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What if *this* is Apple's "revolutionary" new product?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
We've all been speculating about the new "revolutionary" product that Apple will supposedly release, but none of the theories seem truly revolutionary. A digital camera? Uh... not really. The new iMac? Please. It's just another computer. A portable tablet? Kind of an expensive "value added" device, don't you think? And who needs a Newton on steroids?

But maybe the new device *is* an iMac, but not just a "new" iMac. Rather, it's an iMac *and* a detachable portable touchscreen tablet, built in. That's right... the DVD or CD-RW drive and power connections are built into a basestation of sorts, with the "monitor" being the detachable tablet. The hard drive would be also built into the tablet, along with all the connections (USB, FireWire, etc.)

Imagine... Junior has just uploaded Christmas photos to his website, and he wants to show Mom his handiwork. But she's downstairs in the kitchen and doesn't want to come upstairs to look at the computer. So, Junior, using his nifty new iMac, detaches the screen, and thanks to Airport, brings it downstairs to show Mom. Using the built-in stylus for the touchscreen, and the easy-to-navigate OS X interface, he walks Mom through his website while she puts the dishes in the dishwasher. Then, he leaves the tablet on the coffee table, so Dad can use it to check up on ESPN.com once he arrives home.

Imagine the freedom you'd have with this kind of setup. The detachable screen allows you take information anywhere throughout your home, and could also be used outside the home as well, like in a classroom setting. However, the built-in rechargeable battery, similiar in concept to the iPod, limits the tablet's ability to only a couple of hours away from the iMac's base. You see, the detachable tablet is designed for portability and convenience, but not as a replacement for an iBook or other portable computer.

Would the cost of this new iMac be more expensive than the current pricing? Well, of course. But I think once people realize the freedom this gives them, not just as a computer, but as a portable information device, would be willing to pay extra for something like this. And it certainly would be revolutionary. I don't know of any other system designed like this.

What do you think? (I'm writing this in the middle of the night, so I could simply be crazy.)

[ 12-30-2001: Message edited by: Gandalf the Semi-Coherent ]</p>
post #2 of 27
Don't worry, you *are* crazy...
I would L.O.V.E. it. (Have you already seen this page on <a href="http://http://theregister.co.uk/content/archive/19486.html" target="_blank">The Register</a>? This is what I dream of, too. You could also have a no screen option, the Gigawire port (1600 Mb/s fibreoptical) on the rear enabling you to hook up several of the boxes to make a nifty cluster (with G3, G4, G5(even more unlikely, but anyways) at home, shall you need something like that... .
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post #3 of 27
There will NOT be a tablet incorporated in to the new iMac. This would be too expensive for a "consumer" machine, and of dubious value.

For this detachable screen to work, it would need a cord. Without a cord, then forget about transfering display data to the tablet from the base, no affordable wireless technology could do it.
post #4 of 27
[quote]Originally posted by Junkyard Dawg:
<strong>There will NOT be a tablet incorporated in to the new iMac. This would be too expensive for a "consumer" machine, and of dubious value.

For this detachable screen to work, it would need a cord. Without a cord, then forget about transfering display data to the tablet from the base, no affordable wireless technology could do it.</strong><hr></blockquote>
I'm afraid, you are right. Unless - maybe something similar to an X server-like Quartz service? Just an idea, I don't think my dream will come true anytime soon. (Just like the self-indexing and completely searchable file system, the multiply sortable finder columns with search categories of you choice which can be ordered by choosing subsequently lower subcategories with apple-click. Oh and MacOSX becoming completely multithreaded itself, or magic file numbers enabling automatic file updates/creation and a persistent journaling file system or ...)
Still love Macs, though.

[ 12-30-2001: Message edited by: heinzel ]</p>
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post #5 of 27
[quote]Originally posted by Junkyard Dawg:
<strong>There will NOT be a tablet incorporated in to the new iMac. This would be too expensive for a "consumer" machine, and of dubious value.

