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Apple Patents Tablet Mac (with Photos)

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  • by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @07:27PM (#12493801) Homepage Journal
    They are very simple illustrations, not photos.

    Would a Mac tablet ever see the light of day? This is not intended as a
    troll/flame, but how big is the market for a niche product from a niche
    computer manufacturer?

    A mirror of the photos^H^H^H^H^H^Hillustrations is here [networkmirror.com].
    • by Ty (15982) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @07:35PM (#12493880) Homepage
      Ummm the mp3 market used to be a niche market. Who has about an 80% market share now?
      • mp3 players were pretty much a hit from the get-go. Not true with tablets outside of some corner-case, vaertical markets (e.g., warehousing).
      • Ummm the mp3 market used to be a niche market. Who has about an 80% market share now?

        An MP3 player is just a modern Walkman. The "Walkman market" hasn't been "niche" for about twenty years.

        "Niche" != "immature".

        The tablet PC market is niche. It's niche because its practical applications - advantageously over existing alternatives - are very small.

        MP3 players have never been a niche market. They've been am *immature and growing* market, but the idea of a "pocket music player" hasn't been a niche ma

    • billions? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sean Clifford (322444)
      >>how big is the market for a niche product >>from a niche computer manufacturer

      Billions?

      When the iPod went mainstream it ate everyone's lunch, but at first it was a niche product from a niche computer manufacturer. Now white headphones are becoming as ubiquitous as cell phones.

      I'll reserve judgement until I see an iTablet, but the general idea isn't making me all gooey inside either. Who's to say whether it'll make the light of day.

      I'd be very surprised if Apple launched an iTablet.

      • Re:billions? (Score:4, Informative)

        by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @08:47PM (#12494441) Homepage Journal
        Now white headphones are becoming as ubiquitous as cell phones.

        In Steve Jobs' dreams perhaps. There were almost 700 million cell phones sold last year and an estimated 800-900 million this year.

        How many ipods?
        • Re:billions? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by cosmic_0x526179 (209008) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @09:45PM (#12494792)
          In Steve Jobs' dreams perhaps. There were almost 700 million cell phones sold last year and an estimated 800-900 million this year.

          The grandparent post is more correct than you give it credit for. A cellphone is used for how many minutes per hour on average... maybe 5 ? An average iPod owner probably exceeds 30 mins per hour average usage. So, if you multiply the number of iPods sold by the visibility factor the iPod is becoming ubiquitous.

    • >how big is the market for a niche product from a niche computer manufacturer?

      You mean like the iPod? Pretty big, I'd say, depending on the application.

      Steve Jobs has made comments about the iPod not lending itself to being a decent video player due to its tiny display. A tablet, on the other hand....
    • by JHromadka (88188) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @07:56PM (#12494053) Homepage
      This is obviously the PowerBook G5. Not shown is the processor, which will be incorporated into the power supply. :)
    • a Mac tablet (Score:3, Insightful)

      A MacOSX tablet would rock. Tablets may not be that exciting by themselves but with OSX? UNIX wherever you are, turn the thing into a terminal and watch videos on it streamed off your mac mini in the other room; instant on feature lets you use it to take notes at lectures; capture video with built in videocam; use your soon to be released ipod/motorola phone combo thingy as a remote control to change the channel, etc. Sure, it's all stuff you can do with a mini laptop and a TV set now but when Apple does
      • Re:a Mac tablet (Score:3, Informative)

        by mabhatter654 (561290)
        part of making a Mac Tablet successful will be Apple's "stubbornness" in insisting that everything works with just a 1-button mouse. The real drawback with windows tablets is that too many programs have become hooked on using odd 2nd, 3rd, and scroll buttons with poor downward support.

        a tablet necessitates a "1-button" interface because generally it's similar to a "pointy finger" of the user. The main drawback to windows tablet right now is that key programs like office 2003 are still a terible usage klu

    • Heh (Score:3, Funny)

      by shpoffo (114124)
      Yea - who woudl ever buy a "niche" audio player from a "niche" computer company.

      Oh, btw, I think I heard in some recent news that Apple is going out of business

      .
      -shpoffo
    • I'd buy an Apple tablet, but only if M-m-m-m-m... m-m-m-m.... m-m-m-m-m-m-Miiicrosoft (whew that was hard to say) ported a version of OneNote to OS X.

      Damn MS and OneNote. I live by OneNote on my laptop (not even a tablet) PC, and am desperately trying to find a way to run it in Linux short of a full-blown VMWare environment...

