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Why Everyone Has High Hopes For Apple Tablet 596

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the because-the-others-all-suck dept.
waderoush writes "The deafening roar of anticipation around Apple's expected 'iSlate' announcement on January 27 is strange, to say the least, given the public's utter apathy about tablet computers to date. What's going on? Xconomy's analysis makes three points. 1) Previous tablet makers have shown little imagination around UIs and how a touchscreen changes things. 2) With the iPhone, Apple has shown what's possible in this regard. 3) There's latent demand for a mobile computing device that's smaller and lighter than a laptop but has more screen real estate than a smartphone — something reminiscent of a Star Trek tricorder or PADD. Hence the hopes for the iSlate — which are so high that it may be difficult for even Apple to meet them."
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Why Everyone Has High Hopes For Apple Tablet

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  • same goes for Apple's tablet
    • by fyngyrz (762201) on Friday January 08, 2010 @11:40AM (#30695110) Homepage Journal

      Hence the hopes for the iSlate -- which are so high that it may be difficult for even Apple to meet them.

      Yep. I've been hoping it will be affordable, say $300...$500 or so. I've also been hoping it'll be a wifi/bluethooth machine, not a cellphone machine, as cell companies are notorious for overcharging for bandwidth (and generally lousy at providing it.) I don't think it can balance long battery life with the desired form factor and power requirements if it's a full bore OS X machine, so I anticipate an iPod-like design, that is, one app at a time, not much CPU power, CPU and GPU mostly asleep, or you get battery life measured in very few hours. I don't really mind that idea though... I've got an iPod touch and I am most impressed with what it can do under those same constraints.

      Still, the price and communications issues loom large in my mind, and I'm feeling more than a little cynical. I'm sure, knowing Apple, that the thing will be beautiful and desirable, but Apple's been known to make fairly large mis-steps before in other areas (camera in the nano, not the Touch; Apple TV; Newton; one-button mouse; etc) and this may simply be another.

      We'll know soon enough.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        It's not going to be $300... I'm betting $800-$1200 knowing Apple and at that price I'd think about it.
    • 1) Previous tablet makers have shown little imagination around UIs and how a touchscreen changes things.

      Previously, a tablet maker had to write drivers and shitty little programs to make their touchscreen work with an existing OS. However, you can't really make a tablet work well using a windowing system designed for a mouse and keyboard; you just can't. Buttons work well, but titlebars don't, menus often don't (concealed by your hand), things like alt texts don't, you can't mouse over screen edges to make hidden menus pop up or do similar things, there are trouble with any parts of the system when you have

  • 1 word. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SharpFang (651121) on Friday January 08, 2010 @11:16AM (#30694672) Homepage Journal

    Photoshop.

    Mac is still, and long will be the favorite computer of most graphicians/artists.

    Tablet+screen has some serious disadvantages. You draw in one place, image appears elsewhere.
    With a good touchscreen capable of providing precision comparable to decent Wacoms, this can become a dream tool for an artist.

    • by guruevi (827432)

      You mean like the Modbook?

    • The majority of PAD users aren't going to give 2 flips for photoshop, per se. For the most part, they'll be doing what people do now. Email, IM, shopping, surfing. Writing and now, reading.

      • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Friday January 08, 2010 @11:33AM (#30694986) Journal

        The majority of PAD users aren't going to give 2 flips for photoshop, per se. For the most part, they'll be doing what people do now. Email, IM, shopping, surfing. Writing and now, reading.

        You fail to realize that it has an influence on the people who aren't artists. Average people look at Macs and PC's and think that Macs are the fun computers and PCs are the work computers, why is that?

        Because the people who WORK on the Macs are the people who draw for a living, compose music, make videos, etc. They are the people who have the jobs Cubible Joe wish he could have (and are obviously successful enough at it to afford apple products).

        This "Niche Market" is what drives alot of other people to Apple.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by evil_aar0n (1001515)

          Actually, everything I do for my job - software engineering for the Solaris platform - is done on my Mac laptop. The only exception is Outlook, for which I switch the KVM over to the company supplied PC.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Skuld-Chan (302449)

          Because the people who WORK on the Macs are the people who draw for a living, compose music, make videos, etc. They are the people who have the jobs Cubible Joe wish he could have (and are obviously successful enough at it to afford apple products).

          Maybe turtleneck universe, but when I was working in printing (which is really part of the design world) we had Macs (G4's and the like - really ancient stuff), the vast vast vast majority of all the machines used in production were Windows machines. Reason? Cost

          • by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Friday January 08, 2010 @01:38PM (#30696972)

            Case in point: the fastest Mac's money can buy are Core 2 based 3 GHz machines where you can already get i7's

            iMac comes in the 3GHz Core 2, i5 and the i7. You may want to go to apple.com and click on the big f'n picture of the iMac before you post next time...