For this detachable screen to work, it would need a cord. Without a cord, then forget about transfering display data to the tablet from the base, no affordable wireless technology could do it.</strong><hr></blockquote>

What are you talking about and WHY to you come off sounding like your word is the be all end all truth?!?!? Oh and not to burst your bubble or anything but you are WRONG...

802.11a can do exacty what a tablet would require and it can do it now. Lucent and Sharp (I think) just had a demo this Fall where they sent HDTV video via 802.11a to an LCD display some 80+ feet away.

If 802.11 can do HDTV then it can do computer video.

Dave
Apple Fanboy: Anyone who started liking Apple before I did!
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post #6 of 27
[quote]Originally posted by Gandalf the Semi-Coherent:
<strong>We've all been speculating about the new "revolutionary" product that Apple will supposedly release, but none of the theories seem truly revolutionary.</strong><hr></blockquote>Yeah, but remember that the iPod was going to be "revolutionary" too, and it turned out to just be an MP3 player.
post #7 of 27
[quote]Originally posted by BRussell:
<strong>Yeah, but remember that the iPod was going to be "revolutionary" too, and it turned out to just be an MP3 player.</strong><hr></blockquote>

As I recall, the product invitation for the iPod stated "Breakthrough", not revolutionary.
post #8 of 27
[quote]Originally posted by heinzel:
<strong>I'm afraid, you are right. Unless - maybe something similar to an X server-like Quartz service?</strong><hr></blockquote>Quartz is already implemented as a client-server architecture, and all of the hooks are there. Apple's said before that it's relatively easy to do this; they just wanted to leave it open to a third party, apparently. [quote]<strong>Just an idea, I don't think my dream will come true anytime soon. (Just like . . . MacOSX becoming completely multithreaded itself . . .</strong><hr></blockquote>Apple has been working very steadily toward making Mac OS X fully reentrant, and as they do this, more of the core system is becomming multithreaded. As a general rule, all Carbon toolkits introduced in or after System 7 are already fully reentrant and probably multithreaded to some degree, while anything Cocoa related or calls introduced before System 7 (and their Carbon equivalents) are currently generally not reentrant and not very multithreaded. Apple has stated that their goal is to get the entire toolkit reetrant and to tremendously increase the degree of threading in the OS. So while we may not see it soon, maybe around OS XI we will.

[EDIT: That said, this won't happen, for the same reason that I'll be dumbfounded if we see LCD-based iMacs period. An iBook is essentially what an LCD iMac would be. You're not going to shave off much cost by allowing the internals to take up more room, and even if you do, you'll lose it immediately by going to the bigger screen expected on the desktop -- especially if that screen is the TiBook's 15.4" whopper, as the rumors would lead us to believe. That screen costs, what, $500, $600? And we need to also cram in G4s, loads of RAM, and GeForces into these things and keep the $900 entry point? Not happening.]

[ 12-30-2001: Message edited by: BlueGecko ]</p>
post #9 of 27
[quote]Originally posted by DaveGee:
<strong>If 802.11 can do HDTV then it can do computer video.</strong><hr></blockquote>

I don't disagree with the conclusion, but the argument is fallacious -- HDTV is an MPEG-compressed datastream, usually between 15 and 20 Megabits/sec. The compression (which is significant) is performed by *extraordinarily* expensive dedicated equipment, and MPEG is intended more for video than graphics.

Regardless of the plausibility of sending screen data over Airport, I must admit that I'm drawn in by the idea of the tablet being essentially an iBook minus keyboard, trackpad, and CD-ROM drive, which are contained in/attached to a base. The only real problem with this is that it would cost a bit more than an iBook, and while I personally see the advantages of, and would buy, any Mac tablet thing, it isn't clear where this particular device would fit in the Apple lineup.

If they do figure out how to make a tablet a "remote screen" to any Airport-equipped Mac, however, this could cost less than an iBook, and I think it would be a good product. Unfortunately, I still don't see it in the crystal ball.

