New tablet rumor?

in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014


Apple Computer has been decidedly absent from the tablet game. In part, this has to do with the failure of the Newton, which will always be associated in the mind of Steve Jobs with his former friend and nemesis John Sculley. "Real computers have keyboards," Steve has said a zillion times, and he'll mean it right up to the moment he changes his mind. That moment appears to be coming soon. Quanta, the Taiwanese company that makes many Apple notebooks, has been apparently switching its production to the new tablets, or at least that has been reported in the Taipei press since early this year. If this is the case that Apple is introducing such a machine as early as January, how is it likely to be different from the Windows-based tablet machines that have so far failed to excite buyers? And why, in the face of such lackluster sales, has Microsoft done another rev of its tablet operating system? What is it about this product niche that makes it so attractive to vendors despite more than a decade of failure?

Yay or nay?


  • Reply 1 of 14
    rageousrageous Posts: 2,170member
    There is already a thread running about this.

    Just thought I'd get a pre-lock post in.
  • Reply 2 of 14
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    What is about this product niche that makes it so attractive to ... ???

    Interestinbg question at the end there. The answer is born out of the misguided idea that people prefer writing with a pen or can't/won't learn how to type and navigate effectively with a keyboard and trackpad. Even very bad typists can type at least as fast as they can write. The only advantage to the tablet is in "mobile" computing, that is actually "mobile" as is standing, walking around, in situations where you can't sit and type. Those times are quite limited outside some specialized fields -- medicine mainly, and some warehousing, engineering, and production control applications (which are usually better served with a PDA sized device anyway.)

    It could be something attractive in the future, but it has to be small and cheap, a supplement to computing, more than a PDA, and less than those dumb 10" + tablets we see from the Wintel lot.

    There are a lot of screen size issues to resolve as regards content navigation and display, especially if said device has any aspirations of displaying web content in a pleasing way. Current tablets can do it, but they're bulky pieces of garbage that really can't be used any differently than a notebook -- too unwieldly. PDA's can't do it, but at least they're a managable size.
  • Reply 3 of 14
    satchmosatchmo Posts: 2,699member

    Originally posted by Matsu

    What is about this product niche that makes it so attractive to ... ???

    There's a coolness factor that seems to associated with tablets and PDA's. But you're right, almost everything can be accomplished with a laptop especially when equipped with a touch screen. In fact, many of the tablets are just that...except the keyboard can be folded away.

    But I also suspect, it's just another market being artificially created by computer manufacturers to sell more hardware.
  • Reply 4 of 14
    bungebunge Posts: 7,329member
    A Tablet is a form factor that people are more used to using. No, not with computing, but with everyday life. A book, a piece of paper, a magazine, etc. So ultimately computing will probably migrate to that form factor, as soon as it can be durable enough to leave on the kitchen table or the bedside.

    No, portable computers don't really do this right now. And no, I don't want a tablet.
  • Reply 5 of 14
    good design is the limiting factor for tablets today...

    all the hardware required is readily available...

    maybe Apple is the company that will get it right, in terms of overall package...
  • Reply 6 of 14
    ptrashptrash Posts: 296member
    Apple's Tablet Computer Might Finally Be That Link Between Your PC and TV

    By Robert X. Cringely

    High-tech is relentlessly optimistic and for good reason: the good times -- ALL the good times -- are caused by product transitions. New stuff costs more, has higher profit margins, and occasionally leads to changes in market leadership. A year or two later, these products will have been commoditized, the profit sucked out of them by intense competition, and it will be time to move on to the next big thing. Four years ago, the cheapest 802.11b access point you could buy cost $299. This week, I saw one advertised that with rebates brought the final cost down to zero, nothing, nada, zilch. Time to move on. So high-tech is always looking forward, never back, and taking a gamble on something new isn't perceived so much as a gamble but as a way of life.

    This made me think of USB, which seemed to be languishing on the PC side until Apple embraced it, or forced consumers to, when it simultaneoulsy implemented it and did away with floppy drives. I mean, that's my unenlightened observation, so correct me if I'm wrong.

    Point is, assuming I had that right (and we know Apple successfully introduced 802.11 tech to the masses with airport), it may just take a company like Apple to make the tablet successful. Especially if they were to imlement it write, like introducing a product that could double as a ultra lightweight laptop.

    BTW, are Wall Street people starting to beleive that Apple is here to stay, because it seems like they're a bit more positive than they've been in the past, with the exception of Schwab? (,,
  • Reply 7 of 14
    I didn't quite follow Cringely's idea of the wireless video bieng the killer ap for a tablet computer, but here's why apple must do a tablet...

