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Apple said to have settled on supplier for tablet display

post #1 of 102
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A brief report out of the Far East on Friday appears to be corroborating a trio of earlier reports in stating that Apple has tapped its current iPhone touchscreen supplier to also provide the display panels for its upcoming tablet device.

"Wintek has been selected as the panel module supplier for Apple's upcoming e-book form factor netbook product," Taiwanese rumor site DigiTimes wrote in a two paragraph report that cited local notebook-related integrated circuit designers as its sources.

The report added that those IC designers are optimistic about demand for notebook-related products in the second half of this year given that a more diversified array of products are expected to come to market around that time.

Word of Wintek's role as the panel supplier for the much rumored tablet was first reported by the Chinese-language Commercial Times during the second week of March. Almost immediately, the Dow Jones chimed in with its own report supporting those claims but adding that the panels would measure "between 9.7-inches and 10-inches."

For its part, mainstream media outlet Reuters would enter the mix no more than 24-hours later, citing its own source who said the panels would measure exactly 10-inches diagonally and that Apple would "take third-quarter delivery" of the parts.

Just this week, Taiwan's National Federation of Independent Trade Unions (NFITU) and other area labor groups protested in front of Apple's Taipei offices in a plea for the company to step in and address controversial labor practices on the part of Wintek.

The component supplier reportedly fired 600 workers in December without giving advance notice while simultaneously cutting the pay of remaining workers and forcing them to work unpaid overtime to fulfill "rush" orders.
post #2 of 102
Aren't they supposed to have an exclusive deal with LG?
post #3 of 102
The tablet seems more and more likely, but Ireland wont be happy with the reports of exactly 10 when his mockups have 10.1.

I still dont see a retail market for a tablet-only device and havent heard of a good business model for it. If someone can wow me, Im all ears.
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post #4 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

The tablet seems more and more likely, but Ireland wont be happy with the reports of exactly 10 when his mockups have 10.1.

I still dont see a retail market for a tablet-only device and havent heard of a good business model for it. If someone can wow me, Im all ears.

There isn't one, thats why I don't believe this rumor at all. Apple typically has waited for a defined market to be lacking a device and attacks it. The tablet market is non-existent right now.
post #5 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

The tablet seems more and more likely, but Ireland wont be happy with the reports of exactly 10 when his mockups have 10.1.

I still dont see a retail market for a tablet-only device and havent heard of a good business model for it. If someone can wow me, Im all ears.

I don't see consumers clamoring for such a device either. The hue and cry here at AI is different than elsewhere. If a color e-ink style device can be sold by Apple (subsidized by magazine and newspaper companies) for $100-200 and with a Whispernet (free to the user) Apple Store accessibility, we might have something worth talking about.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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GOA

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post #6 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by steviet02 View Post

There isn't one, thats why I don't believe this rumor

I agree, but even if I'm wrong I won't be buying any Wintek-produced product until they clean up their work practices. Apple need to address this problem immediately.
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post #7 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by steviet02 View Post

There isn't one, thats why I don't believe this rumor at all. Apple typically has waited for a defined market to be lacking a device and attacks it. The tablet market is non-existent right now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

I don't see consumers clamoring for such a device either. The hue and cry here at AI is different than elsewhere. If a color e-ink style device can be sold by Apple (subsidized by magazine and newspaper companies) for $100-200 and with a Whispernet (free to the user) Apple Store accessibility, we might have something worth talking about.

If Apple can find a market for a tablet then there is probably one, but I think that if there is a tablet device it will be a 10 netbook-like device with a swivel screen that can also double as a tablet. That would make it a very expensive netbook and may appeal to both groups despite the cost. Seems unlikely, but If there is a tablet I think that is way it would have to be.

Color e-Ink would be great. That is a device I would love to have if the display was the size of a standard magazine and with a high enough resolution and colours to literally replace magazines, but that is for another thread when that finally becomes a semi-realistic rumour.
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post #8 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackthemac View Post

I agree, but even if I'm wrong I won't be buying any Wintek-produced product until they clean up their work practices. Apple need to address this problem immediately.

Totally agree. Al Gore on the Board of Directors should have some clout stopping this. Human rights should be a top priority in manufacturing Apple products even more so than delivering environmental friendly products. Haven't we learned anything from Kathy Lee Gifford? Cheap labor does not usually come with a good human rights policy.
post #9 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackthemac View Post

I agree, but even if I'm wrong I won't be buying any Wintek-produced product until they clean up their work practices. Apple need to address this problem immediately.