Alex
post #10 of 27
[quote]Originally posted by DaveGee:
<strong>802.11a can do exacty what a tablet would require and it can do it now. Lucent and Sharp (I think) just had a demo this Fall where they sent HDTV video via 802.11a to an LCD display some 80+ feet away.

If 802.11 can do HDTV then it can do computer video.

Dave</strong><hr></blockquote>

Assuming that the iMac is a 15" LCD, it'd probably have a native res of 1024x768. This is significantly higher then HDTV so I guess it'd take significantly more bandwith to send. Of course there's also the fact that you'd have to share that bandwidth with disk access.

Who knows though, perhpas Gigawire is a 1600 mbps wireless protocall so there'd be plenty of bandwith . I do find it unlikely that we'll be seeing any detachable tablet in a $900 machine though. I guess we'll just have to wait & see!

BlueGecko It is to my understanding that LCD monitors are cheaper to make then laptop screens because of the thickness factor that the laptops need (power requirements too?). Perhaps I'm mistaken.
post #11 of 27
[quote]Originally posted by DaveGee:
<strong>

What are you talking about and WHY to you come off sounding like your word is the be all end all truth?!?!? Oh and not to burst your bubble or anything but you are WRONG...

802.11a can do exacty what a tablet would require and it can do it now. Lucent and Sharp (I think) just had a demo this Fall where they sent HDTV video via 802.11a to an LCD display some 80+ feet away.

If 802.11 can do HDTV then it can do computer video.

Dave</strong><hr></blockquote>

you're wrong.

JD is right
post #12 of 27
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by X704:
<strong>I do find it unlikely that we'll be seeing any detachable tablet in a $900 machine though. I guess we'll just have to wait & see!</strong><hr></blockquote>

Just to clarify... I *never* said that this type of iMac would be in the $900 range. I specifically pointed out that it would be considerably more expensive across the line. My theory was that Apple would gamble on higher prices if they could effectively show *consumers* how this new technology would benefit them.

And besides, this *should* be designed for consumers... that's the whole point. And it would work well in the educational realm as well. Little Jimmy can detach his tablet and bring it up to the teacher's desk to show her how his homework assignment is coming along.

Also, never say that Apple *can't* do anything. They may not be miracle-workers, but they do have the ability to surprise.

[ 12-30-2001: Message edited by: Gandalf the Semi-Coherent ]</p>
post #13 of 27
[quote]Originally posted by X704:
<strong>Assuming that the iMac is a 15" LCD, it'd probably have a native res of 1024x768. This is significantly higher then HDTV so I guess it'd take significantly more bandwith to send.</strong><hr></blockquote>

HDTV is 1280x720 or 1920x1080, 30 full frames/sec.

Alex
post #14 of 27
[quote] Assuming that the iMac is a 15" LCD, it'd probably have a native res of 1024x768. This is significantly higher then HDTV so I guess it'd take significantly more bandwith to send. Of course there's also the fact that you'd have to share that bandwidth with disk access.
<hr></blockquote>

It is not clear to me that disk access would need to be shared. Just need a digital video receiver and user input transmitter: mouse, trackpad etc. and probably another low bandwidth channel for intradevice chatter.

The computer does the disk access, not the tablet. I mean you're not "sharing" the VCR at NBC when you watch a movie on TV.

When you click on a file on the remote tablet a signal is sent to the computer "open this file" and the video results are transmitted back.

It seems possible if not practical.
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post #15 of 27
Why this obsession with super-highspeed wireless connections? <img src="graemlins/bugeye.gif" border="0" alt="[Skeptical]" />

Why not go with a kind of Duo / Dock setup (in tablet form) rather than Dumb Terminal / Main Computer format? The tablet is the whole computer, including monitor, processor, RAM, hard drive, and everything else the computer must have to run. It would have no output (aside from the monitor itself), and no input, aside from a stylus (and maybe a single USB port for those who just can't adjust). What about everything else? The rest goes into the base station. This includes the optical drive, network connections, USB, and firewire. And, of course, this is where you'd usually have your peripherals hooked up to.