    1. Apple is uniquely capable of propelling a new technology. If apple included pen input with all their portables and iMacs they would instantly have a stronger development base than the wintel world.

    2. Education market. Kids write before they type. Writing and touching is still more intuitive. Some really exciting educational applications can be developed with tablet computers. Also, even in college there are times when it is preferable to write than type (less noise).

    3. Paper is the last roadblock to the digital revolution. People need some way of using their digital documents like paper. Granted tablets won't beat paper on price for a while, but they sure do on efficiency and organization.
  • Reply 8 of 14
    Apple's (or Steve's) take on the matter is that a keyboard and a computer are necessary. I think the tablet will definitely have a keyboard, just not in your face.

    I think Apple will actually produce a tablet, maybe not by January (although they would have a great surprise factor with this) but by March or the summer.

    I should say, they could produce one by this time.
  • Reply 9 of 14
    buonrottobuonrotto Posts: 6,368member
    The one thing that's always been the challenge of a tablet PC is the frame of reference is so damn unbeatable: pencil and paper. A tablet would have to be that convenient, easy to use, flexible and dependable. It would have to be a quantum leap in technology to make a true tablet compelling to most people, a true analog and then some.
  • Reply 10 of 14
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    I've used tablets, PDA's and the Newton and the biggest hinderence is the interface. Newton is the only one that came close to usability. As a datebook and address keeper, Palms are fine. Tablets running XP, however, are a disaster. I could never get anything useful done on it, and would revert to the keyboard layout quickly.

    A useful tablet PC would do its job very well and not try to do something that would be better accomplished on a keyboard. The GUI should be a full writable screen with OpenDoc like functionality. With a row of tools along the top you could insert things like text, sketches, pictures, and tables with or without formulas. Tool bar should be a constant. You could flip through the notebook and bring up an organizer that would allow you to sort and categorize pages into 'chapters', bookmark pages, link to other pages, etc. At the bottom of the screen would be your Dock-like bar that would hold your Desk Accessories (like in system 6), a calculator, datebook, and address book. Email would be a built in, transparent funtionality; you could email the whole page you're working on simply by clicking a mail-it button in the Dock, and entering in your recipient. Web browsing could be integrated easily as well.

    11" LCD for compactness

    No keyboard

    1.8" hard drive

    very efficient processor

    at least 8 hours of battery life

    and the ability to sync with your Mac.


    If it's not that cheap, it'll flop.
  • Reply 11 of 14
    gargar Posts: 1,201member

    Originally posted by Outsider


    If it's not that cheap, it'll flop.

    i like your ideas

    but if it's that cheap it will never materialise.

    it will probally be about the price of a ibook not much cheaper
  • Reply 12 of 14

    Originally posted by Outsider

    If it's not that cheap, it'll flop.

    I have to disagree on this point. It's not the cheapness, its the ubiquity.

    Although I suspect it really wouldn't cost much to add a touchscreen to an iMac, ibook, or pbook. Modifying the ergonomics of the notebooks wouldn't cost much if done across the line. Even the pro screens could be fairly easily modified.

    I doubt it would cost anymore to add tablet capability to all the lines than it cost to add airport or bluetooth.

    The idea of the supercheap tablet that's only good for taking notes and reading is great, but it would have to be really, really cheap, like $200 or less. Then the appeal is that your not that concerned about breaking it. I've seen kids toys for $80 (Pixter) that come close to that kind of functionality. I don't know why noone's doing something like that.
  • Reply 13 of 14
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    I would just be afraid that Apple will repeat the Newton mistake. It died out because of its high price and cheap knock offs from palm.
  • Reply 14 of 14
    buonrottobuonrotto Posts: 6,368member
    I dare say that for the sort of technological jump that a real, viable and successful (in terms of usability of the UI and the suitability of apps) tablet would require a premium price tag. As the tech pays for itself and the technology becomes commodity, it will naturally find a lower price point to some degree or another.

    However, if it's truly the super flexible dynamic intuitive portable dynamo notepad on steroids concept come to life, (and assumming its data is compatible with networks and common file formats, natch) I would not be surprised to see it fly off shelves even with a price over $3000. Look no further than the iPod, the "what do you mean $500 for an MP3 player?!" runaway success that proved that price is not necessarily the roadblock people think it is when everything else clicks perfectly.

    of corse, that's something of a pipe dream right now, and that's why Apple will be happy to let someone else be the trailblazer with less than viable attempts in the mean time.
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