Tablets

A history of the elusive Apple tablet, in links

No unreleased tech product has ever received more conjecture than the long-rumored Apple tablet. Here is a chronology of links on this elusive device.

There have been a lot of different concept designs of the Apple Tablet floating around on the Internet, created by journalists and designers. Here is a selection of several of them. You can also click the "Next Page" link at the bottom of this page to see several more.

Mac tablet

Next Page (More concept photos of the Apple Tablet) >>

About

Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the upcoming book, Follow the Geeks (bit.ly/ftgeeks).

21 comments
Spacecase
Spacecase

Read the book Enders Game. The tablet will come when its' time has arrived, not before...

darpoke
darpoke

of shortsightedness involved in rubbishing the very concept per se. Yes, there's every chance Apple will produce a device that is (i) over priced, (ii) underfeatured out of the box, (iii) locked down in terms of user choice for software or functionality, or (iv) all of the above. Come to that, there's every chance Windows 7 will usher in a new age of enterprise computing stability, security and userfriendliness. I wouldn't gamble on these decisions and neither would most businesses. There's a reason hindsight is the most useful tool in enterprise IT purchasing. I don't think that's really what's being attacked here though - it appears the sentiments raised are against tablet computing in general. Are you the same people who thought no-one in their right mind would pay ?200 for a portable music player? Or that one smartphone wouldn't change the entire cellphone industry? Come on, we've seen enough gamechanging devices to get the idea, haven't we? Being incapable of conceiving change is for the Luddites. This is the last place I expect to encounter the mindset. The point I was making with the iPod and iPhone is that they changed behaviour and this is what changed the market. When you buy a new type of computing device it changes the way you use computing. I have an iPhone (before I am accused of Apple evangelism, I took care to swiftly jailbreak it to get the functionality *I* wanted) and it has changed the way I use my phone, and the way I use my email, and the way I use eBay, Twitter, and Wikipedia. It has changed the way I use the internet. It has changed the way I shop. It has changed the way I travel. It has changed the way I share contacts. It's no exaggeration to say it has changed my life. A tablet computer is a new class of device. It's bigger than a smartphone, affording more screen real estate and more engine power - faster CPU, more RAM/HDD storage, longer lasting battery. It's smaller than a full laptop or even netbook, being a single device rather than clamshell. This makes it easier to use. What this means is it will fill a new niche that nobody knew existed until there was something to occupy the space. Things they'd like to do but couldn't because their smart phone wasn't quite up to it, and it's not quite important enough to take a folding 'net-top'*. With smart energy management and display LEDs it can use the same always-on paradigm as the iPhone, being activated when needed and put to sleep/hibernate when finished with. I find the iPhone's a little small to properly read large amounts of text from - I still do on occasion when I have no choice. Given the choice though, I'd use a tablet. For sure. It's basically a new pigeonhole - people who need more than 50 minutes of talktime per month but wouldn't spend for a thousand minutes would be delighted to see a 250-minute package introduced. I just don't see the difference between that and what we're discussing here. *What I would use to refer to the whole folding portable computer market, netbooks to laptops and everything in-between.

mikilc
mikilc

Ah, but will it do handwriting recognition? And if so will it be as good as Microsoft's? That's why (i) I use a Windows Mobile smartphone - it's by far the easiest and fastest way of taking notes, yes, using a stylus, and (ii) I also carry a small old-fashioned note pad and pencil, because even a large-screen smartphone (the HTC Touch HD) is hardly useful for anything more than capturing short notes on the fly. A 10-inch or so Mac tablet with efficient handwriting recognition would be a dream, and I'd leave my Macbook at home when travelling.

david.moss
david.moss

If its reasonably priced I'll buy one. Tablets seem to be on the up at present with Microsoft drawing the veil off its Courier twin screen tablet and this Apple venture.

CG IT
CG IT

I could use a stylus to take had written notes on something like OneNote and then have the on-screen keyboard for regular typing AND then touch screen. Price? I'd pay $1500.00 to $1700.00 for a 12" to 14" screen tablet that had a battery life of 4 to 6 hours and wireless network card. Hell, I know probably 20 doctors offices that would buy em in a flash. Probably 3 or 4 each. Kaiser wants something like this for their nurses and MDs. That's a big purchase....

jmcguirk17
jmcguirk17

There are a zillion programs out there (like SmartDraw) that pretend to emulate a whiteboard or a notepad, but none of them does. Give me InkSeine and a tablet, and I can rule the world. Actually, I think if Microsoft publicized this app and made it OEM software, it would make a big difference.

jkiernan
jkiernan

I think the Segway generated more buzz.

jchivian
jchivian

They already have a "tablet PC". It's called the iPod touch. They just need to make it bigger to fit the more traditional concept of a tablet PC.

cbader
cbader

If you look at most of the articles pre-2008 they all look like work that was being on the touch interfaces for the iPod touch and the iPhone. However, I do find it interesting that they have ordered 10 touch screens.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

As in Opps, there goes the Apple. Rollable screens is where it will be at.