This setup gives you a fully independent tablet computer, albeit with no internet, no external drives, and a fairly limited battery life (probably no more than one or two hours). And no wireless connections to the base station are required to function. Of course, if you've got an AirPort card installed in the tablet, it can communicate with the base station to take advantage of its network connections and drives. And when the tablet is hooked up to its base (either through FireWire, or some proprietary connection, although the former would likely be sufficient), the computer can operate its peripherals at full speed.

This computer shouldn't cost much more than a one-piece LCD-iMac. After all, it's just a regular desktop machine with its components divided in a slightly different manner. Just throw in the price of a small battery and you're off to the races. It certainly won't be as pricey as a laptop, because all of the components (including the LCD, the hard drive, and the RAM) can be full-size, full-power-guzzling, and full-heat-producing. Remember, the tablet isn't intended to be a fully portable computer that will be lugged around all day. It's a short-term convenience thing.

Now, do I really think Apple would produce a computer like this in the near future? No. Could they? Certainly. And I think that once people used a computer like this, they'd love it. The only problem is, would customers realize the advantages during the buying process, or would they just notice the slightly higher price tag? <img src="graemlins/hmmm.gif" border="0" alt="[Hmmm]" />
post #16 of 27
It is perfectly possible for general computer usage- have you never seen thin client solutions in the windows world? My brother's company installs them- e.g for Ministry of Defense in UK. you can have the processing of data done elsewhere, simply updating the parts of the screen image that need to be updated each refresh. This works at reasonable speed (much like running virtual pc on a g4) for 1024x768 over a modem connection , as an active x plugin for windows versions of internet explorer, so over airport etc etc with significantly hugher bandwidths, a similar technology is certainly feasible. Certainly, for windows, over a LAN or similar, the experience is virtually indistiguishible from using a real PC. Full screen quake? probably not. surfing the web, photoshop? yes. its not only possible, but its happening now. There's no real reason why it can't be done wirelessly. It probably wouldn't be the same as just looking at your mac's screen, but it could work. That's not tosay Apple will do this though
post #17 of 27
i wouldn't doubt this post...it makes more sense than many might think. i came to the same conclusion the other night. it's clearly where this Airport technology is going....and it fits into the idea of Apple's new 'digital hub' push. notebook computers are meant to be mobile, that doesn't mean there couldn't be room for this sort of local device. this would also fit well with the idea that the imac 2 is infact a combination of the g4 cube with and lcd screen....the cube is the hube, and the screen is the interface. powermac users would certainly then want to own an imac as well.....it would sell. but then again it might be slightly too expensive to sell as an imac. we'll see.
post #18 of 27
oh, and one more thing.....people use cordless phones in their house....and they use cell phones when they are out. now with this sort of device you could go out with your ibook, and move around inside your house with your imac....i would have to have it.
post #19 of 27
What about this-

[quote] I believe Apple may deliver a new consumer electronics device. Specifically, I envision a slot-loading external Superdrive (burns both DVDs and CDs) home theater component that is Firewire-equipped, Airport equipped, and includes a 100 gigabyte hard drive for Tivo-like recordability. <hr></blockquote>

Got it from-
<a href="http://www.fmdinsider.com/layer1.html" target="_blank">at the bottom</a>
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post #20 of 27
&gt;&gt;an iMac *and* a detachable portable touchscreen tablet, built in. That's right... the DVD or CD-RW drive and power connections are built into a basestation of sorts&lt;&lt;

Holly crap.. a portable and a docking station.
Never imagined that one before.
Touchscreen is slow and hard to use.
After using a Palm for a few years and then switching to Blackberry with a keyboard... small and a little clumsy, but far faster.

