e., it will literally be a giant iPod touch.

And that will be best for full-screen eBooks, magazines and newspapers.

Obviously the device will be rotatable, for games and other types of applications. I expect that even the "desktop" UI of the tablet will adjust to this, not just applications.
post #22 of 257
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

I don't know if that's a sufficient rebuttal against the idea. The aluminum shelled notebooks seem to hold up pretty well. My old style 2007 MBP still looks nice, and my sister's early 2006 doesn't look too bad. Assuming it's done like that, the standard tiny bumpers under the corners and a clear anodized surface should make it sufficiently scratch resistant. Definitely more so than plastic, IMO. And you could have the unibody concept lending it rigidity while keeping the number of parts down.

True - I was seeing as a large iPhone but I agree with you.
Quote:
I understand that one. It is a fan rendering, after all. There's a lot of speculation as to what the UI will be, I don't think it makes sense to say what it won't be, because Apple fans can be wrong about their declarations of what isn't going to be an Apple product. I recall some fans saying the "fat" nano will never happen, the same with the vertical screen nano, premature declarations of the death of the Classic, the leaked photo of the aluminum keyboard was just a "photoshop job" and so on. Whatever it will be, it will be, hopefully people don't stake their reputation on a prediction of any particular detail. I don't even think this upcoming announcement even has to be a tablet, though I think it probably is a tablet in some form. Hopefully it's going to be something good and not a repeat of the overhyped iPod HiFi announcement.

Sure, but the fun is in speculating. This is something new entirely, remember. What I personally believe is that the interface will be much closer to the iPhone / iPod touch. The OSX environment may be available to users but I think probably not. Folders may be available through an app similar to the idisk app on the iPhone. For a living-room device the SL interface is just too finicky and messy imo. If the device will be targeted as a family sharing device (genius marketing), the interface will reflect that. But I do believe it will have some kind of dock as it will be a much 'deeper' device and there will be a need for a more sophisticated navigation.
post #23 of 257
post #24 of 257
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

In the past it has usually been the protective case manufacturers that have leaked the form factor of new designs. To date we have not seen any prototypes. This might indicate that the protective cases are incompatible with the possible touch interface on the back. I hope it does include this feature. I never used a protective case anyway. I can live with a few scratches for a less bulky feeling device.

they're either making their own in-house case, or waiting until the device is announced before releasing specs to 3rd parties, like the original iPHone.
post #25 of 257
The concept shows OSX, but the mystery ARM CPU Apple has supposedly been working on pretty much rules that out, if its true. An upscaled and enhanced Iphone OS is much more likely. Unless Apple has been working away for the last couple of years writing OSX for ARM. Remember, it took them years to write it again when they switched from PowerPC to x86 (years with the help of Intel, which they won't have this time), this isn't something that can be done in a short time.

Anyways, that concept looks damn sexy, thats what matters
post #26 of 257
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

... Like the rendering, its 10-inch display is framed by a black border that bleeds into its wrap-around aluminum enclosure. ...

I'm not sure you guys really understand what the term "bleeds" means in this context.
post #27 of 257
Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedster View Post



I'm not a big fan of the color, but my kids are going to love it......

YES !!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you.
post #28 of 257
Quote:
Originally Posted by MeniThings View Post


Where is the Apple logo? How can one miss it?
Same Apple. Same Mac. Different Take. Different Place. http://Applemacness.com
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Same Apple. Same Mac. Different Take. Different Place. http://Applemacness.com
Reply
post #29 of 257
I can't see an iPad being as thin as an iPhone. It'd be too thin for a device that big.

Holding it for long periods of time would induce pain in the area between the thumb and pointing finger. The underside of the device wouldn't be able to rest on the entire surface of the palm, resting only on the tips of the four fingers, which would also act as a fulcrum with most of the opposing weight pushing up on the meaty part of the thumb/pointing finger junction.

Try it. Grab a hardcover book about the same dimensions as the purported iPad to see what I'm talking about. And don't forget to "type" on the screen. Give it 30 seconds for your wrist to get sore.