boweb
boweb

A tablet PC has been around for a wail now. They are just your everyday top laptops. The thing that makes them "supposedly" expensive is the swivel that is neede to turn the screen. I think Apple is talking about an slimmed down version of the concept. Nonetheless, if an good Windows version comes to the marked, with the same specs qua power and memory as my laptop, then I would buy one. It must have at least have descent CPU power to do what I do now on my laptop, DVD player, video out, 3x usb/firewire, Wireless, audio out, camera, Bleutooth, Multi-Touch screen, loudspeakers, HD screen 14"/15" and an internal stand. No HW keyboard and screen cover would make it less thick. Though, an simple flat keyboard under an sliding screen( that just enough moves to display the keys) would be handy. No dockstation is needed. So, same specs, and less construction material would make then cheaper. I would definitely buy one.

pickleman
pickleman

> I think the Segway generated more buzz. Exactly. And the one thing that both the Segway and this "elusive" Apple tablet have in common is that nobody wanted them. Jobs was absolutely correct in 2003 when he said "People don't want tablets. They want keyboards." And you know what's changed between 2003 and 2009? Absolutely nothing. People still want their keyboards, and not some over-priced, under-powered tablet toy.

john.parker
john.parker

now THAT's a great idea! If they'd couple that with some road-warrior aps, a decent wireless connection, a lot of memory, remote keyboard/mouse capability, big screen connection - a proper dock could keep it all tidy - and great voice operations for on the road phone, word processing and email, THEN they'd really have a box ready for ubiquity! Who knows, they might even get into the double digits in market-share.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

I'm looking forward to that, too. When that happens, OLEDs with wireless connections could potentially even be embedded into walls - above your desk at the office and the TV over the mantle at home, for example. ... Not to mention the OLEDs you could roll-up and carry with you on to the train or walking down the street.

sjdorst
sjdorst

Actually, my only computer is a convertible. At home, I use it in a docking station with a huge screen and USB keyboards and mouse. Away from home, I use it as a laptop for most things, and as a tablet for reading e-books, reading RSS feeds and taking meeting notes. I'd be interested in the Apple tablet ONLY if the on-screen keyboard is decent AND I can get a docking station. One other must have: VGA connection for presentations. If not, I'll stay with Lenovo. I'd actually prefer a tablet to a convertible. Fewer moving parts (hinge) to fail.

user support
user support

I personally think the Tablet PC whether it be Windows, Apple or Mac will be a niche player. We tested them at work for some of our mobile users. Mobile users in our company have portable scanning devices loaded with Adobe Professional so they can put type written notes on any scanned document. Most users did not use the OneNote application that comes standard with the Tablet PC. All our mobile users are on laptops. We bought a Toshiba Tablet PC a few years ago so that my daughter could learn cursive and submit school assignments when we were away from home. It seems they aren't teaching cursive any longer and now require younger students to learn typing. The tablet works fine but we haven't used the tablet feature in a while. Will a tablet pc be needed if a manufacturer could make a laptop with a touch screen? Would handwriting recognition be built in but be an add-on option?

boweb
boweb

Everybody want an tablet. It just not being presented decently. But that has been commercialy deliberate as always. Laptops are still an good selling item. unless sales drop, they will not release an other product. Nobody says you cant have an tablet without an keyboard, there just haven't been any "correct" designs available. And the price of an tablet PC is way to high and bulky. And the Segway.. well it has no seat, and the price is still to high.

boweb
boweb

OLED is great, but still needs the hardware too. It seems the best solution's for thin touch screen table PC's. Lazer projector seems to be the next big thing. No expensive power hungry big screens, just any surface will do. And goggle's, but they just don't seem to get into the mainstream market.

boweb
boweb

Its the same thing, its the industries that wants to sell them as two devices. I used to owned an Vadem Clio Touchscreen tablet PPC. It used hand recognition for text beside the HW/SW keyboard. It was lightweight but big enough to surf( at the time)the net, email, read books, some minor grapics work like drawing etc.. I also use it at work, where I needed an device I could hold with one hand and operate with the other, and that was big enough to display spreadsheets and office doc's.( where the PDA falls short) In most case it is more versatile then an laptop, that needs and desk or other flat area to stand. And more compact. Hand recognition en touch screen is fast and more reliable to work with, one's you get the hang of it. Its all an manner of working with it, and taking advantage of these technologies, and enjoying then. Look at how touchscreen phones have been defined and accepted over the last 5 years. There is advantage for the manufacturer and for the costumer. And if you need an HW keyboard, then there are always options available. No this is not an nice product.

darpoke
darpoke

raise interesting, fair points. I would ask, though - is a tablet really as niche as you think? One argument against netbooks is that they're glorified web browsers. No multifunction, small screen etc etc. Essentially a similar featureset to a smartphone. Imagine a device the size of a netbook, but with scaled up spec. If something the size of the iPhone can hold a 600MHz CPU, 64MB of RAM and a 16GB HDD, then I'd expect at least 1.5GHz, 1GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. A release date of a year from now would make that produceable for less than a grand I should think. The key to the proposition is the ease of use and convenience. No unfolding the screen. No bootup time, however brief. Take it off hold and use it. Pop out a keyboard or just navigate using the screen. I'd pay for one of those babies!

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