iMac is for grandma and liberal arts college student-see Apple's ads
G5.. so what? MS based PCs are introducing faster stuff every few months. I'm not going to get excited about faster -I don't really care if its 3 or 4Ghz.
iPod is MP3 after Napster and just before every new audio CD is copy protected. Woop-ti-due
Flat screen fizzle. Haven't seen that one before.
I'm reading the rumors.. and really I don't think it's going to be hard to impress you people.
You're a year behind the rush and you have no clue because you refuse to acknowledge the rest of the planet.
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post #21 of 27
I posted a possible spec for a tablet device, but it was based on the notion that the tablet is autonomous. Look, if you want a device to handle X and all of the multimedia candy from the internet, why bother with all of the wireless video craziness? Why would Apple bother themselves with designing a detachable LCD screen when they can easily jam a simplified iBook mobo and iPod hard drive into its own enclosure?

Sure, give it airport to access your desktop computer's removable media devices and Hard Drives. Sure, give it firewire to connect to an external DVD rom drive...Give it a Lithium Ion Battery, and a touchscreen...and you're done.

No special RT high rez video transmissions, just another portable computer architecture. A keyboardless and removable media-less Tablet.


Now, I'm not saying they'd produce one. But it is easily implemented using existing technology, cheap to produce (90% of the R&D is done), it recycles older CPU's (they could stick with an embedded G3), and doesn't complicate the iMac...which is really the ultimate kicker:

The iMac is All in One. This is a design that has been with us from the start, and that is what the iMac represents. There is no need for a DuoDock Detachable Screen iFrankenstein®. The iMac will remain an All in One design, simple, and clutter-free. A Tablet may eventually come out of apple, but it will be an independent product line.

A tablet is possible, but only if it can stand by itself as an independent computer. It might rely upon a full blown desktop for storage or network access, but it will have all of the necessary internals to take care of itself.

Potential Specs for an iPad (if it was produced this year)

10.4" Touchscreen LCD at 800x600 (maybe a 12.1 at 1024x768)
G3 Embedded 750 (400-600mhz @ &lt; 4 Watt)
iBook spec 66mhz mobo
Toshiba? Hard Drive from iPod
ATI Rage Low Power Graphics Chipset 8-16 MB
128 or 256 Ram soldered (no upgrade path)
Lithium Ion Battery giving "5 hours" run time
Small Speakers
USB Port
Firewire Port
Integrated Airport (WiFi) Chipset
Ethernet Port
Power plug
1/2 inch thick

List at around $700 (should be 600, but $700 would give them a margin, and the touchscreen would bump the price on components a bit)

But we probably won't see this. And Furthermore, the iMac will remain simple and AIO. If not, I'll eat dirt.

[ 01-03-2002: Message edited by: thesilent ]</p>
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post #22 of 27
[quote] ...it's an iMac *and* a detachable portable touchscreen tablet, built in. That's right... the DVD or CD-RW drive and power connections are built into a basestation of sorts, with the "monitor" being the detachable tablet. The hard drive would be also built into the tablet, along with all the connections (USB, FireWire, etc.)
<hr></blockquote>

This is bogus.

1. Too expensive. The iMac is targeted at value driven consumers. This computer you describe would go for $2000+.

2. What's up with the arbitrary placement of drives? Optical drives on the basestation, but the HD on the display tablet? That would mean that the basestation would have to communicate with the tablet not only to send video output, but to both send and receive HD I/O thoroughput! Do you have ANY idea of the bandwidth this would need? If, and I mean IF, the technology were available to do this, it would be VERY expensive. And it would be damn slow.

Finally, what would the purpose of this detachable display? Ok, one carries it around their house. Then what? You just sit there in another room and LOOK at the display? Do you carry the mouse and keyboard with it, so you can actually USE it, or do you just look at the display and go, "Wow, neat-O, this is the coolest computer in my neighborhood!"