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @09:46PM (#12494798)
      Whoops! Research please!

      Apple Computer is a huge computer manufacturer. In fact, they are the 5th biggest in terms of recent US sales figures, and sales are increasing more rapidly than any other manufacturer. [Source: IDC, 4Q2004 report]

      So even though Apple only holds 3.8% of the market:

      1. Dell @ 17% of market
      2. HP, @ 16% of market
      3. IBM, @ 5% of market
      4. Gateway, @ 4% of market
      5. Apple @ 3.8% of market

      And there you have it. They may be small compared to Microsoft's 95% OS penetration, but they are large in terms of being a product manufacturer, neatly falling in the "2nd tier by volume" along with IBM and Gateway.

    • Good question (Score:4, Interesting)

      by putaro (235078) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @11:21PM (#12495464) Journal
      Apple actually built a prototype Mac (System 7) tablet back in the mid-90's. They got as far as the "prototype" plastics being made and did a small run for internal testing (maybe a couple of dozen?). I saw some in use in the Tokyo office in '96 where they were being used to test the (Japanese language) handwriting recognition software. They were sturdy enough for day to day use and were left in the lunchroom for employees to use (the idea was to get lots of input with different people's handwriting styles). I don't recall why the project was killed then.
  • I am just glad somebody is continuing the Tablet trend. I thought about buying one, and not one person ever recommended a Tablet Centrino over a regular labtop. I am at the point where I don't care if SCO wants to revive the Tablet business.

  • Wait! (Score:5, Funny)

    by RatBastard (949) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @07:28PM (#12493815) Homepage
    My iBook isn't going to happy when she sees that come home with me. :(
  • One can only assume that it will use bluetooth and other wireless technologies to hook up to anything external. At most there appears to be one connection, which appears to be for an AC adapter.
  • Its nice... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Upaut (670171) * on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @07:29PM (#12493820) Homepage Journal
    It looks, should they make it, to be smaller and lighter than a "current" tablet PC. Kinda like an oversized PDA. Like a Newton and a Powerbook got freeky in the back room...

    Its so pure, I think I'm going to cry...

    Seriously though, I am hoping to see something like this in the near future. Hopefully it will be 'announced' in the next Macworld Boston. Inkwell is such a nice pice of software, it would be great to see it being used in a tablet.
  • by ackthpt (218170) * on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @07:29PM (#12493821) Homepage Journal
    It's actually a revolutionary new transportation system which will enable people to get about without requiring gasoline. In snow you simply stand upon it and carve your way downhill or grab a fender and glide along behind traffice. In the summer attach trucks and wheels and you've got it finished.
  • by jkheit (634306) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @07:29PM (#12493822)
    Sorry about the misleading title. (A case of fingers before brain) There are illustrations from the patent, not photos. (Perhaps this can be corrected). Anyway, my apologies on that.
  • by Cr0w T. Trollbot (848674) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @07:31PM (#12493839)
    Apple patents a lot of things which never see the light of day. It may be that their tablet implamentation has a few unique features they want to patent, but they have no real intention of bringing a TabletMac to market anytime soon. Of course, that could change if they think market conditions warrent...

    Though the pictures don't indicate this, I wonder if they could also be filling in a few final functional gaps to turn the iPod into a full-blown PDA? Tantalizing as that might be, it's probably unlikely as well, seeing as how they're making bigger margins on the iPod Photo than PDA manufacturers are making on their product...

    Crow T. Trollbot

  • From TFA "It's important to note that being granted a design patent does not necessarily mean that Apple has any intention of releasing a particular product, and Apple has filed for many design patents in recent years for products that did not make it to market."

    I hope this is a case where thry come thru with it. It looks COOL!

  • I noticed that in Apple Quartz Composer, there is mention of a TABLET pen location. I tried this with my Wacom Graphire, and no luck. At this point, I figured that apple must be making new drivers for existing tablets. Well, I guess it's an APPLE BRAND TABLET PC!!! Whoohoo!.
    • I imagine that is referring to an interface to Inkwell [apple.com]. Inkwell is primarily useful for users of Wacom [wacom.com] tablets. You know, those things that let you draw with a pen? Well, Inkwell will let you use it for handwriting recognition and as a mouse as well. Inkwall has existed in OS X since Jaguar (Mac OS X 10.2). To sum it all up, this is nothing new and is no golden arrow pointing towards the amazing future of Apple tablets. Please be careful not to throw misguided bread crumbs out that the Mac rumor sites will
  • Haha... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Mac Degger (576336) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @07:40PM (#12493923) Journal
    Very funny, Jobs. And this is different from my palmpilot how, exactly? Oh, yours is bigger, you say?
  • by fermion (181285) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @07:41PM (#12493932) Homepage Journal
    Apple has some experience in this. The newton was the tablet PC that technology would allow. It was a full powered computer, with expandability and full network connections. I remember transfering files over my ethernet. I did not have to connect my Newton to my computer, only my network.