            I do agree with you on the "slow" model refresh, but I haven't notice a real need to be on the bleeding edge either...

    • by ClaraBow (212734)
      Interesting idea, but the screen will probably be too small for any serious work! It could be very useful for last minute changes and touch ups when away from office or with a client who requests simple changes-- this could indeed be a very handy tool!
      • by SharpFang (651121)

        How big will it be?

        If it's equivalent of A4 piece of paper (14" screen) it will be sufficient for most applications, and no, as for Photoshop toolboxes which would occupy half the visible area, I'm sure Apple will have some quick switch (between virtual desktops?) to show/hide them.

        It may not replace studio computers where you sit in front of 22" professional screen and use an A3 tablet with 2 axis tilt sensitivity, but it will be something you can take to the park to draw from nature, something to take to

      • Re:1 word. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by djsmiley (752149) <djsmiley2k@gmail.com> on Friday January 08, 2010 @11:32AM (#30694958) Homepage Journal

        I remember when I studied graphic design at college... the main point the tutor made was "never do anything in front of the client, this devalues your work".

        Basically if you could do something that "would do" for the client in front of them, then they wouldn't see the value in paying you 10x the amount to do the same thing but in "higher quality."

        I never went into the industry but I still understand what he meant, but I guess it could be used for mock ups, and for quick changes (as you said); just not done in front of paying clients :)

        Of course my tutor could of been talking crap, he seemed to do that alot as well (And hated me for understanding computers better than him, as he had a mac loving complex.)

        • Re:1 word. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Kenshin (43036) <kenshinNO@SPAMlunarworks.ca> on Friday January 08, 2010 @12:33PM (#30696018) Homepage

          This sorta applies to IT work, as well. After configuring and installing a server, the boss said something along the lines of "I watched you staring at a screen doing nothing half of the time. Why should I pay you for 6 hours?" (Because, apparently, waiting for software going through a lengthy install on a piece of shit cheap "server" is "free time".)

        • Re:1 word. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Archangel Michael (180766) on Friday January 08, 2010 @12:53PM (#30696318) Journal

          Yes, I completely agree.

          I used to have a sign above my workbench, with various "rates"

          Bench Work: $50/hr
          Bench Work, while you wait: $60/hr
          Bench Work, you watching me: $75/hr
          Bench Work, you helping me: $100/hr

          I was serious about it too. The fact of the matter is, me doing the work is one thing, me training/teaching is another. And I explained it as such. You want my expertise, then you're gonna have to pay for it.

          What I do is not difficult, it just takes knowing what to do and when to do it (or not do it). It took a great deal of effort on my part to learn everything I know.

    • Re:1 word. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by bhodikhan (894485) * on Friday January 08, 2010 @11:33AM (#30694974)
      One Word. Cintiq from Wacom. I used the 21" one for over a year. Got tired of my hand covering up the damn screen. I'll stick to a Wacom tablet and a screen. I want to see what I'm working on and not have to deal with digitizer accuracy issues and my hand and wrist covering up my work. I doubt anyone will get much precision using a finger. A Wacom is at least 2400 point per inch. A tablet using a finger cannot have that precision.
      • Re:1 word. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by fyngyrz (762201) on Friday January 08, 2010 @11:51AM (#30695266) Homepage Journal

        I want to see what I'm working on and not have to deal with... my hand and wrist covering up my work.

        A problem that utterly destroyed the work of amateurs like DaVinci, Michaelangelo, and Raphael, right?

        A Wacom is at least 2400 point per inch. A tablet using a finger cannot have that precision.

        Well, yes, it can, and more -- by zooming in. And also by utilizing technologies such as bezier and spline curves. Methinks thou protests a bit too much. Also, even if you are stuck with the type of drawing you describe, it doesn't mean that others will be.

        • Re:1 word. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Friday January 08, 2010 @01:26PM (#30696818)

          "A problem that utterly destroyed the work of amateurs like DaVinci, Michaelangelo, and Raphael, right?"

          Apples/oranges. You're not just drawing, you're using visual feedback to edit the image. So there are indicators etc for showing you how big the brush is. On top of that, the accuracy of what you're drawing on the tablet is far lower than applying pencil to paper. You can draw very neat lines easily on paper but you could try drawing the same thing on the tablet and find it is a lot more wobbly. You end up forced to use other methods that often end up just being quicker to do with a mouse. It's a lot harder to draw with a tablet than it is with a pencil. On many occasions, it's faster to do the drawing on paper and scan it in. When the tablet is seperate from the display, at least, you can see exactly where the pixel will land and adjust accordingly.

          I had the same problem he did, and it was just as unexpected.

          Well, yes, it can, and more -- by zooming in. And also by utilizing technologies such as bezier and spline curves. Methinks thou protests a bit too much.

