Monday, May 23, 2005


Apple Tablet PC sightings

Got this from a source of mine. Treat as speculation, but thought it might be good to throw it out there and let the public chew on:

I have no less than 5 sources saying an Apple Tablet
announcement is due soon. Or something, as some of
these press people (Apple diehards at that), who
normally cared not about Tablets, and thought it was
all just Microsoft vaporware, are suddenly so
interested in the Tablet PC concept, and asking tons
of questions. Pretty easy to read those tea leaves, so
somethings up.

And the Intel talks are for battery saving Sonoma-like
Powerbook and Tablet tech, I'd heard this 3-4 weeks
ago from 3 sources, and other sources talked as it
just hit WSJ today. Everyone is speculating just ARM
or Embedded hits per iPod or like, but I'd heard more
for Powerbooks...etc.

Anyways, what I'd heard, word on street at least.

...And it exists, honest, seen a prototype. Instant On,
ASUS-Tatung whiteish looking, running a reduced
version of OSX, with some funky start-up PDA like
Apple icon menu. Touch only (white touch pen), least
the version I saw. Dunno if it will make it to market,
but I think what I saw, is what these NDA-signing
reporters have saw. Played with it for maybe 5 mins
before it was wisked away.

Some sort of weird Sonomaish slash Power PC hybrid,
not sure I get it. Customized Intel something.

an apple tablet ... sounds too great.

esp. if they'd be able/willing to combine the fantastic powerbook aluminium design with a high resolution screen as the one of my M200 by toshi. then a change to MacOS might be reasonable.

oh ya, of course: an aluminium design iPod colour should be in the box as well. :-)

In case you didn't already know, engadget linked you here:
Let's hope that the Apple iSlate (my name, not theirs, yet) is:

* Priced like a PDA, not a laptop
* Stays cool like a PDA, not like a laptop
* Is super portable like a PDA, not like a laptop

But . . .

* Can run OSX like a laptop, not like a PDA.

And as long as I'm dreaming, how about:

* A sticker price of $500 or less.

And of course it should be able to communicate wirelessly with that new Apple living room device -- the Apple iHome / iHub / iMediaCenter that plays content thru my TV and downloads shows and Movies from the iVideoStore . . .
Think of it as being halfway between a high-end iPod and a low-end iBook.

Price $749 (base model, on up to $999)

Not so much a light version of OS X as much as having a light interface of OS X to account for the method of input i.e. Inkwell and a more PDA/utility-app specific Dock/Dashboard.

It will have a wide-screen aspect ratio and be able to stand upright or mount for watching DVDs or videos on the internal or external (FireWire/USB2 hard drive.

Of course WiFi and well as AV connections for hooking up to a TV/Home Theater

If nothing else, expect at least one 3rd party killer accessory...a strap which allows you to mount the unit behind a headrest on a car for kids to watch movies in the back seat.

It's not intended as a full-time use computer, but more so to be a personal media device.

The main competition would be the Sony PSP, where games are the primary function, here it's about music/movies/video as the primary and secondary is that you can run things like MS Office. That being said, expect Apple to also offer a small selection of games for this.

Have fun with this.
hmmm. mr. anonymous sounds like a certain apple employee.
i like it
sounds good, just hope it actually comes to market

speaking of releasing it....anyone...(cough anonymous cough)...have any idea if/when we might see it?

as in years....months....seasons....? heck, even decades or never?
What if...

... all those Intel-Boxes in Apple's back yard are just Intel's home delivery drivers bringing round a new slew of chips for Wireless USB? Not a switch in processor technologies, but a switch in peripheral concepts -- including but not limited to a switch from FireWire to new USB standards... Go, think!
Apple has not registered, as one can see from going to the URL. However, this might be because it looks too much like "IsLate".
Apple + Intel talks regard Xscale. An embedded G3 would be my choice, but ARM is better.

Xscale is incredibly efficient. Plus the new multimedia chip Apple got (forgot about that didn't you). This gives you a pretty good little device.

This is not a PDA. Not even close. More like a mini + a remote.

Stream video and audio from iTunes 5.0.

Stand alone - no video output, no BT but 802.11g.
Think this:

... only in aluminum or iBook-white.

I'd buy one.
reread my post and I should state it does have a touch screen - but no VGA port like the previous poster suggests.
I'm the one who posted at 12:41. I didn't mean to imply that it had a VGA port, just that it could be connected to a Home Theater. I might have overstated with the "AV connections". Sorry for the confusion.
Not sure how you fit in with a Bible technology company and your loose lips .... amazing how people such as yourself will do anything for a hit on their website or just rat out their friends so easily.

That is assuming ANYTHING you are saying is true.
Interesting day. Thanks for all the comments. It will be fun to see how this all develops and what kind of device Apple finally comes out with.

BTW: The comments were posted with my sources' permission and I noted to treat them as speculation. That said, I wouldn't have posted it myself unless I felt good about the information.

