Over the years, there have always been those rumored Apple products and announcements that seem to take on a life of their own. Products that have been rumored for so long that you never actually think they will ever arrive, and when they finally do, it seems surreal. We can remember three other moments like this:
The Tablet easily falls into that category. Apple fans have been demanding a tablet-sized device from Apple as far back as the Newton days (15 years ago). Later interest in such a device morphed into a Mac version which we were convinced was poised to be released in 2003 but killed at the last minute. But over the past year, the Apple tablet has once again become the focus of the rumor community — and this time it seems certain.
The rumors for the tablet have been scattered all over the place with claims from analysts and other questionable sources taking the headlines. Instead of providing an exhaustive list of rumors, here’s what we feel are most credible and most likely.
The Wall Street Journal provides an overall image of what an Apple tablet will offer:
The tablet is expected to be a multimedia device that will let people watch movies and television shows, play games, surf the Internet and read electronic books and newspapers. Though companies like Toshiba Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. have introduced Windows-based tablet computers before and Amazon.com Inc. and others sell similarly-sized digital-book readers, people briefed by Apple say the company intends to carve out a new product category.
Apple is said to be looking to change the way consumers interact with content. This would presumably be accomplished with live updating information and Apple’s multi-touch technology. Multiple reports have indicated that Apple is meeting with book publishers, newspapers and other companies to provide content for the device.
All reports have pointed to the use of the advanced Cortex A9 ARM processor in Apple’s upcoming tablet. The use of this next generation processor should allow for good performance and relatively long battery life. It will also allow the tablet to run existing iPhone and iPod Touch apps unaltered — a feature that has been rumored. The added horsepower could also allow for long rumored iPhone OS features such as multi-tasking. While some may be holding out hope for a Mac OS X based experience, there has been absolutely no evidence that the tablet will run anything related to Apple’s desktop operating system, and the use of the ARM processor would eliminate the possibility of direct Mac application compatibility. It seems certain that the tablet will run an evolution of the iPhone operating system which has been designed for multi-touch interfaces.
The device, itself, has been pegged at around 10″ in size according to multiple reports with an appearance very similar to the current iPhone. A front facing camera may also be included with the device which would open the door to video conferencing. Optional 3G wireless connectivity in addition to built-in Wi-Fi is expected, though through which carrier remains uncertain.
Apple has applied for trademarks for both iSlate and iPad. While it’s possible Apple may have ultimately decided to go a different direction, the iPad application process remains ongoing with filings as recent as this month, making this seem to be the most likely candidate.
Finally, the interface remains one of the most important pieces of the puzzle, but little has leaked about this. Patent applications over the years have provided hints at what might be possible, but the best reports simply describe it as “a good bit of new sexy” and that people will be surprised at how you interact with it.
Steve Jobs seems to be very excited about the new product with second hand quotes describing it as the most important thing he’s ever done. The last time we’d heard that Steve Jobs was excited about a product launch it was immediately prior to the launch of the iPhone in 2007.
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