          It depends on what you're after. I mean, you could type LOGO commands into a computer and make great works of art. It's just a matter of how much time you want to put into it. Able to do it != practical. And he's got a point. Sure, it might be fun for doodling, but it'll likely have a distinctive sloppiness that will follow anybody who doesn't take the extra care to clean up after.

          Also, even if you are stuck with the type of drawing you describe, it doesn't mean that others will be.

          Welp, you're right, there's a million art-styles. Conceded. But, you do have two people now who have painted with screen devices telling you it's not all sunshine and roses.

        • Re:1 word. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by jdgeorge (18767) on Friday January 08, 2010 @01:41PM (#30697034)


          I want to see what I'm working on and not have to deal with... my hand and wrist covering up my work.

          A problem that utterly destroyed the work of amateurs like DaVinci, Michaelangelo, and Raphael, right?

          DaVinci and the others were not using computers, and didn't have the option of working without covering their art. Furthermore, being unable to see 1/20 of a large canvas or 1/1000 of a wall is a lot less relatively annoying than covering 1/4 of your display area with your hands.


          A Wacom is at least 2400 point per inch. A tablet using a finger cannot have that precision.

          Well, yes, it can, and more -- by zooming in. And also by utilizing technologies such as bezier and spline curves. Methinks thou protests a bit too much. Also, even if you are stuck with the type of drawing you describe, it doesn't mean that others will be.

          What? This comment implies that you have detailed knowledge of what they GP was doing, and what he didn't do, which seems extremely unlikely.

          Furthermore, a skilled artist won't have to rely on the same crutches as someone extremely unskilled. For example, I would use a LOT of zoom and computational curve tools, because I'm too uncoordinated to draw nice, clean lines without that kind of help. Sure, I can draw a pretty good picture using all the technical cheats, but it would take me a month to make something that a skilled artist could create in an hour. You can bet DaVinci and the rest didn't use "zoom" and "bezier and spline curves" to paint a portrait.

          I feel I should add some trollish comment here, but I'm not going to. But I surely thought about it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mikael_j (106439)

        One Word. Cintiq from Wacom. I used the 21" one for over a year.

        Too expensive for my tastes (the pricing for the Cintiq seems to be at least partially "we're the only ones with something like this on the market so we can charge whatever we want").

        Got tired of my hand covering up the damn screen. I'll stick to a Wacom tablet and a screen.

        I tried a Cintiq a few years back and immediately wished I could replace my regular Wacom tablet with it for two reasons:

        1. You can rotate it, I often rotate the paper when drawing and a lot of otherwise very good apps (like Sketchbook Pro) don't let you rotate the workspace without actually changing the image you're working on.
        2. I
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by melf-san (1504607)

          Too expensive for my tastes (the pricing for the Cintiq seems to be at least partially "we're the only ones with something like this on the market so we can charge whatever we want").

          Well, it looks like it is possible to build DIY Cintig from a LCD panel a normal Wacom panel (with a bit of skill :).
          There is an example buildlog:
          http://www.bongofish.co.uk/wacom/wacom_pt19.html [bongofish.co.uk]
          An there is a forum of the DIY Cintiq community:
          http://forum.bongofish.co.uk/index.php [bongofish.co.uk]
          So I am now hunting for 15" LCDs with external power supply and old 12"x12" Wacom tablets :D

    • by maillemaker (924053) on Friday January 08, 2010 @11:33AM (#30694984)

      The reason I want a tablet computer is that that I can write on it with a stylus like a pencil, and take notes, including sketches and mathematical and engineering symbols, on what is essentially a limitless notebook, and on top of this I can annotate my notes with audio, video, and hyperlinks.

      And on top of this I would like to store my textbooks in it.

      I could go to school with one single item.

      • by seffala (134325) on Friday January 08, 2010 @11:54AM (#30695320)

        I could go to school with one single item.

        If I'm going to choose one single item to go to school with, I'm choosing pants.

        Choose pants. It's the right thing to do.

      • by Orlando (12257) on Friday January 08, 2010 @11:59AM (#30695432) Homepage

        I can't honestly see anyone investing much more energy in handwriting recognition. Who writes anything anymore? Not to mention the added irritations of a stylus, loosing it, using something else, scratching the screen, etc.

        On screen keyboard instead please.

        • by maillemaker (924053) on Friday January 08, 2010 @12:42PM (#30696162)

          >Who writes anything anymore?

          Mathematicians, Engineers, Physicists, and basically anyone in a technical field of work or study have to resort to writing because inserting mathematical or engineering symbology on-the-fly while typing is very tedious at best.

          I love typing, and I am very fast at it, and it worked great for all of my liberal arts studies.

          But for the real work, I have to use pencil and paper.

          • One thing that really annoyed me in school was professors who would actually yell at students who took notes, because they felt that all the information they needed was in the powerpoint slides they made available, and they should just focus on what the prof was saying. This completely ignores the fact that note taking is not just for writing down information to be read later, it helps you memorize that information as you are doing it. Passively hearing a lecture will let me absorb say 30% of the lecture after a few days. The interactive process of taking notes makes me think about what is being said more intently, and increases not only my retention but understanding.

