An Apple Tablet: In Theory and In Practice

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Apple has many good reasons to release a tablet computer, and signs are starting to point to the idea that it's in the works. This thread was created to reasonably and intelligently look through all the arguments for and against this possibility. Below, I'll offer you my reasoning for why I now believe that Apple IS developing a tablet.



Throughout the last few years, the Mac platform has slowly been adding more and more features and hardware that could bode well for a tablet in their current state, or upgrading them would make them perfect for a tablet. Here are some that I'm talking about.
  • Inkwell - This capability has been built into OS X for quite a long time now, and before then, we hadn't seen it since the Newton. It's a cool feature, but for the vast majority of those who DON'T have pen tablets, it's been unneccesary and unused.

  • Apple Applications - Although iLife and Keynote have done well so far on regular machines, they could be greatly enhanced by being on a tablet Mac. iPhoto's slide show capabilities would allow for the tablet to be a high-quality, dynamic photo album. iTunes music sharing can keep all your music on your "base" machine while your tablet could access it wirelessly from anywhere in the house. Keynote could be presented to small groups and/or in one-on-one presentations with the tablet. Apple Remote Desktop could shine as well, and I address it later.

  • Apple Bluetooth Keyboard & Mouse - Many have said that Jobs feels that a computer must have a keyboard and a mouse, and with the release of Apple's BT peripherals, a tablet with BT built in could EASILY integrate with these devices. You don't want to write on the screen? Fine! Just set the tablet on its stand and start typing on your Apple Bluetooth Pro Keyboard.

  • iSync - One feature that has been little used in this program is Mac-to-Mac syncing. Sure, if you have a laptop AND a desktop it's great, but like I mentioned above with Inkwell, this is probably a little-used feature. A tablet would integrate perfectly with this capability and updates to iSync could easily create other avenues for data syncing.

  • Airport Extreme w/ Base Station Print Server - Another device besides your laptop or desktop that could easily and seamlessly use this capability is a tablet. While surfing the web wirelessly on the tablet, you could print the current page with a tap on the screen. After using inkwell to write a memo, wirelessly printing it would be a breeze.

  • Rendezvous - This widely used and (in my opinion) absolutely fantastic feature of OS X would allow a tablet on the go (at the airport, Starbucks, etc.) to easily and quickly connect to all the networks' capabilities.

  • .Mac Features - Backup and iDisk would be wonderful features of which a tablet could take advantage.

  • The iPod & Powerbook - Or more specifically, the technology inside of them. With the iPod, Apple's managed to find REALLY small hard drives and amazingly simple interface characteristics that have made it the most popular digital music player in the world. The Powerbooks now have slot-loading drives, aluminum enclosures, built-in Bluetooth and Airport Extreme, and have ended up being small and fairly light in the process. Long story short, Apple's gotten very good at designing thin, light, yet very functional and powerful portable devices.

But there are other things that make me think a tablet would be a very good idea, and/or that they are on the horizon as I type this.
  • The 750GX - Okay, I'll admit I don't know nearly as much about this as many of you, but I've heard that this is a low-power chip. If indeed this is available in mass production, it could be the perfect processor to put in a tablet. Since all Apple laptops and desktops have at least G4s now, the G3 could have free reign (pretty much) in a tablet.

  • Education - Apple knows that education is in a budget crunch just like everybody else. If Apple could figure out a way to make a tablet computer that students could carry around with them very easily, AND make it really desirable with it's price tag of about 2/3 the cost of the cheapest iBook, administrators would really go for that. From an efficiency standpoint, lesson plans and class presentations could rock with all the students simply uploading the lessons into their tablets, taking them home to work on, and then downloading them back to the instructor's computer the next day. With Apple Remote Desktop, instructors could still keep an eye on their students' computing during class.