If a company stated that they didnt produce things in China at all, but in the US Id support that completely, but the reality is that there are so many different parts produced in so many different parts of the world with less than adequate labour laws that there is no way for us to know what items to boycott. Apple has done well with their green" goal but need to work on human rights. The damn Green Peace hippies care more about a fraken wood slug than they do a human being.
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post #10 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackthemac View Post

I agree, but even if I'm wrong I won't be buying any Wintek-produced product until they clean up their work practices. Apple need to address this problem immediately.

What's the deal with Wintek and 'work practices?'
post #11 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

If a company stated that they didnt produce things in China at all, but in the US Id support that completely, but the reality is that there are so many different parts produced in so many different parts of the world with less than adequate labour laws that there is no way for us to know what items to boycott. Apple has done well with their green" goal but need to work on human rights. The damn Green Peace hippies care more about a fraken wood slug than they do a human being.

And yet Apple is going into WalMArt - one of the biggest creators of slave labor products in the world.
post #12 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

What's the deal with Wintek and 'work practices?'

The previous article just talked about how Wintek treats their employees like stool and here Apple is rewarding them with a big contract.

Business can be ruthless and unfair, just like life i suppose.
post #13 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

And yet Apple is going into WalMArt - one of the biggest creators of slave labor products in the world.

hey Hey HEY! Where else can I get a pair of jeans for $6? MAKE THEM MY SELF? ARE U NUTS?
post #14 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

The tablet seems more and more likely, but Ireland wont be happy with the reports of exactly 10 when his mockups have 10.1.

I still dont see a retail market for a tablet-only device and havent heard of a good business model for it. If someone can wow me, Im all ears.

I don't see it either. Tablet like PC's have been out before and there's still no major market for this. I guess this is Apple's answer to the netbook. I personally think its just a waste of time. Let these netbook suppliers enjoy their short moment in the sun. This netbook thing IMO is just a fad that will die off soon.

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post #15 of 102
i think we can all agree that apple has been looking into doing a tablet/netbook/ereader device for the past year or two. i believe they even announced that they were exploring options. so it's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when they enter the netbook market. i'm not sure about the reliability of any of these sources independently but when 3 different sources converge on the same rumor all at once, it has always come true in the past.

that being said, the only reason for apple to introduce a portable device like this at this time is to temporarily pump up their stock.
post #16 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Haven't we learned anything from Kathy Lee? Cheap labor does not usually come with a good human rights policy.

Have we? Didn't Nike and Michael Jordan come under fire years ago about cheap labor? And didn't Steve Jobs refer to Nike as an example of a great "brand name" at Macworld when he returned to Apple?

I don't think anyone cares so long as they get what they want at a discount. I'm not saying that's right, but unless you have to go to work in a place like that, it's easy to turn a blind eye to it.
post #17 of 102
Multitouch colour E-Ink is the holy grail of this sort of device for me. I'll take an upgraded iphone OS modified to run larger size apps and/or how about multiple standard iphone app store apps all running in the foreground and tiled across a larger screen? (Background apps? Pah! )

A better homescreen with the ability to pull out certain things like mail/calendars/im chats/live weather etc (whatever is most important to you, like personalised homepages on google or Yahoo, but pulling data from your apps as well as the web) would be useful. And to top the thing off, integration into "back to my mac" for running and displaying more intense apps on your home PC remotely. It would be easy to implement a toggle to the multitouch to emulate using a finger as a mouse, or turning a portion of the screen into a standard trackpad for those paradigms that won't work on iphone OS (mouse-over hovers etc).

Add in full bluetooth support for keyboards and mice etc and you have a device I would buy tomorrow. I don't need a full power tablet running Mac OSX slowly, as I already have a macbook which is portable enough. My ideal setup would be an iMac or Mini setup at home that serves as my main datastore containing all my Mac OS apps and data, and a tablet running iphone OS as described above that could easily "tap in" to the home system to present apps, or pull data. Port some of the common apps (iLife and iWork) to mobile versions running direct on Iphone OS (providing the most common functions rather than attempting to do it all), but loading and saving documents straight of my home PC? Yes please.

One thing I wouldn't want is for it to be marketed as a phone device, this is the only area where the model breaks down. I'd still want a phone I can put in my pocket, but the tablet still needs the relevant chippery to allow it to use 3G or whatever replaces it, meaning the temptation to turn it into a phone also might be too great as it will already have the hardware, so why not? Unless there is some clever way of getting is to share a number with my iphone, and allow me to choose which device to route the call to it would just be confusing.
post #18 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerseymac View Post

Have we? Didn't Nike and Michael Jordan come under fire years ago about cheap labor? And didn't Steve Jobs refer to Nike as an example of a great "brand name" at Macworld when he returned to Apple?

