If you have read any of IT new sites in last few weeks you would of seen talk of the much rumoured Apple netbook thats possibly in the guise of a tablet form factor. Apple’s PR people have often dismissed netbooks as ‘junk’ but the public often have complained Macs are still too expensive and a low end stripped down Mac laptop would be much welcomed.
Apple are always hugely secretive about their future hardware releases, and the press often get whiff a new release of something when patents get applied for or, or noticed as Jap/Korean companies who make LCDs, flash RAM, etc suddenly get asked for a big order of parts to a certain fruity brand in Cupertino.
I thought I would put my opinions on this, you probably heard of Kindle and similar devices that are used for e-books, that have a specialised LCD display that is much easier on the eye for low light conditions unlike traditional TFT displays that need a backlight lamp, but Kindle and similar devices are too expensive and use a lot of proprietary (DRMed) different formats for books to come in.
The ‘iTablet’ could well fill this gap. Where as Apple were completely new to the mobile phone market but the snazzy and slick interface of the iPhone and the ability to customise with extra applications really surprised the world. Apple’s tablet device could shock the world again maybe. The chances are it would have a 7” or so screen and use flash ram and maybe just have an SD card slot for quick changeable storage.
Heres an idea, a company I have worked for had a whole room full of Macs used for graphics and publishing team, everyone knows that Macs are the standard for this sort of work, even though all of Adobe’s graphics software is also available for Windows (as far as I am aware) Now, imagine this, an artist needs to do some simple sketching work, or a engineer needs to do some CAD work let say, have a device they can take out onto a site and do the bulk of the sketching using some more simplified versions of typical Adobe or AutoCAD apps. Your typical owner can take it back home and plug it into a dock and use the stylus and use it as a pointing device coupled to a Mac.
There you have it, a product that can be used but some of Apple’s traditional customers in the graphics/creative niche and something that can be used as an ebook reader and for general other domestic uses (music, videos, word processing, browsing when out and about or whatever) by normal consumers.
Now the chances are Apple are waiting until OLED screens (that I think don’t need backlights) and SSD disks which are both are quite expensive to come down next year, to make such a device possible.