  • Quanta - As has been discussed in this thread, there is a strong possibility that Quanta is producing a tablet for Apple. Last time we heard news of something like this the New iMac was released shortly after. I think we need to take a LOT of stock in this story, because it's got to be grounded in something, and like I've said, we've seen something like this before that eventually panned out.

So if Apple is actually creating a tablet, what kind of specs could it have, and how much would it cost, realistically? Here's what I've been able to come up with:



Both models would have an aluminum enclosure matching the current Powerbooks, and use a 10" TFT touch-panel display at 800x600 resolution w/ 32MB VRAM. Also included in both would be a slot-loading combo drive, built-in Bluetooth and Airport Extreme, a touch sensitive stylus, integrated stereo speakers, 10/100 ethernet, a 56k v.92 modem, 2 USB 2.0 ports, 1 Firewire 400 port, 1 analog audio out, and 1 IrDa infrared port. Below is the rest, and how the lines would be priced.



Good - $699

800Mhz G3 (750GX)

256MB L2 Cache

30GB 4200RPM HD (same as iPod)

256MB SDRAM, expandable to 768MB

Sturdy Stand, including built-in charging



Better - $899

800Mhz G3 (750GX)

256MB L2 Cache

60GB 4200RPM HD (same as iPod)

256MB SDRAM, expandable to 768MB

Apple Docking Station (includes tilt and swivel, 2 USB 2.0, 1 FW 400, charging)



These assertions are from my own deductive reasoning, assumptions, and personal opinions. I have NO insider information in any way, shape, or form. I'd like to hear what you all have to say, but please don't flame me. It'll be interesting to see how close this information is if/when an Apple tablet really is released. I'd buy one.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 67
    The Gringley column assumes that the tablets are being made for Apple without mentioning the fact that the company also manufactures portable product for Dell and others. I suspect that it is for Dell that Quanta is making tablets. SJ has consistently said "no tablet" from Apple. If he is lying, it's bad business and he could open the company up to a shareholder lawsuit. (Oh I know SJ doesn't wear suits). Whatever!
  • Reply 2 of 67
    applenutapplenut Posts: 5,768member
    the problem i see is that a desktop OS, yes even Mac OS X, is not a good OS for a tablet.



    the best hardware is hardware that has software specifically fine tuned for it.



    i don't see creating another OS in apple's interest right now. and i still think a keyboard is a much faster input method than writing and that a laptop is still a better more cost effective solution.
  • Reply 3 of 67
    cosmonutcosmonut Posts: 4,872member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by applenut

    the problem i see is that a desktop OS, yes even Mac OS X, is not a good OS for a tablet.



    the best hardware is hardware that has software specifically fine tuned for it.




    I think OS X is about the most compatible OS you could put on a tablet. It probably wouldn't take much to adapt OS X to have the ability to run just fine on one. Hell, sticking an extra feature in the menu bar displays menu for "wide view" or "tall view" and a little extra tweaking here and there would do it.



    And if Apple were to design the tablet to fit OS X, I'm sure they'd make the tablet 100% "fine tuned." I really don't see much of an issue with that. Come on, we're pretty much talking about a keyboardless, trackpadless laptop with portrait viewing ability.
  • Reply 4 of 67
    applenutapplenut Posts: 5,768member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by CosmoNut





    And if Apple were to design the tablet to fit OS X, I'm sure they'd make the tablet 100% "fine tuned." I really don't see much of an issue with that. Come on, we're pretty much talking about a keyboardless, trackpadless laptop with portrait viewing ability.




    that "little" change completely changes how you interact with the computer. the interface on a mac is made for a mouse. not a stylus.
  • Reply 5 of 67
    I read that hardware manufacturers of the current tablets are very unhappy with M$ and their operating system. Sales have been dismal so far - possibly because of that and the high prices at the moment.
  • Reply 6 of 67
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    I could build you the ideal (actually useable tablet) today, but not at a price where it could fly, not yet.