Please...if portability is important to you, if you must have a "tablet" to carry around the house, then buy either an iBook or a Titanium. They would both work better than this fictional iMac/tablet you describe, and you can buy them NOW.
post #23 of 27
Sony got the device that work with a IP base and removable lcd screen that work with 802.11 upto 11 meg. It is about US$1500, but only available in Japan. I use that once in SMPE show with Cisco.
Re. HDTV Tx on wireless, it is posiible now with 802.11a as this take the Tx. 50 meg.
We have technology that take Mpeg via ASI to IP.

[quote]Originally posted by Alexander:
<strong>

I don't disagree with the conclusion, but the argument is fallacious -- HDTV is an MPEG-compressed datastream, usually between 15 and 20 Megabits/sec. The compression (which is significant) is performed by *extraordinarily* expensive dedicated equipment, and MPEG is intended more for video than graphics.

Regardless of the plausibility of sending screen data over Airport, I must admit that I'm drawn in by the idea of the tablet being essentially an iBook minus keyboard, trackpad, and CD-ROM drive, which are contained in/attached to a base. The only real problem with this is that it would cost a bit more than an iBook, and while I personally see the advantages of, and would buy, any Mac tablet thing, it isn't clear where this particular device would fit in the Apple lineup.

If they do figure out how to make a tablet a "remote screen" to any Airport-equipped Mac, however, this could cost less than an iBook, and I think it would be a good product. Unfortunately, I still don't see it in the crystal ball.

Alex</strong><hr></blockquote>
post #24 of 27
Why don't all you Tablet nuts just go and buy a damn laptop? What would a tablet have that a laptop doesn't? Nothing. But a laptop has many things that a tablet would lack.

A tablet sounds like a giant pain in the ass to me. Play with it for half an hour, then go to a real computer to get something done, play a game, surf the net, whatever. Then go back and oogle at the tablet for a bit, show it off to neighbors, and then set it down and go back to a real computer. Repeat cycle for three weeks, then stash tablet in the closet for it's lifespan.
post #25 of 27
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by Junkyard Dawg:
<strong>Why don't all you Tablet nuts just go and buy a damn laptop? What would a tablet have that a laptop doesn't? Nothing. But a laptop has many things that a tablet would lack.

A tablet sounds like a giant pain in the ass to me. Play with it for half an hour, then go to a real computer to get something done, play a game, surf the net, whatever. Then go back and oogle at the tablet for a bit, show it off to neighbors, and then set it down and go back to a real computer. Repeat cycle for three weeks, then stash tablet in the closet for it's lifespan.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Excuse me, Mr. Canine Inhabitant of Decomposing Refuse, where do you get off with your know-it-all attitude? You act if your opinion is the last word on everything. Who the hell do you think *you* are to tell other people what to think?

I simply suggested up a possible product that I thought would be truly "revoloutionary," or at least different than what most here would be expecting, in order to discuss the practical value of such a device. Personally, I think it would be of value, and after talking with several Mac user friends, including a few teachers, the feedback has been positive. Of course, whether it can or will be done is another question entirely. The discussion, from both sides, was quite thought-provoking until you posted your "comments," which essentially boil down to "if you don't agree with me, you're stupid."

Simply because it doesn't make sense to your addled "I want a consumer tower now and if I don't get one I'm going to hold my breath and stamp my feet" brain, doesn't mean that it doesn't make sense whatsoever. If you have something constructive to add to the conversation, then please do so. Otherwise, take your disdainful attitude elsewhere.

Sorry for the rant, everyone. It's just that I'm new here, and I'm already tired of the guy.
post #26 of 27
This has been done to death.
post #27 of 27
I have to go with JYD on this one. The tablet idea is kind of cool but, my excitement is luke warm ( just like the ipod ). Apple needs to concentrate now on the meat and potatos of the computer world. This is the kind of trendy thing ( I think I may have seen this on The Jetsons when I was a kid ) that they can release for the Sharper Image crowd when things are going well and the economy is bullish.
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