    What killed the Newton was syncronization. All the stuff I wrote on the newton was difficult to transfer to the Mac. All my contacts on the Mac was difficult to reliably syncronize to the newton. Don't tell me how to do it. I have used a newton from the day it came out until they day they kiled it. I have all the tools, cards, utilities, whatever. I still ahve 2000 sitting in it's leather case in my house.

    So, as soon as palm V came out, small, sync, everything, I was all over it. It was could not be a writing machine, but I could live with that. My Newton became more trouble than it was worth.

    But Apple now has sync, at least for what can fit on the .Mac drive. It does not sync macs, and I have found nothing that will do so quickly over 802.11b, but you can do calendars, contacts, mail, and good number of documents, which is has made my life so much easier.

    So, this tablet PC, which will have bluetooth and airport, can do what the newton never could. Be an effective remote terminal. You can carry it around for an hour or a day, and, within a few minutes, all relevent changes can be transfered. You can take it to the coffee house, sync to .Mac, and by the time you get back home, your big machine can be updated.

    Am I sorely afraid I will buy this thing. Yes. I don't really know what I would use it for, which is the rub. If it is like an iTablet, consumer priced, it would be fun to have. If it was PowerTablet, the investment would be difficult.

    • On the flipside ... I used Newtons from the first through to my MP2000 and never lost any data due to battery failure or crashes. (I lost data on one Newton owing to dropping it and smashing its screen.)

      You can't say that of Palm, etc.
    • by BTWR (540147)
      What killed the Newton was syncronization.

      Nope. what really killed Newton was 3 simple words:

      Eat... up... martha.

    • by Khelder (34398) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @08:47AM (#12497782)
      I used a Newton for years (first the original MessagePad and then the MP100). For me, the fatal flaw was that it was both too big and too small:

      * Too big to fit in my pocket so I could carry it with me everywhere
      * Too small to be able to see very much data at once

      On the plus side, the interface was amazing. It was actually designed to be used with a pen, not just a modified desktop UI.

      So now I use a Palm, because it lets me have my calendar and contact info with me all the time (as well as other stuff, of course, but the main thing I use it for is calendar and contacts). And its interface is ok.

      But I still miss my Newton. I'd love to have a Newtonesque tablet. Even one with a display the size of a steno pad would be excellent.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @07:44PM (#12493948)
    Now I understand why they have been so stuck on 1 button!!!

    A touchpad!

    Oooohh.. Jobs was ahead of the curve all along... :-)
    • by michaeldot (751590) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @09:23PM (#12494676)
      Slightly sarcastic? But indeed you're right. My Tablet PC works much better with software designed with just one button in mind.

      While most tablet styluses come with a right-button in the lower half of the pen, they're often easy to accidentally press and many users like myself instead disable it and set the tablet settings to treat a TAP-AND-HOLD as a right-click.

      When you're not holding a mouse, "right-clicking" a tablet is a slower means of interacting. Software designed with one button in mind works much more efficiently and naturally.

      This is quite important, as until Tablet PC "takes off" (it hasn't by any means), most software that runs on is mainstream, non-tablet-aware software. An OS which encourages one-mouse development could have a distinct advantage.
  • Patent RSS Feeds (Score:5, Informative)

    by stikij (871472) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @07:44PM (#12493949)

    • Apple - RSS [feedburner.com]
    • Microsoft - (RSS [feedburner.com])
    • Google - (RSS [feedburner.com])
    • Yahoo! - (RSS [feedburner.com])
    • IBM - (RSS [feedburner.com])
    Courtesy of PatentMojo.com [patentmojo.com]
  • Prior art? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Locke2005 (849178) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @07:45PM (#12493958)
    Doesn't this violate the Etch-a-Sketch design patent?
  • I can't help but think that Apple would be one of the best people to pull this off. Given that they (pretty much) control the specs of their systems and the corresponding OS, they can really tailor the Tablet functionality to work as well as possible. The tablets I've seen in PCs are cool, but not enough to encourage me to fork out the extra money compared to a regular laptop. (That said, I'm now a Mac user anyway!) Apple really has a talent for creating sexy, sleek and functional products - I'm sure the
  • Using Tiger (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CypherXero (798440) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @07:49PM (#12493988) Homepage
    Tiger (10.4) has a built-in feature that allows you to rotate the screen.