    It's all about the size. Tablets are just too big and heavy to be used as tablets. If you ain't gonna use a tablet as a tablet, you might as well use a notebook, since the imput is much much much faster.



    PDA's are nice and small, too small to really work on. The ideal size is somewhere in the middle, A5 size, as I repeatedly mention. Even 10" is just too big, about 7-8" is where you need to be for reading and writing on something that is still small enough for carry anywhere (though it would still only go in a lab coat pocket, or a small bag, or organzier/portfolio.



    Resolution then becomes a problem. If you want it to interact with the web, it's going to need at least 800 pixels along one axis, and as many as 1024 just in case. Those will be awfully tiny pixels if you make the device A5 sized.





    And there's still the technical question:



    G3's? OSX? iDunno. That's going to cost a LOT to make, unless it's either painfully slow or has dreadful battery life.



    Seems to me that an uberPDA is a better route. Sony is rumored to be contemplating a Clie based tablet. Something like PalmOS has distinct advantages for a tablet. It can be lighter, cheaper, and have longer battery life thanks to the minimal footprint and frugal processors involved. Building a Wintel or PPC based machine with similar size, weight and autonomy would surely require it to be either extremely sluggish or extremely expensive.
  • Reply 7 of 67
    Um. I think your arguments are sound, but your pricing is a little off. I think to get started on a 10" display would be at least $999. Also, I think that they'd probably make the computer fully functional, rather than a optical drive-less machine. I could be wrong.



    Here's what I see:



    Good ($1299):

    12" TFT screen - touch sensitive with 512 levels of sensitivity

    G? ???Mhz (Same as in good iBook)

    30GB HD

    DVD-CDRW Combo Drive (slot-loading)

    256MB Memory



    Better ($1499):

    Same as above: but with a faster processor and larger HD



    Best ($1999):

    Same as above but with even larger hard drive and maxed out memory.
  • Reply 8 of 67
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    Since people are saying that keyboard input is much much faster than pen input, I feel compelled to say that that's utterly wrong, and misses the point besides.



    It's true that for entering text, keyboards are significantly faster. But not everyone spends all their time entering large amounts of text. For anything else, including editing that text, drawing, and navigating, pens are more efficient, and more ergonomic besides, and the performance hit in text entry is no big deal for most emails, forum posts, blog entries, etc. Writers and poets who are sensitive to the change in language (and even thought) that comes from typing rather than writing will appreciate the option as well. If you need a keyboard or keypad, that's what Bluetooth is for.



    The basic problems are: Getting an interface and applications that are capable of harnessing the expressive power of pen input (this includes accurate HWR), and; building something that can be used like a tablet (light, sturdy, etc.) at an attractive price. Neither of these is at all simple, although I have to agree that if anyone on the market can do it, it's Apple.
  • Reply 9 of 67
    eric_zeric_z Posts: 175member
    @CosmoNut



    Just two quick notes:



    1) The 750GX includes 1 MB of internal L2 cache.

    2) It clocks to 1.1 Ghz.



    Source
  • Reply 10 of 67
    cosmonutcosmonut Posts: 4,872member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Composer

    I think that they'd probably make the computer fully functional, rather than a optical drive-less machine.



    You obviously didn't read my post too closely. I said:

    Quote:

    Also included in both would be a slot-loading combo drive, ...



    And I'm not saying that this is going to be a whiz-bang of a machine, folks. I'm thinking of it as a machine that can definitely hold its own if it must, but really shines as a supplement to another Mac.



    I could also see it as a "warm-up" machine for people to buy to get used to the Mac platform, and then their next purchase would be a full-blown desktop or laptop.



    Oh, and thanks for the correction on the 750GX. I told you I don't know much about it.
  • Reply 11 of 67
    I have to say I'm rather taken by the idea of an Apple tablet but for reasons that are more practical(!)