            At the time, I thought I was just stuck in old fashioned habits. But I now realize that the lack of note taking was a big reason why I struggled in some of my CS courses. I would really like to go back and beat some of those professors with a clue stick.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 08, 2010 @11:17AM (#30694706)

    "the deafening roar of anticipation" I'm in Australia right, a moderately wealthy fairly technologically developed nation. We're no Japan, but we're no Sudan either. No one I talk to gives a crap about this. My friend is doing a graphic arts diploma and he doesnt even know anyone who cares about this. It will come, if it is good some people will like it. Apple is not a religion, they are a technology company. GTFO with your fake hype.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Hadlock (143607)

      Its a slow news cycle, its an apple announcement. Detroit's autoshow is the only other bright point between now and probably February when the NE thaws out in the USA. I too have doubts about this product. Tablets are a pretty small niche market, and even an iPod touch DX may have trouble gaining traction in this market. The only discussion amongst my friends regarding the apple tablet is "$500, $700, or $800+?" and "my netbook + ipod work pretty well already"

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by khallow (566160)
      And it's not like Apple and its pet media does the same damn thing with each product release. I can hardly wait for the testimonials about how the press releases alone cured someone's impotency or hair loss.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      I am in a CS graduate program, and nobody in our department is talking about this -- not even the dozen or so Apple fanboys.
    • by dkleinsc (563838) on Friday January 08, 2010 @12:20PM (#30695790) Homepage

      Obviously, "The deafening roar of anticipation" is so deafening we can't hear it!

    • Pretty much (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770)

      It is just PR firms hyping it up, combined with "technology" journalists that know little about journalism, less about technology, but love Macs because that's what the news room has.

      The really funny thing to me is that they act like this tablet is something new and amazing. No, not at all actually. Tables PCs have been out for years. In fact Windows 7 has quite good tablet features integrated right in to it. Install it on a tablet system, or add a tablet to a desktop (there are desktop tablet input devices

  • LOL WUT? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Enry (630) <enryNO@SPAMwayga.net> on Friday January 08, 2010 @11:20AM (#30694740) Journal

    I think it's safe to say the Apple Fanboys have high hopes, but Apple has a number of things going against them:

    1) Android quickly catching up with Apple in terms of usefulness and it's working across a large set of diverse devices. ChromeOS will only make Apple's problem worse
    2) If the expected price of $1000 is to be believed, it'll be a real turn off for anyone looking for a low cost MID. You can buy two (or three) netbooks for that price.
    3) Let's be clear, if it's not e-ink or similar, this is in no way competition for the Kindle/Nook/Sony eReader

    • Re:LOL WUT? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MouseR (3264) on Friday January 08, 2010 @11:25AM (#30694850) Homepage

      Expectations were high for the iPhone and yet Apple surpassed all the wildest predictions.

      Expectations are even higher with the slate. but competition is trying hard to diminish any possible announcement (like the no-show of Balmer at CES) pointing to the competition not being ready whatsoever.

      As for Android catching up, read up on developer's issues with the Android platform. Google's failure to properly guide the platform has created a slew of inoperable devices having their own software layers on top, and hardware specs that are so far off to each other that developers are having a hard time coping with hardware difference.

      Their new phone might help, but Google managed to screw up their own platform to day, further delaying any viable competition for Apple.

      So, instead of conjecturing, let's just see what Apple has to announce at the end of the month. It could very well be the next iPhone success story.

      • Re:LOL WUT? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by alen (225700) on Friday January 08, 2010 @11:36AM (#30695030)

        iphone only became usable with the 3G and 3GS added business features

        the original iphone only had a real browser while packing less features than cheaper cell phones

        • Re:LOL WUT? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Azureflare (645778) on Friday January 08, 2010 @12:14PM (#30695696)
          Ahem, I bought the 1st gen iphone on the second day of release and never regretted my purchase. Even when I got the $100 refund, I still considered the original hefty pricetag worth it. At the time, it allowed me to replace two devices (old crappy cellphone and ipod) with one seamless device, AND I had internet anywhere. Plus google maps.

          Back in 2007, nothing really compared to the iPhone in terms of overall usability and features. Sure, there were some devices which had more FEATURES if you looked at them in a list-by-list comparison, but none that I cared about. When they added Exchange support it was pretty cool, but I never needed a 3G or 3GS to enjoy that.

