Though Apple isn't saying whether it's working on a touchscreen tablet, the company may have shown its hand at its Worldwide Developers Conference last week.
Of course, the Apple tablet has become the Apple press corps' version of a Bigfoot hunt. Some believe the evidence is overwhelming. Others are, well, underwhelmed. And Apple doesn't discuss products before it's ready to.
However, based on the features demonstrated at the developer conference last week, the newest version of the Mac operating system, OS X 10.6, dubbed Snow Leopard, could turn out to be the most touchscreen-friendly Mac … Read more
Despite the litany of Apple announcements at the opening keynote speech of the company's developers' conference, what could turn out to be more interesting than the new products it named is what Apple didn't say Monday.
The bumping up of the 13-inch laptop to MacBook Pro status, and the price cuts along the MacBook Pro line certainly grabbed headlines. They did something else: they left the little $999 white MacBook as the only true MacBook in the bunch. Gone now is the option to buy a silver unibody design version of a MacBook. The rest are all MacBook Pros now, which leaves buyers with little choice if they don't want a high-end notebook from Apple.
So what gives? Apple doesn't talk about products before it's ready to, but with that subtle change it may be signaling some tantalizing possibilities for upcoming products.
The white MacBook, at $999, is the cheapest notebook Apple offers right now. It also looks a bit out of place, compared to the clean, silver, cut-from-a-single-block-of-aluminum design of the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models. More importantly, there is a big gap in Apple's product lineup between the $299 iPhone and iPod Touch and the $999 laptop.
Apple could bridge that with the much discussed touch-screen tablet, which, of course, Apple has never actually said is in the works. If it were, the tablet could certainly make sense with the MacBook name attached, especially if its primary purpose was as a portable device for reading e-books, reviewing documents, and viewing videos.
But there is also room for a lower-cost laptop, with fewer bells and whistles aimed specifically at the education market. It would be similar to what the rest of the computer world calls a Netbook, or a mini-notebook. If Apple did make one, it would seem to represent a change in attitude toward "junky" Netbooks. But here's the thing: Apple wouldn't have to make a poor-quality mini-notebook. Historically, in the tug between features and style, and affordability, Apple usually errs on the side of features. But the company can, in fact, aim for a broader Mac market from time to time. It did so with the eMac in 2002, which lasted until 2005. That Mac desktop was aimed at students, and no one would call that a junky version of an iMac. It was however available with fewer features and a corresponding (slightly) lower price.
Apple is rumored to be working on something bigger than an iPod Touch, but smaller than a MacBook. Past patent applications filed by the company and whispers from contract manufacturers point to a midsize gadget with a screen of 7 to 8 inches in the works, perhaps scheduled to debut early next year. It's been variously described as a tablet-like device, a "media pad," and an iPod Touch on steroids.
But the middle ground between handheld device and traditional laptop has historically been a hard sell to mainstream consumers. Apple has some experience reinventing what were thought to be staid or failed product categories, and is known for its stringent product review process, so if anyone has potential to make something compelling for this "tweener" category, it's the company to do so.
For Apple, this could be its answer to the Netbook craze--20 million of those scaled-down PCs will be shipped to retailers this year, doubling last year's output. Apple has been fairly clear in its distaste for them, using descriptors like "junky," and the average selling price of around $400 wouldn't allow Apple to keep its margins as high as it's used to.
But there is clearly a market, particularly given the current state of the economy, for a device in that middle range between a smartphone and a laptop. Interim CEO Tim Cook recently admitted that Apple has "some interesting ideas in this space."
Let's say it does make one. What exactly should a tablet from Apple do and what kind of features does it need to sport to avoid the pitfalls of every other failed tablet PC, ultramobile PC, and mobile Internet device now gathering dust in the basements and desk drawers of early adopters?
Some suggestions: … Read more
While we're not in for the show on this good Memorial Day, we decided to embed our appearance on FOXNEW.com's Strategy Room's Gadgets and Games show. Our good friend Claytom Morris invited us to discuss everything from the latest "Ghostbusters 3" rumors to unboxing the Asus Eee PC Seashell and our thoughts on the Palm Pre. We also chat about a slimmer PS3, how a HTC Touch Pro causes some one's pants to catch on fire, the Queen gets a gold plated Nintendo Wii, and a possible Apple netbook or tablet.
Check it … Read more
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster thinks that Apple might release a tablet next year.
"Between indications from our component contacts in Asia, recent patents relating to multitouch sensitivity for more complex computing devices, comments from Tim Cook on the April 22 conference call, and Apple's acquisition of P.A. Semi along with other recent chip-related hires, it is increasingly clear that Apple is investing more in its mobile-computing franchise," Munster wrote to clients.
Munster believes that the tablet will feature a touch-screen display measuring between 7 inches and 10 inches. The tablet would have software resembling the iPhone's operating system.
Apple has remained tight-lipped, as usual, about work on such a product. But if the company offers a tablet, would its touch screen be a hindrance? It's too early to tell, naturally, but here are my initial thoughts.… Read more
Well, according to one listener, you can't get away from underwear in Japan so the Google StreetView cameras shouldn't try. Also if you deleted those pictures of you in your underwear from Facebook, I can still see them. In fact, deleting photos from social media doesn't make it as deleted as you might like. We also talk Pirate Bay, RealDVD, and other court cases.Listen now: Download today's podcast Subscribe now: iTunes (audio) | iTunes (video) | RSS (audio) | RSS (video) Episode 979
This was originally published at ZDNet's Between the Lines.
Apple is likely to launch a tablet that's similar to the iPod Touch, but larger, in the first half of 2010, marking the company's entry into the Netbook race, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster says.
In a research note Thursday, Munster handicaps the gaps in Apple's product lineup. The gaping hole: there's nothing between the iPod Touch and the MacBook. Enter this iPod Touch on steroids for $500 to $700.