    I teach in a institution where a fair few number of staff have tablet/convertible laptops that they use in class - registration, demonstrating concepts and interactive lessons. They usually hook it up to a projector as a cheaper variant of an interactive whiteboard and I have to say, the results are impressive not only for the budget but the actual participation of pupils.



    My real concern here is that in order to keep up with my peers (and give great enjoyable lessons to my students) it appears I'll have to buy a pc tablet/laptop instead of the Powerbook/iBook I was after. I've seen the Acer model and it looks tempting. What I really want though is a Mac version...



    I have until January to make up my mind, as I need one for the coming term. I hope that Macworld brings me a pleasant surprise, otherwise, and I can't believe I'm saying this, I?ll have no choice but to buy a PC!
  • Reply 12 of 67
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Amorph

    Since people are saying that keyboard input is much much faster than pen input, I feel compelled to say that that's utterly wrong, and misses the point besides.



    It's true that for entering text, keyboards are significantly faster. But not everyone spends all their time entering large amounts of text. For anything else, including editing that text, drawing, and navigating, pens are more efficient, and more ergonomic besides, and the performance hit in text entry is no big deal for most emails, forum posts, blog entries, etc. Writers and poets who are sensitive to the change in language (and even thought) that comes from typing rather than writing will appreciate the option as well. If you need a keyboard or keypad, that's what Bluetooth is for.



    The basic problems are: Getting an interface and applications that are capable of harnessing the expressive power of pen input (this includes accurate HWR), and; building something that can be used like a tablet (light, sturdy, etc.) at an attractive price. Neither of these is at all simple, although I have to agree that if anyone on the market can do it, it's Apple.




    Top handwriting speed for a good writer: about 25-35 words per minute, about the same as a really pathetic typist. This typist, who can only sorta touch-type, gets 60-70wpm now. However, I get your point. Handwriting is different, though not nearly as romantic as you make it out to be. Mark Twain famously disparaged his "Remington" only to make extensive use of it, not just in preparing final manuscripts, but also for composition.



    Handwriting has a different function. However, I always raise the issue of how the tablet would be used. If it's going to be geared towards "computer" tasks/OSes, then typing is faster. Only limited field data entry (like medical, Point of sale, etc etc... may prefer a touch screen.



    Now, if you want to build a computer around the pen, sure, that could be good, but then BUILD IT AROUND THE FLAMING PEN! Aside from the size issues, you have to also consider OS and feel. Can you make an acceptable tactile replacement for paper? And, can you make an OS that is sensitive to the way in which a pen works, to say nothing of accurate handwriting recognition. But I keep bringing up the advantages of the notebook because whenever these threads pop up, the tablet gets mentioned as a laptop replacement -- it makes a poor one.



    The only change in language and thought which I find completely disconcerting comes from the use of voice dictation software. I have on various occasions attempted to use it to satisfactory effect. It completely disrupts the little voice that you use to dictate to yourself when writing, and suppresses the underlying thought. Very hard to get used to even when it works well. That might just be a left brain/right brain hiccup that I've inherited, but I don't see how anyone could write anything substantial via voice dictation, to a computer -- to a live person, Milton would say different, but a computer makes a poor emanuensis.



    PS, Amorph, how can I get some of those guerilla marketing dollars Apple seems to be slipping into your Paypal account?
  • Reply 13 of 67
    jginsbujginsbu Posts: 135member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Matsu

    Now, if you want to build a computer around the pen, sure, that could be good, but then BUILD IT AROUND THE FLAMING PEN! Aside from the size issues, you have to also consider OS and feel. Can you make an acceptable tactile replacement for paper? And, can you make an OS that is sensitive to the way in which a pen works, to say nothing of accurate handwriting recognition. But I keep bringing up the advantages of the notebook because whenever these threads pop up, the tablet gets mentioned as a laptop replacement -- it makes a poor one.