    Go the the System Preferences and then hold down the option key while you click the Displays button. You will see a pulldown thats labeled "Rotate". Select it and you will see your screen rotate.
    • Re:Using Tiger (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @08:08PM (#12494148) Homepage
      Don't forget this has other uses. For example you could mount your LCD on a swivel stand or on your wall in portrait mode, then use function to make the screen "right side up".

      If Apple did this, I would expect the screen to automatically rotate what is "up" based on how you hold the tablet. The little gyro in the latest PowerBooks should be enough to allow them to do that.

    • Re:Using Tiger (Score:2, Informative)

      by LiquidCoooled (634315)
      This helps with some rotatable monitors as well as for handhelds.
      You can flip some widescreen monitors around and have a super long visible page.

      It sure is better on your eyes.
    • Re:Using Tiger (Score:5, Informative)

      by ljaguar (245365) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @08:53PM (#12494477) Homepage Journal
      it screws up the subpixel rendering though. because subpixel rendering (LCD anti-aliasing) depends on horizontal layout of red/green/blue pixels. he anti-aliasing of the font expects the red/green/blue pixel to be aligned in a certain way so draws the font in a certain way. This works fine when it's really aligned that way as expected. But if the screen is rotated 90 degrees, the algorithm screws up.

      I tried it. Other people are freaking out because they can't figure out how to revert the screen... You just restart the system preference panel and do it again. I did it and got it back fine.

      But like I said, the subpixel rendering problem is there.
  • by As Seen On TV (857673) <asseen@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @07:50PM (#12493992)
    All I have to say about this is: 20030076303.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Wow. That's a clever post. Hint: plug the number into Google.

      I feel like we're playing that "I love bees" game, and ASOTV is the AI handing out clues.
    • by NickV (30252) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @08:08PM (#12494150)
      Yea... I see what you're saying. It seems WAAAAY to obvious (and un-Apple like) to just give something that big away in a patent without obfuscating it to hell and back (and a picture of a guy using a tablet is pretty much the opposite of obfusication.)

      That patent you refer to was clearly for the iPod clickwheel, but by phrasing all the language and diagrams as a "mouse" with a "rotary dial" you guys totally hid the real nature of the patent until it was released. Mind you, after the iPod mini's release it was pretty obvious that the patent applied to that item.

      So what you're saying is the patent is for something unrelated to a tablet... something that , once it comes out, will obviously fit that patent.

      You know what I think it is (based on your hints and other things I've read.) A remote for the Airport Express Video (the one with an integrated hardware h.263 encoder and digital video outputs for a TV) that gives you a mini iTunes-y type interface to select tv shows/episodes you bought.

      Yea... that sounds like it! It'd be very cool! (and surprising for a company run by a man who I've read hates the TV.)
  • Not a sure thing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kesh (65890) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @07:52PM (#12494002)
    Figures. I get to moderate for the first time in weeks, and it's a topic I really need to comment on. ;)

    That said, just because Apple has a patent doesn't mean they're going to ever build the thing. Personally, though, I hope this turns out to be the announcement at WWDC. I'd love to have a tablet Mac, just for reading places like here on the couch. My laptop is nice, but not too comfortable... though the keyboard is more useful for chat or long replies.

    It's certainly a niche design, so I could see Apple patenting a decent design that their engineers came up with even if they never build the product. That way, they can always change their mind later if the market really wants an Apple tablet.
  • Um, no. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MadMacSkillz (648319) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @07:52PM (#12494009) Homepage
    Words per minute I can type: about 80 Words per minute I can handwrite: about 15 Why do I need a tablet again?
    • How many drawings per minute can you make on your keyboard?
    • I know what you mean. As a coder, a tablet would be cool but not terribly functional for me.

      That said, what if you are a graphic designer? Like I bet the guys over at Penny Arcade (who do their comics with a Wacom tablet) would love something like this. Photoshoppers and others would too. It would also work just fine for video editing and some other applications. I can see some real benifits.