          In the end, it all depends on what you want out of the device. If the iSlate has a PixelQi screen and functions as an ereader, I am going to buy it for that; all the laptop features that would (supposedly) come along with it would just be an added bonus.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by sribe (304414)

          the original iphone only had a real browser while packing less features than cheaper cell phones

          The original iPhone had visual voice mail and extremely easy to use call-waiting pickup & hold and 3-way calling. The implementation of those 3 basic phone features immediately made it the best phone I'd ever owned--not to mention a far more functional and easier to use contact list. Web browsing on the phone? Yeah, I use that once every few months or so.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Tom (822)

          the original iphone only had a real browser while packing less features than cheaper cell phones

          Speaking only for me (and the other 2 mio. or so original iPhone owners) - it may have had less features, but it had the right set of features at the right places. Example: I needed to make a call conference a short time into owning one. Oh, look, there's a button for that right on the call screen. A year later I found out that the Nokia business phone I had for several years can also do conferences - it's just hidden somewhere in the basement of the 7th sub-menu, and the lights were out as well as the stai

      • Re:LOL WUT? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Friday January 08, 2010 @12:00PM (#30695442)
        "Expectations are even higher with the slate."

        They are? I remember people talking about the iPhone and how they were planning to get one...why can I not find anyone talking about the Apple tablet now?

        "competition is trying hard to diminish any possible announcement (like the no-show of Balmer at CES) pointing to the competition not being ready whatsoever."

        Actually, Apple's competition already makes tablets, and they have been making them for years now. People were excited about an Apple tablet years ago, with a bit of a bump in that excitement when the iPhone was released, but at this point it is just an overdue entry to an already crowded market.

        "As for Android catching up, read up on developer's issues with the Android platform."

        Right, let's just ignore how many people are actually using Android, and focus on unhappy developers. This is kind of like saying, "Mac OS X catching up to Windows?! Nonsense! Look at how many developers are pissed off about Objective C!"
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jedidiah (1196)

      The iPhone is a nifty idea with the accelerometer and the gps and the multi-touch.

      However, it's locked in a phone form factor that is very limiting.

    • Re:LOL WUT? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by itsdapead (734413) on Friday January 08, 2010 @12:16PM (#30695716)

      1) Android quickly catching up with Apple in terms of usefulness and it's working across a large set of diverse devices.

      Sorry, I have an iPod Touch and a HTC Hero - and while the latter isn't bad (and would seem amazing if you hadn't used an iProduct) it doesn't come anywhere near the iProduct for slickness and consistency. Principle mistake: if you're making a touch screen/accelerometer device, make it a touch screen/accelerometer device - don't randomly have some functions on the screen and others on physical back/menu/zoom buttons or trackballs. Make sure that all applications can be satisfactorily controlled by touch alone.

      Oh, and a multitouch interface should be sufficiently responsive to give the illusion that you are actually dragging objects with your finger. In Android, you make a gesture and then something happens. Fail.

      As for diversity - you think its a good thing? Android has only been out for a bit over a year and already there are at least 3 different versions of the UI and core apps (HTC original, HTC Hero, Motorola Droid, Nexus 1) - some phones have keyboards, others don't, buttons are in different places...) and some early adopters are stuck with old versions of the OS.

      Diversity might be good on full-size PCs, but ultra-portable devices need applications tailored to their display/input capabilities.

      ChromeOS will only make Apple's problem worse

      ChromeOS is interesting - and will get more interesting when we see some actual hardware products rather than just a virtual appliance running a browser. However, persuading people to "move to the cloud" could be a hard sell, and mobile internet coverage isn't yet up to a device that only works with the internet. Plus - unless Google do something evil - the online Google apps should work nicely with your slate.

      2) If the expected price of $1000 is to be believed, it'll be a real turn off for anyone looking for a low cost MID.

      Well, the actual price is anybody's guess - if they're selling it with a mobile internet contract, that could be the deliberately inflated "sim free" price. Anyway, Apple are famous for successfully selling things at a premium.

      3) Let's be clear, if it's not e-ink or similar, this is in no way competition for the Kindle/Nook/Sony eReader

      Current e-ink technology is only good for dedicated eBook readers. Its slow refresh rate makes it unsuitable for "general" computing and incapable of smooth animation or video.

      OTOH people can and do read eBooks on LCD/OLED screens (and its feasible that Apple might use a hybrid transmissive/reflective LCD which would be better). If Apple gets into this market, the key factor will be what any hypothetical "iBooks" store is like in terms of range, price and DRM-blight (the things currently putting thinking persons off eBooks).

    • *wavy screen*

      1) Apple can't beat nomad

      2) iPod is too expensive

      3) If it doesn't play open format, it's in no way competing with nomad/creative.

      *wavy screen*

  • There's latent demand for a mobile computing device that's smaller and lighter than a laptop but has more screen real estate than a smartphone...

    Nothing latent about it - this is _EXACTLY_ what I'm interested in seeing. While I would love a high end Mac laptop (among many other tech toys), I really just want an iPhone/iPod Touch on steroids and, from what I'd imagine, the "iTablet" (or whatever it will be called) will almost certainly fit that bill perfectly. The fact that it's from Apple and will surely have some additional surprises along the way is just icing on the cake.