It doesn't take too much investigation to determine that others are getting some of the same info, like Paul Thurrott.
The technology is available to provide consumers with a product like "iSlate". Of course only Apple could really do it right, although several other companies are attempting to create some variation of this device. Unfortunately many are too focused on video playback only, & not creating a true multi-function device that could be used at home, at the office, or on the road. This product would integrate well into the "Digital Lifestyle" philosophy & compliment existing Apple products.

It would provide a screen large enough to actually watch video & view photos, while still being small enough to be portable. It needs to be smaller than a notebook computer, but larger than a PDA. Granted, you can not put a device the size of a DVD case in your pocket, but something doesn't have to fit in a pocket to be portable. This device could be used in so many different situations that it would have broad appeal in the market. I only pray that Apple is working on such a device & will release it in 2004. They have an opportunity to impact the industry with the iSlate & iVideo media Store as much as the iPod & iTMS will.


New Apple mini-tablet –> PMA (portable media appliance)

Designed not to be a creative device like a desktop or laptop, but rather a sophisticated display device that communicates seamlessly with other devices via Rendezvous & 802.11, BT, GPRS, FireWire, etc.

Device Size:
8” x 5.0” x .65” (±15oz)
± 1/2 size of a 17” PowerBook
± 2x size of a Palm T5 or an iPod
± size of a DVD movie case
small enough to hold with one hand by the bezel (.5” bezel on the sides)

±8” LCD (16:9 ratio) -> 800 x 480 pixels minimum (1024 x 600 ideally)
± 1/2 size of 17” PowerBook screen
± 2x size of a Palm T5 screen
able to display “640 x 480 material” & DVD (720x480) quality video natively

6-9 hr. Li-Ion battery (or some new battery technology)

1.8” 40GB or 60GB Toshiba hard drive (additional capacity can come from external devices)
256MB or 512MB RAM - fixed
CF slot (w/ adapter for SD, xD, Smart Media, Memory stick)

Processor & OS ?:
Motorola 800 MHz G4 mobile w/ Mac OS X lite or
Intel 400 MHz XScale PXA273 w/ Mac OS Mobile?

802.11 –> Desktop or Laptop, Stereo, Internet via Wi-Fi hotspots
Bluetooth –> Keyboard, Mouse, PDA, Wireless Headphones, Internet via GSM Phone
FireWire –> iPod, Computer, Hard Drive, DVD/CD writer, Video Camera, iSight
USB 2.0 –> Printer, PDA, Digital Still Camera
mini-DVI w/adapter for:
-> ADC & VGA for larger monitor
-> DVI for video projector or HDTV
-> S-Video for video projector or TV
-> Composite for video projector or TV
Stereo mini out
Stereo mini in
Rendezvous for seamless connectivity to other devices

Inkwell via touch screen &/or stylus
Keyboard & mouse via Bluetooth or USB
Remote control via Bluetooth

inkwell, iPhoto, iTunes, iMovie, Safari, QuickTime, iSync, Rendezvous
Preview or Acrobat Reader, Mail, iCal, Address Book, Sherlock, iChat AV
Keynote, FileMaker, Quicken,

A/V Formats:
Pixlet, MPEG-4, MPEG-2, MPEG-1, AAC, MP3, WAV, AIFF, Audible, JPEG, TIFF, GIF

Charger, External Battery, Stand, clip for iSight, Portable folding BT keyboard, BT mouse
Headphone w/Microphone boom, quality stereo headphones

Price ??:
$699 to $999

Create a device that is bigger that the largest PDA or Archos type device, yet smaller than the average notebook or tablet computer. Imagine if you will, holding a device (about the size of a DVD case) away from you anywhere from 12" to 18". Obviously a 4" screen would be inadequate, but a 7" to 9" diagonal widescreen would be more than acceptable. It could still be small enough to fit in a stack of books, a briefcase, a large purse, of any number of other carrying cases. It would be something that could be viewed in an office, at home, in a coffee shop, on an airplane or train, or even in the backseat of a car.

The idea is not to see how much visual information one can cram into a small space (3" to 4" screens) or replace existing devices like the TV or Video Projector. The idea is to create a device that is a reasonable compromise between portability & "acceptable or pleasurable" viewing for multiple applications & that also complements existing devices.

Although a 4 lb, 12" notebook computer displays video beautifully (I use one everyday), it is too big for the situations I have described. Beyond the innumerable business applications it could fulfill, it could display video & photos on a screen that is much bigger than an Archos type device or PDA, & yet smaller than a notebook computer. It doesn’t need to carry everything all the time, so it doesn’t require a massive hard drive. The internal HD needs only to be large enough for the OS, applications & enough storage to carry material while you away from any connectivity to other devices or the internet.