      That said, having an integrated keyboard (like some of the PC laptop/tablet hybrids have) would pretty much be a p

    • Re:Um, no. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by LionKimbro (200000) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @08:30PM (#12494330) Homepage
      If you create diagrams and explanations, tablets make a huge difference.

      When we solve the problem of incorporating images online, [taoriver.net] and when we have cheap tablets, you're going to see Wikipedia (and the rest of the web) light up with diagrammed explanations of things.

      Visual Language [emacswiki.org] is going to be big and near-ubiquitous. It'll be a lot easier to learn about stuff.

      But, the pressure will be on you to make visual explanations. People will have much higher visual literacy. The knowledge in "Understanding Comics" will be near-ubiquitous- common sense. Text-only [taoriver.net] will be fogey-style.

      So, after a while, the pressure will be on to use a Tablet, or whatever the future equivalent is. Perhaps you'll just write with a stylus on a table, [taoriver.net] and the camera next to you infer where you're drawing, and use a laser to print it down for you, or something. Who knows.
  • i got one right here [is-a-geek.net]...

    granted, it's not a high-res display, and the redraw rate really sucks, but it does come in a nice pink.
  • Here is what I think (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @07:59PM (#12494082) Homepage
    OK. I bought a Mac in January, so here is what I think.

    First and formost, cool. I would have given it consideration, without a doubt. If Apple turned the 12" PB or iBook into a table, that would rock. Now the "doodles" (I find it hard to call them photos, and as drawings they look like basically every other tablet) don't seem to show a keyboard. I've seen pics of PC tablets that the screen can be "reversed" making it a tablet, or used like a normal laptop and I think that's a great idea.

    Now what would be REALLY cool would be to make the iBook: Touch (like the name? Come on Apple, use it!) have a touch screen (simple on/off with high resolution), but make the PowerBook: Touch even better. Whether they develop it themselves or partner with Wacom or something like that, that would rule. It would have pressure sensitivity (256 levels?) and angle sensing like the Wacom tablets. Think how great that would be for graphic artists.

    Now that might not be cheap. Mass production may help, but Wacom sells the Cintiq montitor/tablet that is 17" and 1280x1024 with 512 levels of pressure for $1799 MSRP. Maybe they'd have to make it an option. So even at 1024x768 if they cut down the resoltuion of touch (64, maybe 32 levels? And the size would be smaller, only 12") they could make it cheaper.

    It would be awesome. If anyone could make a tablet that would be great and really cause tablets to take off (instead of being the failure I've heard them called), it would be Apple.

    • by totoanihilation (782326) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @08:30PM (#12494327)
      If Apple turned the 12" PB or iBook into a table, that would rock.

      They already have. They call it a 17" PowerBook.
    • It sounds like you're not aware that tablet PCs already use none other than wacom's pressure sensitive pen system for their screens. So the price is not as bad as you're thinking. They're already mass-produced, and official (ie optimistic) figures are that the total cost of all specialised hardware additions of a tablet PC (not just the wacom systems) add only a $200 premium to the price. (I call BS, but that's another story)

      Often however, even though the wacom digitizer in a tablet PC supports various bel
  • You mean... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Repton (60818) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @07:59PM (#12494085) Homepage

    ...no one apart from Apple will be allowed to make a tablet Macintosh?

    TIHS ILLEGAL MONOPOLY MUST STOP!!!

  • by owlstead (636356)
    So they took an iMac from its stand. Couldn't have thought of it.
  • who have been poo poo-ing tablet PCs to suddenly think differently about these wonderful little devices.