    Of course, time will tell if they deliver what I am looking for, but I su

    • by snowraver1 (1052510) on Friday January 08, 2010 @11:33AM (#30694966)
      I really just want an iPhone/iPod Touch on steroids

      Why? Seriously, I would like to know. What would you use it for? A very large music player? A web browser that has no keyboard and likely is only useable in your house where you (presumably) have a desktop/laptop. Movies might be a good idea for it... I really don't know what this is supposed to be used for.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Sax Maniac (88550)

        Sure: a netbook you can comfortably use while laying on the couch.

        Really. The clamshell design of a laptop or netbook, fine for a desk, makes it difficult to use when laying on a couch, and nearly impossible in bed. Or maybe I'm just getting so old, that my body can't contort to the require viewing and keyboard angle necessary to use the damn thing. I'd almost rather use my phone, despite the tiny keyboard and difficult multitasking.

      • What would you use it for?

        Movies, as you mentioned. Or games.

        A web browser that has no keyboard

        There exist web browsing use cases that need no keyboard, but you don't see these if your web use clusters around posting on forums and editing wikis.

        and likely is only useable in your house where you (presumably) have a desktop/laptop.

        Unless the device has either a SIM or CSIM slot or a USB port for an external 3G radio. Or unless someone else in the house is using the desktop/laptop. Or unless you're at a public hotspot.

    • by elrous0 (869638) * on Friday January 08, 2010 @11:52AM (#30695284)

      Since it's smaller than a laptop, but bigger than a smartphone, maybe we need to give it a new name. I propose the term "netbook."

      Who *wouldn't* pay $1000 for something like that?

  • The article is like, "Everyone is waiting for this thing"... I'm not. All in all, I'm pretty happy with my desktop.

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <[moc.liamg] [ta] [nhojovadle]> on Friday January 08, 2010 @11:21AM (#30694760) Journal
    If the netbook and smartphone markets are any indication of the potential number of sales that exist out there, then I would wager even competitors hope Apple's tablet takes off. Because it's been shown time and time again that once Apple establishes via ads and quality that it's cool to own an iPod Nano or an iPhone or i-Whatever then the competitors step in and scoop up the very large market of people that want a product like it for less. They're not even knockoffs per se but I would bet that on the whole MP3 player manufacturers like iRiver enjoyed unseen benefits from Apple popularizing the MP3 player. The same might be said of the many cheaper smartphones that followed the iPhone--they were there but not 'accepted' as a necessary commodity for a consumer.

    I don't mean to sound like a fanboy but the competitors that have been waiting to market tablet PCs now have the luxury of waiting for Apple to either make a brilliant move or blunder (an expensive wager) and then step in to enjoy the market that Apple works to establish with tablet PCs. The great part is that there are so many consumers that will gladly take a second rate device for cheaper money and in their mind think that they not only got a deal but now are keeping up with Joneses who all have iSlates or iTablets or whatever the devil Apple may hold. I actually think it benefits both Microsoft and Apple for them to release their products in tandem. It adds to the rivalry and people love that. Not to mention, they're certainly going to be compatible with only their respective products so a long time Mac user isn't going to be stolen nor will a longtime Windows user go over to the iSlate.
    • by DingerX (847589) on Friday January 08, 2010 @12:14PM (#30695684) Journal
      By the time Apple's announced it, the competitors should be working on their projects. There will be competing models -- heck some are already announced. And I'm hoping they build something different from what TFA wants:

      We need something in between: a device that is small and light enough to take anywhere, but has a screen big enough to let you edit a complex video, watch a high-definition movie, view a whole book or magazine page, or paint on a virtual canvas—and, ideally, use multiple applications at once.

      Edit a complex video? what huge advantage does portability and low power consumption bring to video editing?

      What we need is something with a decent interface, USB ports, and tons of free software. The USB ports must be there so you can hook up a keyboard. TFA is wrong: virtual keyboards still suck, and will suck. Handwriting recognition cannot be fast and accurate without retraining the writer. Voice recognition is cute, but for most people cannot be the basis for a sustained interface: unless you have a compelling need to use your voice, it's usually slower than typing, far less accurate, unwieldy to edit, cognitively consuming (as you must concentrate on the screen transcribing your spoken words), and socially awkward (until, at least, the computer talks back).

      So if the task requires extensive texual input, it's going to require a real keyboard. What are the odds that Apple's 1G tablet will have a USB port that works in host mode, or a non-proprietary accessories connector?

      As a tablet user for two and a half years, I have an idea what they're useful for: a helluva lot. Every task where a computer can help, but isn't the focus of the activity works better with a tablet. Every task where a computer is too heavy, or has too awkward power requirements works better with a tablet.