    I agree with Matsu on this one (but just on this one ). My flatmate has a Toshiba tablet/notebook (it's got the screen that flips around and lies up over the keyboard), and as far as I can tell he almost always uses it as a notebook. Having fiddled with it a bit, it's obvious why: Windows Tablet Edition is not designed around a pen interface -- it even leaves the mouse curson on the screen, just letting you move it with a pen instead of a mouse! It's not gestural at all! This is also true of PalmOS, which always feels to me like using a glorified ATM or touchscreen kiosk -- barely a hint of gestures.



    Take cut/copy/paste on either of these systems for example, and compare the implementation to that on the Newton -- which, for all it's faults (I actually own one, and am not Newton bashing here), WAS designed around the pen. There isn't any going through a menu to do these common tasks on the Newton as there is on the others: it's done very naturally with gestures.



    The real key to making the tablet a success is the OS, and you need a OS designed for the task. OS X's interface just isn't suited to it. The good news is that IF apple ever decides to build a tablet, they have the technology and, more importantly, the experience from the Newton to build on. But the point is that it takes a lot more than nifty new hardware to make a successful tablet. I'd highly doubt that Apple is going to attempt any thing like that SOON.



    Maybe that's what Steve Jobs means when he says he's got "one good OS" left in him: OS X is becomming a mature OS, and it might not be too long before Apple could dedicate some energy towards doing a tablet OS right. But I wouldn't hold my breath. And whatever might emerge from that wouldn't work much like today's tablets and would have to avoid the many valid reasons Steve has stated for Apple not doing a tablet now.
  • Reply 14 of 67
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,866member
    See a few comments below. In a nut shell I don't think the hardware technology exists today for Apple to build a tablet most people would want to use.



    Quote:

    Originally posted by CosmoNut

    Apple has many good reasons to release a tablet computer, and signs are starting to point to the idea that it's in the works. This thread was created to reasonably and intelligently look through all the arguments for and against this possibility. Below, I'll offer you my reasoning for why I now believe that Apple IS developing a tablet.



    Throughout the last few years, the Mac platform has slowly been adding more and more features and hardware that could bode well for a tablet in their current state, or upgrading them would make them perfect for a tablet. Here are some that I'm talking about.Inkwell - This capability has been built into OS X for quite a long time now, and before then, we hadn't seen it since the Newton. It's a cool feature, but for the vast majority of those who DON'T have pen tablets, it's been unneccesary and unused.

    [p]






    Inkewell is fine, but it becomes an issue of what you are writing on. What Apple would have to be able to deliver is a tablet that is not that much thicker and not that much heavier than a steno pad. Such a machine would still have to maintain good storage and communications ability. I suspect several years before everything comes together for this.

    Quote:

    Apple Applications - Although iLife and Keynote have done well so far on regular machines, they could be greatly enhanced by being on a tablet Mac. iPhoto's slide show capabilities would allow for the tablet to be a high-quality, dynamic photo album. iTunes music sharing can keep all your music on your "base" machine while your tablet could access it wirelessly from anywhere in the house. Keynote could be presented to small groups and/or in one-on-one presentations with the tablet. Apple Remote Desktop could shine as well, and I address it later.




    While to be successful any device would have to be able to run the same OS as their desktop machines, I do not believe that the exsitance of a tablet would help any specific application. For example a photo alboum is a nice idea until you consider the memory requirements. Even the best mirco disk technology is still limited when you consider large amounts of graphics. A tablet is not going to have room for CDROM or any similar media.

    Quote:

    Apple Bluetooth Keyboard & Mouse - Many have said that Jobs feels that a computer must have a keyboard and a mouse, and with the release of Apple's BT peripherals, a tablet with BT built in could EASILY integrate with these devices. You don't want to write on the screen? Fine! Just set the tablet on its stand and start typing on your Apple Bluetooth Pro Keyboard.