    Me hopefully someday I will have a Mac with all the benefits of my Toshiba tablet but without this horrible XP virus cluttering it up!
  • by sockit2me9000 (589601) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @08:33PM (#12494350)
    I've posted this a couple of times before, but it works here as well.
    This is a remote. Or Apple's version of one. Look, apple's already said that they veiw thier media in a modular way. That's because they are a weird amalgamation of a software and hardware. This model really affects thier design in a fundamental way. They view both as feeding the other. Unlike Microsoft. Or Sony. Both of those companies don't have the (ability) (balls) (forsight) to realize that you really do benefit from doing both. That's because the new tech market is turning towards usability as it's prime selling point. Witness the iPod. But you know this.
    Now, think about the home media center. What is the primary user interface element? The remote. For all intents and purposes, the equipment has acheived a level of abstraction in our heads. What do the butttons on a TV do? Who cares? The remote can do it. My AV receiver doesn't even have all the bottons on the face. Only on the remote. And this abstraction yeilds some interesting results.
    One, that you handle your remote more times in the average day than a book or your keyes. We don't even realize how much time we spend with these damn things. They are integral. And they almost uniformly suck. How many remotes do you use? How much fumbling? Your universal remote does most things. But what about when you need to schedule and rank your DVR? The remote falls apart. The fuction is mapped to some button that is not intuitive. It's a giant mess. Sort like the MP3 market ummm.... four years ago.
    While the remote is bad at it's primary function, it falls apart completely when it comes to digital media. Enter microsoft with their assinine "Media Center PC" Why God, why? Why do you need a whole new computer in your living room? You already have a computer somewhere in your house. But Microsoft is a software company. They need to sell the software. They're trying to break out of this with the Xbox. And they will haves success. But it's a lackluster implimentation of the central problem: the remoteis the media center, see. How are people going to interact with the Xbox? With the controller and a TV monitor. This is crummy, in my mind, because if thier view of media is to add another box to the den that just happens to deal with my digital media as a second fuction, I call bullshit. Let each componant do what it is primarily good at. The Xbox controller , even if it includes that rollerball thing, still is a poor way to interact with media. It'll be good for gamers, sure. But that will color the rest of it functionality. It already has, really. See, there's no big, legible display to speak of on the damn thing. So you abstract the abstract. The Xbox took over your media and the controller takes over your Xbox, which makes you look at the tv screen as the navigation aid. I'm not sure if I can exactly explain why.... but this feels icky to me.
    So, this is where Apple steps in. The Airport express is an important clue. The idea is make a centeral computer and stream over the air the media to a router near the media center. But make the router "magic" Using, I don't know, Rendevou...err... Bonjour. Which just got released for the PC, yes? Pieces are starting to fall into place. So, what's misssing is a remote that doesn't suck for your media that can interact wirelessly with your media. Something like a big lcd touchscreen. And only like an LCD screen. Nothing else. It's the display and the input. Simple. Elegant. Getting cheap. This is a thin client, really. But it won't be marketed as such. No, it'll be the iPod for the rest of your life. It'll be your remote. It'll be your newspaper. It'll be your media manipulator (edit movies, work on garage band tracks, retouch photos). It will be your morning newspaper. It will be the thing you pick up when you put your iPod down. Think about it. All the technology is there. But it's maddening to use, especially for average consumers. They are maing a remote. They just have to be.
  • by -Harlequin- (169395) on Tuesday May 10, 2005 @09:04PM (#12494548)
    Note that this patent is for a finger touchscreen tablet like a PDA, and my tablet has a wacom pressure-sensitive pen digitizer in the screen.

    This is interesting. A year ago, I was predicting that Apple would get on the tablet bandwagon (and possibly pull off another ipod), because tablets are so suited to art, which is ostensibly one of apples big markets. (I have a normal wacom digitizer on my desktop, but I find I prefer to use the screen digitiser of may tablet for photoshop, etc, - even though the CRT of the desktop beats any LCD on a portable).

    Yet their design is for a finger touch screen. This would make for perhaps a better interface than pen for something simple like an ebook or portable video player (a video ipod allowing you rent DRMed movies from apple :-), but not so useful as an art / design machine (my understanding is that to have both pressure-sensitive pen and finger, you would need two seperate, difference hardware systems on the screen, which would be expensive).

    I have a convertable tablet (it operates in slate and laptop mode), and my experience is that it is a vast improvement over laptops when in laptop mode, but slate mode, while kind of cool, it typically limited to low-input tasks like watching DVDs, because I type at twice the speed I write.

    So I doubt this tablet is going to be marketed as a mac. It may contain a mac, but it's going to take aim at more specialised tasks.

    Unless they stick one of those laser keyboards on it that convert any flat surface into a keyboard. It's about time someone built one of those into a slate computer.

    And now that epaper is becoming possible, ebook readers that failed to suck might be another ipod waiting to happen.
  • by bhima (46039) <Bhima.Pandava@gT ... m minus caffeine> on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @01:50AM (#12496266) Journal
    Really!

    It's doubtful that Apple currently has any real intention to follow through with this.

    So Please! Encourage them a bit http://www.ipetitions.com/campaigns/tablet_mac/ [ipetitions.com].

  • Tablet Mac (Score:3, Funny)

    by skinfitz (564041) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @05:38AM (#12497037) Journal
    Next up, the suppository Mac...
  • by Aaron England (681534) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @06:02AM (#12497088)
    Why innovate when you can just rip off Microsoft?

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