I don't think anyone cares so long as they get what they want at a discount. I'm not saying that's right, but unless you have to go to work in a place like that, it's easy to turn a blind eye to it.

If the labour is so cheap, why are the products so expensive??
Just kidding, just kidding!
Or am I?
post #19 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

What's the deal with Wintek and 'work practices?'

See last two paras of article.
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post #20 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

If a company stated that they didnt produce things in China at all, but in the US Id support that completely, but the reality is that there are so many different parts produced in so many different parts of the world with less than adequate labour laws that there is no way for us to know what items to boycott. Apple has done well with their green" goal but need to work on human rights. The damn Green Peace hippies care more about a fraken wood slug than they do a human being.

The damn Green Peace hippies don't care about the slug either - they care about controling your life and returning to the 14th century (something they have in common with the People of Peace).

As for AAPL's product - what about a smaller MacBook Air which would also fit the quoted supplier items?
post #21 of 102
If Apple releases a tablet they'll talk about a small group of people who really want the device. They'll probably even target that group very specifically in their release - like doctors or perhaps students. They want to make sure that it's a success in everyone's eyes, which is easier to do with a niche... they'd still sell openly so if it happens to also go well in other market segments then they can change their tune.
post #22 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

If the labour is so cheap, why are the products so expensive??
Just kidding, just kidding!
Or am I?

Ugh, that argument has been played out to death. The most informed of us know the answer behind that debate.
post #23 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by GCS View Post

As for AAPL's product - what about a smaller MacBook Air which would also fit the quoted supplier items?

I think that is quite likely. It wouldn't be hard to create a better device that the Sony P-series would it?

C.
post #24 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carniphage View Post

I think that is quite likely. It wouldn't be hard to create a better device that the Sony P-series would it?

C.


That's still not as good as the SONY TT series.

t
post #25 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by GCS View Post

As for AAPL's product - what about a smaller MacBook Air which would also fit the quoted supplier items?

It's always been about the size form factor not the thinness for me. I couldn't agree with you more.
Apple lost a great niche when they discontinued the small form factor of the 12" PowerBook.
post #26 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackthemac View Post

See last two paras of article.

Yeah, I saw that. Are Wintek's practices that different from other similar component suppliers in Taiwan (or elsewhere similar)? Or are the labor unions protesting in front of Apple's offices because that attracts more attention?

In other words, there may be a union doing this in front of Apple's offices regardless of which supplier it chooses in that part of the world?
post #27 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by GCS View Post

As for AAPL's product - what about a smaller MacBook Air which would also fit the quoted supplier items?

If they use the same MBA internals, sans the display, of course, youre still looking at a device similar in price to the MBA. The CPU in the MBA costs more than the average netbook. theyd also have to make it thicker to accommodate the parts, Since the battery can be much thicker it should be fine in that since and be able to have plenty of ports. Would Apple go this route?

PS: Id loved my 12 PB but even my 13 MB has a short display height than those old machines due to the 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio. As much as I like a small notebook I couldnt read for long periods on my MSI Wind running Mac OS X because the screen is too short. Its a bit nerve racking. Great for media, though! With a 4:3 aspect ratio this would be much better, but then youd get less space for a keyboard, and there is not way Apple will go that route for marketing reasons.
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post #28 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Yeah, I saw that. Are Wintek's practices that different from other similar component suppliers in Taiwan (or elsewhere similar)? Or are the labor unions protesting in front of Apple's offices because that attracts more attention?

In other words, there may be a union doing this in front of Apple's offices regardless of which supplier it chooses in that part of the world?

(Sorry to reply to my own post). I should have added: How else do you think the world gets its $300 PCs?
post #29 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

.... if there is a tablet device it will be a 10 netbook-like device with a swivel screen that can also double as a tablet. That would make it a very expensive netbook and may appeal to both groups despite the cost. Seems unlikely, but If there is a tablet I think that is way it would have to be.....

I couldn't disagree more ! If Apple makes a swivel tablet-notebook I'll eat my hat.

Tons of people here clearly don't see the appeal of a pure tablet for consumers. I do. Tons of people don't see paying $1500 for a 13" notebook. I do.