From a strictly “video perspective”, a large part of its success would hinge upon Apple's ability to distribute video clips through an online store much like iTMS. This store could provide educational content, business content, news content, & entertainment content beyond just movies. To be truly successful, it must integrate into Apple's "Digital Lifestyle" strategy, & be truly portable (ubiquitous wireless connectivity & good battery life).

Posted by: lajocaab on Feb 11, 04 | 11:05 pm
Wouldn't it seem like a very bad move not to include BlueTooth?
With Apple's line of BlueTooth keyboard and Mouse, why would I not want BlueTooth support in that device? Especially if it runs MS Office (which it reportedly does).

There are really nice, foldable portable BlueTooth keyboard for PDAs. It would make sense to have one of these as an option, no?
I wonder how they would make MacOS X (lite/mobile) fit into an Xscale processor (Intel cooperation rumour).

We run an open source project with exactly that aim and it shows that it *is* possible.

But the most crucial issue is the lack of a floating point unit in Xscale making many operations a lot slower. And PDA designs usually don't have a separate grapics card.

So, I think the idea of a Tablet is nice, but I conclude that it is as expensive as a Powerbook. $699-999 is out of scope for a HDD&G4 based Tablet. So don't be disappointed.
I think it's a white slab of plastic with a microsopic texture which eliminates bacteria; small enough to fit on a book shelf, but tough enough to chop vegetables on.

It will definitely run Intel, which will dedicate most of the processing power to displaying the white colour. Note - the white is not just on the surface. If you were to cut it in half, you'd see it was white all the way through.

The version of OS X referred to however, is actually a cut down version of Darwin - with no CLI - it just has to tell the processor "white," after all.( I"m sure there be hacks. Apple should offer more colours. Hint.)

It's as powerful, flexible and useful as an inanimate carbon rod, but generates far less heat. And of course, it's widescreen. It would have to be - it's the year of HD!

LOL. You Apple fanboys kill me. Keep dreaming about your iSlate, which BTW is a really stupid name. What's next in your fantasies? PSP killer. It's all white and 4 times the cost. Oh yeah, there are no games for it yet.

I hope that Apple doesn't make the same mistake that everyone else has, *not* including an on-board CD/DVD player. There are millions of DVD's and CD's out there all of which would have to be ripped in some way in order to get them onto these portable devices. Just give us a built-in DVD/CD drive so we can watch the same thing on our TV as we do in the portable.
I see the "iSlate" as a very viable possiblity. Just look at past radical Apple introductions:

iPod makes the MP3 Player a social must-have...and simple

iTunes Music Store makes online music purchase the only way to go

Google Bar Integration in Safari

The way I see it, Apple's most innovative and best-selling products are those that have had a failed predecesor, in this case, Microsoft's XP Tablet Edition Tablet PC/Notebooks. I think this could really fly. The iPod revolutionize the way people listen to music by taking a previously failed idea (Portable MP3 Player) and evolving it to the point that the MP3 Player is a Billion Dollar Market. I see the "iSlate" doing this for Tablet Computers.

What I would really like to see Apple do is an online movie store similar to iTunes. Today there are hundreds of online legal video download sites, but they are completely useless for three major reasons:

1) The videos are horribly encoded using Windows Media Video Format, why not use MPEG4 or something that allows the viewer to be able to make out a character's face.

2) People need to buy an entirely new computer to put next to their TV, just to watch movies without having to sit in their office or wherever their regular computer is.

3) Prices are too varied. Some sites offer "Pay-Per-View" videos that are only watchable for 1 day. Some people have internet connections so slow that by the time the video has downloaded, it has been 2 days, and they can't watch the video.

What I suggest is set prices for owning videos. Make the video quality very good by using scalable video codecs like H.264 or MPEG4. Get rid of "Pay-Per-View Video Downloads". Make the online store easy to use by making an acompanying program, like iTunes, that is available to Mac or PC users.

Such a store would pay dividends for not only Apple, but otherr companies. Companies that make Portable Media Centers, companies that make Media Center PC's, Film Companies.

This is the next wave...Music was just the beginning.
Apple could do well by using the design of the Vadem Clio ( google for Vadem Clio C-1050 )

I still have mine and use it every day !
Take a look at this:
If something like this comes out from Apple, I will return my Powerbook and buy it.
That pepper pad looks very cool.
A one year old patent just came through.
Check the access illustrations. Looks like the engadget illustrations a lot.,889.WKU.&OS=pn/D504,889&RS=PN/D504,889?tMoJk
I have heard from a reasonable source that has actually seen the upcoming prototype that the innovation is more surprizing than anyone has thought, or mentioned to my knowledge. It is flexible! We'll see.
Apple is close to doing it. If you look at the capabilities of an iPod all the elements are there for a PDA/MP3/Home type appliance. They have the storage, the RAM, the processing power and even an interface that works without a touch screen - although I would personally like a touch screen and writing input.
Check out this Apple iNote Tablet Analysis.
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