    Nice device I'm sure everyone will agree. But what do thses have to do with a tablet? Do you propose that the user carry both the tablet and the keyboard around. Tablets will only be successful if there are a enough applications focused on tablet usage to justify their limited capacity. If such a machine could dock with a base station that expands capacity then that is a different story. Otherwise such devices do nothing for a device that is only a tablet.

    Quote:

    iSync - One feature that has been little used in this program is Mac-to-Mac syncing. Sure, if you have a laptop AND a desktop it's great, but like I mentioned above with Inkwell, this is probably a little-used feature. A tablet would integrate perfectly with this capability and updates to iSync could easily create other avenues for data syncing.
    Airport Extreme w/ Base Station Print Server - Another device besides your laptop or desktop that could easily and seamlessly use this capability is a tablet. While surfing the web wirelessly on the tablet, you could print the current page with a tap on the screen. After using inkwell to write a memo, wirelessly printing it would be a breeze.
    Rendezvous - This widely used and (in my opinion) absolutely fantastic feature of OS X would allow a tablet on the go (at the airport, Starbucks, etc.) to easily and quickly connect to all the networks' capabilities.
    .Mac Features - Backup and iDisk would be wonderful features of which a tablet could take advantage.



    While all of the above are great technologies the problem becomes form factor. How do you fit everthing described above into an actual tablet. Granted some of this is software, but it all can be grouped into networking. Keeping a tablet on line, will not be easy to do with battery power. Mind you we are talking about thin machines here.

    Quote:

    The iPod & Powerbook - Or more specifically, the technology inside of them. With the iPod, Apple's managed to find REALLY small hard drives and amazingly simple interface characteristics that have made it the most popular digital music player in the world. The Powerbooks now have slot-loading drives, aluminum enclosures, built-in Bluetooth and Airport Extreme, and have ended up being small and fairly light in the process. Long story short, Apple's gotten very good at designing thin, light, yet very functional and powerful portable devices.



    I don't know about managing to find really small harddrives, they have been available for some time. The to start to talk about slot loading drives and such is foolish, at that point you might as well just get a laptop. About the only media expansion I could see justified is a Compact Flash slot. And even with CF slot I'd be concerned about screwing up the form factor.


    Quote:

    But there are other things that make me think a tablet would be a very good idea, and/or that they are on the horizon as I type this.The 750GX - Okay, I'll admit I don't know nearly as much about this as many of you, but I've heard that this is a low-power chip. If indeed this is available in mass production, it could be the perfect processor to put in a tablet. Since all Apple laptops and desktops have at least G4s now, the G3 could have free reign (pretty much) in a tablet.






    Way to much processor. Tablets would require a SOC implementation. You would need to absolutely minimize the nuber of external components (off chip) to keep power usage down. Ideally you want to be well below 1 watt when running full steam.

    Quote:

    Education - Apple knows that education is in a budget crunch just like everybody else. If Apple could figure out a way to make a tablet computer that students could carry around with them very easily, AND make it really desirable with it's price tag of about 2/3 the cost of the cheapest iBook, administrators would really go for that. From an efficiency standpoint, lesson plans and class presentations could rock with all the students simply uploading the lessons into their tablets, taking them home to work on, and then downloading them back to the instructor's computer the next day. With Apple Remote Desktop, instructors could still keep an eye on their students' computing during class.



    Well yeah they would go for something that would save them a great deal of money but a tablet won't. Remember schools and flimsey machines don't mix. Besides the technology does not exist to bering the tablet in at that price point. Maybe in a couple of years but you could not do it tommorow.

    Quote:

    Quanta - As has been discussed in this thread, there is a strong possibility that Quanta is producing a tablet for Apple. Last time we heard news of something like this the New iMac was released shortly after. I think we need to take a LOT of stock in this story, because it's got to be grounded in something, and like I've said, we've seen something like this before that eventually panned out.



    Well like all things it is a rumor until we se the hardware. Also why would you take a lot of stock into the story. Alot of good information floats over these pages but you do have to realize that it is just that information. Information required digestion.