BUT - there are clearly drawbacks to a pure tablet. Starting with data entry. And I guess that's a pretty huge sticking point.
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post #30 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

If they use the same MBA internals, sans the display, of course, you’re still looking at a device similar in price to the MBA. The CPU in the MBA costs more than the average netbook. they’d also have to make it thicker to accommodate the parts, Since the battery can be much thicker it should be fine in that since and be able to have plenty of ports. Would Apple go this route?

My my- looks like you've performed an about face and see the benefits of a smaller form factor (A notebook!) over thinness after all these months.
post #31 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Totally agree. Al Gore on the Board of Directors should have some clout stopping this. Human rights should be a top priority in manufacturing Apple products even more so than delivering environmental friendly products. Haven't we learned anything from Kathy Lee Gifford? Cheap labor does not usually come with a good human rights policy.

Kathy Lee Gifford and Nike were contracting with companies running sweat shops... essentially pennies a day, child labor, dark basements and 7 days per week for 10-14 hours per day. Wintek's situation is unpaid overtime (but still union negotiated wages) and labor reductions without notice (and I assume without severance). These two situations are not the same. Both are unethical but on a degree of morality they don't rate even remotely similar. Be encouraged by the fact that the workers were even able to stage a protest... in the sweat shops there would be sweeping firings and a plethora of other children and adults would be brought in to do the same slave-like labor. Complaints would go ignored and be rug swept.

Are Chinese company labor practices on par with those in the United States? No. But they are improving with time and attention. What we can't expect is for every developing nation to suddenly act like the United States or Great Britain. Each developing nation needs its own opportunity to grow through the same issues we went through in our industrial growth periods. What we can do is hope to help them through it faster but I am not sure boycotts are the way. We stop buying the products and it encourages companies to further seek cost cutting measures. Apple may in fact be a great source of help here... they have shown a will to aid in causes without regard for their bottom line. Perhaps they will attack this one but only time will tell. One thing is for sure... they can't be about every issue that hits the news stands or focus entirely on causes. That is not a sustainable business model.
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post #32 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by walshbj View Post

I couldn't disagree more ! If Apple makes a swivel tablet-notebook I'll eat my hat.

Tons of people here clearly don't see the appeal of a pure tablet for consumers. I do.

I don’t see how Apple can possibly make a tablet unless it can also double as a SFF notebook. Even a SFF notebook for $800 with an Atom CPU or the MBA components in a 10” MB for $1,500 don’t seem to be a large enough market for Apple to enter, especially when compared to other netbooks. There has to be something new but the only thing I can think of that may attract users is a convertible lid, even though that is not an ideal solution either.

What mass consumer appeal do you see for the tablet, or are you suggesting that Apple would market it commercially to get a wider audience?
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post #33 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tokolosh View Post

Are Chinese company labor practices on par with those in the United States? No. But they are improving with time and attention. What we can't expect is for every developing nation to suddenly act like the United States or Great Britain. Each developing nation needs its own opportunity to grow through the same issues we went through in our industrial growth periods. What we can do is hope to help them through it faster but I am not sure boycotts are the way. We stop buying the products and it encourages companies to further seek cost cutting measures. Apple may in fact be a great source of help here... they have shown a will to aid in causes without regard for their bottom line. Perhaps they will attack this one but only time will tell. One thing is for sure... they can't be about every issue that hits the news stands or focus entirely on causes. That is not a sustainable business model.

Apple products made in China have been a fact for over how many years now? This issue, Asian labor and human rights , did not just hit the news now.
post #34 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

The tablet seems more and more likely, but Ireland wont be happy with the reports of exactly 10 when his mockups have 10.1.

I still dont see a retail market for a tablet-only device and havent heard of a good business model for it. If someone can wow me, Im all ears.

I don't know if I can lay out a business model, but I can make a brief argument why if Apple comes out with a tablet, that it might succeed even though all others before it have failed.

The classic tablet PC is just a laptop with a touch screen and a pen. The laptop size ones are as heavy as your average laptop and thus horrible to hold in the crook of your arm. The OS is the same mouse-based OS that is on a regular PC, but you use the pen as the mouse so very simple things like roll-overs and right-clicks immediately become complex actions instead of the intuitive things they are on the average PC desktop. The big bonus is drawing, and handwriting, but the device is so big and clunky that these advantages are almost cancelled out in everyday use.

In my experience, the only times when a PC tablet is a "perfect fit" is when the device itself is supported, (you are on the couch with your knees up, you are using a table in a meeting, etc.), and one is either drawing, or writing. Almost everything else is a pain, and dragging the thing around is a pain. The only tablet type devices that have any utility at all really are the small form factor ones like Newton, Palm, etc. and those have actually done rather well despite severe limitations of power and the inability to use standard formats, software, or connectivity.