      Every task that works better with some other portable gadget is not for a tablet. You want a phone -- get a phone. You want a camera -- get a camera (now, a decent webcam that works with * and Skype is a different story). Windows 7 ain't gonna fly here: a tablet needs to be instant-on, and low, low power (think ARM). So, maybe the iSlate will take off; hopefully someone else will succeed in selling something better. But the market will soon explode with every variant.

  • by paiute (550198) on Friday January 08, 2010 @11:22AM (#30694772)

    Tablet shmablet. Do you see the ads on TV for the Dell computer with touchscreen? Can you imagine the hurt you would be in after an hour or so with your arm raised up off the desk to reach the screen?

    • by jedidiah (1196) on Friday January 08, 2010 @11:29AM (#30694900) Homepage

      Sit it on your lap at an angle. It's a self contained unit like a phone so there
      is no need to have a bulky monitor mounted vertically that's attached to some big
      box on the floor. You don't use this sort of device like a PC. It's not a PC.

  • Everyone? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Linker3000 (626634)

    I'm part of that group and I have no interest in the thing at all.

    Just Sayin'

  • by Anonymous Coward

    No, people haven't liked tablet PCs because what they've seen are useless tablets that can't convert to laptops. Others have seen too many heavy tablet PCs by companies like Acer that suck. Lenovo Thinkpad tablets are the best the industry has to offer.

    For this new tablet to succeed, it will need to be lighter, yet allow people to install third party applications.

    • by BobMcD (601576) on Friday January 08, 2010 @11:46AM (#30695188)

      For this new tablet to succeed, it will need to be lighter, yet allow people to install third party applications.

      This could hang it, I think.

      If I'm right, and the buzz sort of supports this, then it will be a larger iPod. That means your only hope of getting new software on the thing will be the Apple store. And while there are a lot of apps out there, those certainly do not encompass the entirety of what I'd want ever want to do with a computer. Which is okay now, because an iPod is clearly not a computer. But if this new device blurs the line too far away from 'throwaway gadget' to 'computer' Apple may run into trouble.

  • by dintlu (1171159) on Friday January 08, 2010 @11:24AM (#30694828)

    One think I've noticed is that websites are poorly optimized for gesture-based navigation? If any novel UI implementations are going to come out of an Apple tablet, this is probably the place to look.

  • by McNihil (612243) on Friday January 08, 2010 @11:24AM (#30694832)

    Ok here is my take on it...

    If it can't fit in my pocket then I won't be buying it. I would like a device that is like old scrolls and roll out. Folding it neatly into my shirt pocket when I don't use it. At most four times larger than a ball point pen.

    Anything else is stone-age.

  • Hype and Results (Score:2, Interesting)

    by necro81 (917438)
    For all the bitching and moaning that a lot of the Slashdot crowd does about Apple and how overhyped/overrated/overpriced/over-everything their products are, I think most would have to grudgingly agree that Apple has driven innovation in the marketplace. This is a story that has been repeated a number of times:

    1) A class of product exists in the marketplace, but has only received lukewarm adoption for a variety of reasons.

    2) Apple enters the market with their own device, which has a bunch of feature
    • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Friday January 08, 2010 @12:25PM (#30695880)

      >Apple enters the market with their own device, which has a bunch of features that may or may not have been seen in other devices, but on the whole is a very well integrated package. Somehow, they saw a way to make the product work.

      This really shows a lack of knowledge of Apple's history.

      1. The Newton. Palm made this work. Not Apple. Later on Apple copied the Treo format (phone + PDA) Palm made popular and merged it with a virtual keyboard.

      2. Apple Pippin. Failed game/multimedia console. Nintendo64 and PS2 got it right.

      3. Power Mac G4 Cube. Failed on the market. Infamous for cracking case. Now, there's no shortage of small cube PCs. The PC world got this right.

      4. Apple QuickTake. Failed digital camera. Everyone gets this right.

      5. Macintosh TV. Failed TV/PC combo. Now TV is just a PCI card away or done with steaming/downloading.

      6. Apple's "Hockey Puck" USB Mouse. No one gets this right because its such a bad idea.

      7. eMate. Low cost Newton based PC. OLPC and others get this right.

      Apple tries a lot of things and they fail more often than they succeed. The idea that theyre the ones who can fix the tablet market is a bit of stretch. Heck, I like tablets, but I understand their limitations, especially in regards to keyboards/inputs. Perhaps it will have something like the iwheel. [theonion.com]

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Let me make a few clarifications to an otherwise good post (Also, I take issue with your use of the X got this right remarks):

        1. The Newton. Palm made this work. Not Apple. Later on Apple copied the Treo format (phone + PDA) Palm made popular and merged it with a virtual keyboard.

        The Newton Message Pad 100 came out in 1993. The last Newton Message Pad 120 was discontinued in 1996. The original Palm Pilot (which I still have laying around here somewhere) was introduced in 1996. US Robotics learned from the

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The iPhone is why I have low hopes for an Apple tablet. Apple has demonstrated that they're willing to turn computing back 30 years and put stupid restrictions on their devices for the sake of control. I don't trust them to make a tablet that's open and has all of the capabilities that a device like this should have.