It'd either have to be thicker or provide some kind of crazy handle/palm rest underneath.
post #30 of 257
I predict it will look more like a painter's pallet but with a screen on it instead of well's of paint so that you can more easily hold it while working on it with the other hand.
post #31 of 257
Quote:
Originally Posted by tipoo View Post

Remember, it took them years to write it again when they switched from PowerPC to x86 (years with the help of Intel, which they won't have this time), this isn't something that can be done in a short time.

When Apple announced the switch to Intel, Steve revealed that every version of Mac OS X had lived a double life with a complementary Intel version. They had always kept Intel Mac OS X in their back pocket for just such an eventuality. They made have involved Intel at some point when they decided to switch to Intel -- and Steve did say they had an advance look at Intel's processor roadmap -- but in no sense did they require "years of help" from Intel.

But yes, seeing as how iPhone OS already runs on the ARM architecture and Apple owns an ARM chip designer, whatever OS this thing runs will certainly have a lot more in common with iPhone OS than Mac OS X.
post #32 of 257
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

the Cupertino-based gadget maker



Bring on the gadgets!
post #33 of 257
It'll be interesting to see what the base station looks like. Maybe Apple is positioning this to be a TV when docked with their subscription service. I'd expect a remote to ship with it then. This could even replace or complement the AppleTV.
post #34 of 257
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpmuk View Post


I'm getting sick of this. Nothing could live up to this level of hype. Nothing.


Are you going to cry? Perhaps the internet is not for you.
post #35 of 257
I think the form factor will be a wedge similar to the bottom half of the MacBook Air. The wedge shape will allow for easier keyboarding and viewing of content on the screen
post #36 of 257
Quote:
Originally Posted by rrabu View Post

I predict it will look more like a painter's pallet but with a screen on it instead of well's of paint so that you can more easily hold it while working on it with the other hand.

Yes. I thought something like that when I first saw the One-Laptop-per-child tablet.
http://thevibe.socialvibe.com/index....lim-75-tablet/
post #37 of 257
Quote:
Originally Posted by rrabu View Post

I predict it will look more like a painter's pallet but with a screen on it instead of well's of paint so that you can more easily hold it while working on it with the other hand.

Interesting idea...could be cool - then again that OLPC hoop looks nasty
post #38 of 257
Quote:
Originally Posted by macinthe408 View Post

I can't see an iPad being as thin as an iPhone. It'd be too thin for a device that big.

Holding it for long periods of time would induce pain in the area between the thumb and pointing finger. The underside of the device wouldn't be able to rest on the entire surface of the palm, resting only on the tips of the four fingers, which would also act as a fulcrum with most of the opposing weight pushing up on the meaty part of the thumb/pointing finger junction.

Try it. Grab a hardcover book about the same dimensions as the purported iPad to see what I'm talking about. And don't forget to "type" on the screen. Give it 30 seconds for your wrist to get sore.

It'd either have to be thicker or provide some kind of crazy handle/palm rest underneath.

You won't be holding it like an iPhone. You could rest it on you arm and hold it with your fingers at the far end. At least for a little while. I imagine it will live on your lap, mostly. I also wonder if it may have a fold out 'thing' underneath to raise it to 20 - 30 degrees. A bit like the old apple keyboards.
post #39 of 257
If this report is true, then the tablet really is nothing more than an oversized iPod touch. That's incredibly disappointing. I think the tablet could have faired extremely well if it could serve as a casual computer users' sole computer, like a netbook can for a college student or facebook-loving grandparent. But without a USB port and SD card slot, the tablet will have to be an expensive accessory to a real computer. Just like that overpriced, poor-selling MacBook Air.
post #40 of 257
Quote:
Originally Posted by MeniThings View Post


I would hope Apple doesn't start a taper that far from the edges. From my experience, devices with tapers like that tend to rock if you tap near the edge of the screen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by striker_kk View Post

Where is the Apple logo? How can one miss it?

You don't see it?
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