    Quote:

    So if Apple is actually creating a tablet, what kind of specs could it have, and how much would it cost, realistically? Here's what I've been able to come up with:



    Both models would have an aluminum enclosure matching the current Powerbooks, and use a 10" TFT touch-panel display at 800x600 resolution w/ 32MB VRAM. Also included in both would be a slot-loading combo drive, built-in Bluetooth and Airport Extreme, a touch sensitive stylus, integrated stereo speakers, 10/100 ethernet, a 56k v.92 modem, 2 USB 2.0 ports, 1 Firewire 400 port, 1 analog audio out, and 1 IrDa infrared port. Below is the rest, and how the lines would be priced.



    ARE you absolutly crazy. That is a top end laptop not a tablet. Just the combo drive alone is to much to carry around and you want to add everything else? How about a small screen, lets say 5 x 7", a couple of firewire ports and a compact flash port. Thats it, the rest you don't have space for or the battery to run.



    ONE OF the great problems with the so called tablets, that I've seen to date, is that they unirversally try to give you the environment of a laptop. I don't think that this will ever be possible. A tablet has to provide its own functional environment, it really is no more an independant piece of equipment than a steno pad.

    Quote:



    Good - $699

    800Mhz G3 (750GX)

    256MB L2 Cache

    30GB 4200RPM HD (same as iPod)

    256MB SDRAM, expandable to 768MB

    Sturdy Stand, including built-in charging



    Better - $899

    800Mhz G3 (750GX)

    256MB L2 Cache

    60GB 4200RPM HD (same as iPod)

    256MB SDRAM, expandable to 768MB

    Apple Docking Station (includes tilt and swivel, 2 USB 2.0, 1 FW 400, charging)



    While I doubt any of the cofiguratins above will happen, it does seem to be a unerversal truth that Apple always ships it machines with to little memory. By the way expandability for memory is out of the question, this device needs to be thin. I'm talking less that 3/8" here.

    Quote:



    These assertions are from my own deductive reasoning, assumptions, and personal opinions. I have NO insider information in any way, shape, or form. I'd like to hear what you all have to say, but please don't flame me. It'll be interesting to see how close this information is if/when an Apple tablet really is released. I'd buy one.



    Well so is the informaiton above, and don't consder it a flaming. You just seemed to have designed an iBook and tried to pass it off as a tablet. It is interesting that you would commit to buying something that doesn't exist yet. And even more so what you have described wouln't even be pratical.



    On the other hand I can imagine what a useful tablet would be, but can not imagine paying for one with the current state of technology. That could change awfully fast though as there are some things happenign that will make such devices usefull in the future. Maybe 2 to 3 years.



    Dave
  • Reply 15 of 67
    bungebunge Posts: 7,329member
    Don't compare using a stylus to using a keyboard. Compare a stylus to a mouse. A keyboard is faster than a stylus, but a lot of computing doesn't involve much keyboard use. Sending a quick email, writing a quick post at AppleInsider, etc.



    The things we use a mouse for are faster with a stylus. Clicking a button on a web page, scrolling up and down, point and click, it's all faster with a stylus.
  • Reply 16 of 67
    Quote:

    Originally posted by bunge

    Don't compare using a stylus to using a keyboard. Compare a stylus to a mouse.



    This is quite the wrong way to look at things. And looking at the stylus in this way leads to a lot of confusion about tablets and pen interfaces. The critical factor in creating a successful pen interface is treating the stylus as a unique input method of it's own -- NOT comparing it to a keyboard OR a mouse.



    It should be easy to see why this is: people don't USE a mouse as they would a pen. A mouse is like an extension of your hand inside the GUI, using it to grap things, push buttons, etc. -- the hand version of the mouse pointer is really rather appropriate. While a stylus can be used to accomplish many of these tasks, this isn't where it shines. The stylus is applied directly to the GUI from the outside -- it isn't in the GUI at all (or shouldn't be: this is one of the great faults of Windows Tablet Edition); similarly your real pen isn't IN the paper in any sense, but does things to it. It is an entirely different metaphor for interacting with a computing device.