  • My iPhone just isn't that big a deal. I don't understand why everyone thinks the iSlate will be.

    I'm using a convertible tablet right now, and I've been using them for ten years. Big whoop, Apple's making one.

    Yawn.

  • by alfredo (18243) on Friday January 08, 2010 @11:36AM (#30695052)
    Apple knew they'd be releasing after CES, so they had to play the expectation game to depress sales of competing products. Would you buy a tablet now if you knew that a company that has a track record of being a game changer is going to release a tablet? We know the design will be elegant, and we know through patent searches their tablet could have some interesting features. What will it do? Think of what market they haven't disrupted? That is a clue to the possible functions of the tablet. Will they even release a tablet? We won't know until the Steve says "one more thing."
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      "Would you buy a tablet now if you knew that a company that has a track record of being a game changer is going to release a tablet?"

      Would you buy a tablet at all? Really, tablet hype is past its prime. There are a few people who like them, but tablets only meet the needs of a small group of people. You are paying more for a lower performing computer that has an interesting input device, but that is about all -- great if you really like to hand write your notes, not so great if you are looking to save
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by alfredo (18243)
        BTW, the iPhone and Touch are starting to become gaming platforms. Maybe the tablet will ramp up that capability.
  • Paper replacer (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jomama717 (779243) * <jomama717@gmail.com> on Friday January 08, 2010 @11:42AM (#30695120) Journal
    I am completely on board with this concept because if it is anything like what I imagine I could use it to replace the reams of worthless legal pads and loose note papers I have strewn all over my desk. I need to take notes on something the size of a pad of paper, preferably be able to use a pen/stylus to freehand, and now with the ability to easily catalog, date, and label the notes this is a dream come true.

    As a bonus I imagine you could pop up a little virtual keyboard on it and use it to work on little side projects on a train/plane/etc. I would also not be completely honest if I didn't acknowledge the star trek TNG angle and the warm fuzzy feeling it gives me...life imitates art.
  • by Tired and Emotional (750842) on Friday January 08, 2010 @11:42AM (#30695124)
    So will it come with a warning to not wear a red shirt while using one?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bugs2squash (1132591)
      if it's anything like the original tricorder [wikipedia.org] it looks like it will weigh 40 pounds and have a 4" screen and no usb ports. Now if apple can come up with one of those medical scanner thingies instead - that would be a great deal.
  • by WillAdams (45638) on Friday January 08, 2010 @11:44AM (#30695144) Homepage

    No mention of Go Corporation and PenPoint (Jerry Kaplan's _StartUp_ should be required reading for everyone who writes anything about pen computing). The NCR-3125 came out in 1991, running one's choice of Windows for Pen Computing or PenPoint.

    Fujitsu in particular has been doing pen computers running various versions of Windows for a long while, w/ models of the Fujitsu Stylistic ranging from the 500 (1993 or so) to the contemporary ST6012.

    William
    (whose NCR-3125 was donated to the Smithsonian by the guy he sold it to)

  • iSlate? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sir_Lewk (967686) <.sirlewk. .at. .gmail.com.> on Friday January 08, 2010 @12:34PM (#30696042)

    If Apple hasn't even announced the damned thing yet, then why are we calling it the "iSlate"? Has slashdot really sunken so far as to making up product names for products that don't even exist? What is wrong with just saying "speculated Apple tablet"?

    Hell, even just saying "iTablet" would be more bearable...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by painandgreed (692585)

      If Apple hasn't even announced the damned thing yet, then why are we calling it the "iSlate"? Has slashdot really sunken so far as to making up product names for products that don't even exist? What is wrong with just saying "speculated Apple tablet"?

      Because Apple has trademarked the name "iSlate". They did this through a dummy company they set up. They also aquired "islate.com". They may not end up using it but they have shown interest enough to pay money to make it theirs. This is BTW the same thing the

  • Everyone? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by roc97007 (608802) on Friday January 08, 2010 @04:27PM (#30699430) Journal

    My first response was "Everyone, really? I don't have high, medium, or low hopes. I don't need another expensive, stylish fadgadget. Really.

    But reading TFA got me thinking... previous tablet offerings have kinda sucked. What I really need is something with netbook capabilities at a netbook price but in tablet form, and I haven't seen anything yet that wasn't half-assed or too expensive or both.

    When Apple comes out with a tablet, regardless of what it's like or how much it costs, there will be huge numbers of Apple fanbois lining up overnight to acquire one, which should have the effect of finally waking up interest from other manufacturers, which leads to the possibility that one of them will produce something actually useful at a reasonable price. So it's all good. Go, Apple. Blaze the trail so others can pave it.

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