An Apple tablet (as rumoured), would immediately do away with most of these concerns.
  • The OS is made expressly for the device, and for fingers (and possibly pens), not mice.
  • The device itself is only as big as it needs to be and is more or less pocketable.
  • It can be held in one hand easily, and typed on easily and quickly.
  • It would use standard file formats, memory, connectivity etc.
So just by virtue of it's mobile OS-X genes, it will be better than most tablets, with the exception of actual writing and drawing, the one thing the current tablets do better than almost anything else. Even without being the best at pen input though, an Apple tablet is a very different proposition than any of the modbooks or other tablets that preceded it.

Also, there has been a rumour for a while now based on an Apple patent application, that Apple has some magic up it's sleeve to solve the whole pen/stylus issue. This would make the device an absolute home run, but I wouldn't hold your breath as it's a pretty far out idea.
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post #35 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerseymac View Post

I don't think anyone cares so long as they get what they want at a discount. I'm not saying that's right, but unless you have to go to work in a place like that, it's easy to turn a blind eye to it.

You are right and it is disgusting. We should all bow our heads in shame. We, and our governments should insist that people get a decent living wage for the work they carry out. Anything else is slave labor by a different name.

But back on course - I agree with the idea that a 10" tablet has such limited usability I would think it unlikely that Apple would bring it out. A tablet with some form of keyboard, perhaps. Like a modular high end Netbook. But then, how do you raise the screen to a usable angle? Perhaps a 10" tablet aimed at gaming and media playback. Followed by third party bluetooth keyboards and whatnots.
post #36 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

(Sorry to reply to my own post). I should have added: How else do you think the world gets its $300 PCs?


It doesn't matter what everyone else is doing, that is a poor excuse. When Apple has a chance to make a difference they should seize the opportunity.
post #37 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by walshbj View Post

I couldn't disagree more ! If Apple makes a swivel tablet-notebook I'll eat my hat....

Yeah, if there is one sure bet in this entire situation, it's that anyone who approached Steve with one of those clunky swivel screen laptops he'd not only be fired instantly, he'd probably be kicked around the office a bit first.

Those things have a special place in the Design Hall of Shame, right next to those monitors with the tiny little dicky screen that slides out the side.
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post #38 of 102
Hey folks,

As a faculty member at a local community college, I've seen my students struggle to purchase their textbooks each semester as the average new text now runs well over $100. Purchase 4 or 5 a semester and ouch! We're talking $2000 over two years just in books. When the Kindle DX was released, it was with the support of most of the major text book companies. Most e-text books will run $50-60. If you do the math, you can see that it wouldn't take the average student a very long time to pay for the cost of an e-reader device (such as the Kindle or Mac Tablet) if they are saving $ on the textbooks by purchasing the digital version. Now granted, a student can resell their text at semesters' end, but this is usually for a fairly paltry sum.

I would also add that in Higher Education, the iPod Touch/iPhone platform is all the rage. There is already a fair amount of development taking place to push content out into this mobile platform. Now, you release a Mac Tablet that can do what the Kindle DX does, with color, and also add in web browser, wifi, media capabilities. etc. etc. and I do believe that there is a market for this product.


Peace.
post #39 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


What mass consumer appeal do you see for the tablet, or are you suggesting that Apple would market it commercially to get a wider audience?

I see it as a Kindle that does a lot more. Video, full web surfing, storing photos while on a trip, video chat. I'd put it on a stand in my kitchen. Just the simple act of showing someone some photos: awkward with a laptop, natural with a tablet. Pass a laptop across a table in a restaurant? No. Tablet? Yes.

It would appeal to me for business travel, but only because I wouldn't be opposed to packing a wireless keyboard.

The Kindle seems to be doing quite well. Wouldn't it do even better with Apple design, marketing, and functionality?
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post #40 of 102
Possible applications for Tablet PC:
1. Hi capacity book readers, especially for schools and universities. E-books like Medicine, Zoology, Botany, etc need color and use of linked words. Magazine readers. Apple could even market these books via iTunes with option for a hard copy.
2. Serve as a netbook... albeit an expensive one. There is always a market for the hi end. If it has the MacOS, then an emulator could run iTunes app.
3. With a data plan, I would like to be able to run VoIP, but that is not for everybody. Actually WiFi would be ok because it is available at work and at home.
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