    This is what opens the door to gestural interfaces, and allows editing a document on a tablet to be a 'live' rendering of editing on paper, for example. Certain actions illustrate this well: Deleting a text or image is easily accomplished with a pen by scratching out, just as one would do on paper but 'live'. Does moving the mouse pointer back and forth over a bit of text of image strike you as an intuitive way to delete? Or, drawing a line across the screen with a pen to indicate/create a new note/document, just like one might draw a line across a pad of paper to do much the same task. Does dragging the mouse pointer across the screen in a word processor seem like a natural way to create a new document? These sorts of tasks show where the interface metaphors of mouse and stylus diverge. The real advantage of a pen interface is it's ability to animate and enhance the techniques people already use to accomplish tasks on paper.
  • Reply 17 of 67
    cubistcubist Posts: 954member
    An enlarged Clie would not sell, it would be too expensive for something that offers little functionality beyond a Palm.



    The tablet PCs with the flip-around screens are far too fragile and delicate. Wizard69 is right, it needs to be thin, light, with long battery life, and rugged. Very rugged.



    And it also needs to be inexpensive. $699, with only one model. Screen resolution can be 640x480, it doesn't need to be so high. Even so, that's not going to be a cheap panel.
  • Reply 18 of 67
    onlookeronlooker Posts: 5,252member
    I've never heard SJ say No Tablet from Apple. I would like to see a link to that quote.



    I have heard him say no PDA, but that was right after the G4 was first introduced.

    Needless to say a PDA, and a Tablet are quite different products.
  • Reply 19 of 67
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Matsu

    Top handwriting speed for a good writer: about 25-35 words per minute, about the same as a really pathetic typist. This typist, who can only sorta touch-type, gets 60-70wpm now. However, I get your point. Handwriting is different, though not nearly as romantic as you make it out to be. Mark Twain famously disparaged his "Remington" only to make extensive use of it, not just in preparing final manuscripts, but also for composition.



    I'm not at all romantic about it. I'm going from the testimony of a number of writers, some quite established (check my location ), who acknowledge that handwritten and typed prose are different in their particular case, and who therefor pick whichever medium works best for whatever they're trying to do. I know one writer who writes fiction longhand, but types essays. It has nothing to do with romantic notions and everything to do with exploiting the tools you have to get work done.



    Quote:

    Now, if you want to build a computer around the pen, sure, that could be good, but then BUILD IT AROUND THE FLAMING PEN!



    Which is what I said. The great theoretical advantage of a pen-based computer is that a stylus is a much more accurate and expressive and intuitive tool for manipulating things than a mouse is. It has a broader range of expression than a keyboard does - I can write a plain glyph or a fancy illuminated one, draw a picture, rapidly pinpoint a place where I'd like the insertion cursor to be, draw arrows around linking things together, all simply by using one tool in an obvious, direct and immediate way.



    But if the software doesn't provide a way to harness that capability, then the tablet will just be a funny-looking notebook, and it will suck, and it will fail. I believe we're in violent agreement on that point.
  • Reply 20 of 67
    kedakeda Posts: 722member
    Before Wacom dropped ADB tablet support and forced me away from my 2-year-old $500 tablet ( ), I used it as my main input device. Once I got used to it, it was much faster than a mouse.



    Keep in mind, this was in OS9 and didn't have inkwell. I wish there was a good alternative to Wacom (after dropping support for ADB, they recommended that I 'upgrade my hardware' with out so much as a coupon or rebate). I don't want to give them my money, but I loved using a graphics tablet to interact with my Mac.



    A tablet computer would be even easier to use since you would be writing directly on the screen. There was some learning curve involved with me because I had to get used to drawing in on place and seeing the result in another.
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