∞ Prediction: Apple to release two tablets, and other prognostications

Everyone is weighing in on what the new Apple tablet will look like, how it will work, what it will be named, and even when it will be released. I decided to throw my hat into the ring and give some predictions of my own. First, I expect Apple to release two 10-inch tablets, not one. There has been speculation that Apple would release a 10-inch model and a smaller model (maybe a 7-inch), but that makes no sense to me.

What makes more sense is that Apple would follow the precedent it set with the iPhone and iPod touch. And that’s just what I think will happen.

One tablet will have connectivity via Wi-Fi and AT&T’s 3G data network. The other tablet will only use Wi-Fi for its Internet connectivity.

Besides the connectivity, both tablets will pretty much be the same. Here are a few thoughts on some of the other major speculation floating around the Web.

Tablet Operating System: I believe the tablet will use the exact same operating system that is used in the iPhone and iPod touch. Of course, there will be some enhancements to the APIs for tablet specific applications.

SDK: Because I think the OS will be the same, providing a Software Development Kit to developers on day one should be easy.

Existing Apps: Again, the same OS means existing apps will work just fine. I’m not a developer, so I don’t know how they will scale, but they will work.

Tablet apps: I would expect more productivity apps to be released. Because the tablet is bigger and more powerful than the iPhone, having more apps to do work with from Apple and third-party developers would sell well. Maybe a mobile version of iWork.

External keyboards: I expect the tablet to support external keyboards through Bluetooth. That just makes sense to me — the device will have Bluetooth like the iPhone, so why wouldn’t it support an external keyboard. People will be using the tablet to type and work more than they do on the iPhone, so a keyboard would be welcome.

iSlate: There’s been a lot of talk about the name of tablet. MacRumors uncovered the name iSlate that Apple registered, but I wouldn’t get too stuck on it. Apple probably has a dozen names and trademarks it’s tossing around for the device.

Ship date: I know most people are betting on March for the tablet to ship, but I don’t think so. I’m going with April for the tablet to ship to customers.

Price: I go back and forth on this. I think Apple is going to want to make a big splash, so a $700 price point makes sense. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if they priced it up to $1,000.

It’s important to remember that the only person who really knows for sure what features the tablet will have is Steve Jobs. There are some good articles around the Web discussing the tablet — John Gruber’s The Tablet and Tablet Musing are definitely good reads.



  • kevin

    Yeah the $700 price tag sounds low for a Apple product. Unless they also cut the price of the top end ipod touch I'd expect it closer to $800 (to participate in rampent speculation about a fictional device!). Under $1000, but the same cost as the cheapest macbook wouldn't surprise me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/slickbarry Barry Barnes

    I think it'll be around $799. $899 tops. They might drop it to $699 in a year

  • bengarland

    I just wonder about the data service. What if I already have an iPhone? Will the tablet be able to use the same data plan? I don't see why not since the data is "unlimited", but it's AT&T so who knows. I definitely don't want to pay yet another monthly service fee.

    • Lucas

      carriers rules are pretty much that you would need a second line and thus second data plan for the tablet. same as any laptop etc. this is probably part of why ATT has been resisting tethering (not that they will admit it)

      • iLogic

        Bluetooth internet connection sharing would solve this problem. This would be more in Apple's domain…

  • Jamie

    So if you expect existing apps to run fine, you're presuming that the processor will be ARM and not Intel? After all, apps compiled for ARM won't run on an Intel processor…

  • http://www.phonetransact.com Cliff

    Hopefully it has a dock connector so accessories designed for the iPhone/iPod will work with the tablet.

  • http://twitter.com/dedalist @dedalist

    I'd much rather have a bluetooth tablet with Tethering (to the iPhone) than its own 3G data plan … let's leverage the iPhone!

  • Zimmie

    Of course it won't use an Intel processor. Intel's least-power-hungry chip is the Atom and its power consumption is still measured in Watts. An ARM roughly as capable as the Atom consumes power measured in hundreds of milliwatts. For anything battery powered that doesn't need to run existing desktop software, there is no contest.

    Speaking of running existing desktop software, a big part of the reason tablet computers suck so far is that they try to use a desktop UI on a computer without a mouse and keyboard. Put simply, that will never work well. It may work adequately for some people, but never well. Mice allow precise control of pointer placement, especially since you don't have a finger or stylus blocking what it is about to hit. I don't see Apple making a fundamental mistake like that, especially with all of the experience they have designing palmtop interfaces. The Human Interface Guidelines document for the Newton is essentially a guide of how to make a usable pen-based interface. It is radically dissimilar to anything that had existed up until that point, and as a result, was actually very easy to use with a new method of interaction.

    So since a tablet, if it were to exist, would not require the ability to run unmodified desktop software, the only reason to use an Atom is gone.

    • Bert

      You do know that a hundred milliwatts is .1 watt? So, 500 milliwatts is half a watt already. Yes, the processors use less power, but the tradeoff is performance.

      As for the UI, I agree that it won't be a desktop interface; though while it may have multitouch, I'm looking for something completely unexpected.

  • http://twitter.com/godofbiscuits @godofbiscuits

    I'd rather have a virtual keyboard with some kind of haptic feedback than a bluetooth keyboard. Think about it: you'd have to prop up the tablet, and then you're using a keyboard. What is that? a MacBook in 3 parts!

    To address Gruber's "concerns"

    Existing iPhone apps could be made to run on a 10-inch display, either by scaling them or by running them as small on-screen widgets that only take up a quarter of the display. But that doesn’t work both ways: any app designed to use the full 10-inch display could never run on a 3.5-inch display.

    So? There are apps that only run on iPhone and cannot run on iPod touch.

    And, as for keyboards, that’d be welcome, but if the tablets are running “the exact same operating system that is used in the iPhone” wouldn’t that mean that Bluetooth keyboard support is coming to iPhones and iPod Touches too?

    No. iPhone and iPod touch run "the exact same operating system" and yet the touch doesn't "support" a-gps or compass, and who's to say that the next version of iPhone OS won't add a bluetooth profile that supports an external keyboard?

  • SinisterJoe

    If the tablet is using the same basic internals as an iPhone/Touch I think the price point could be lower than we’re expecting. $700-$1k just feels too high. I think it has to significantly cheaper than a MacBook but maybe not as cheap as a net book (which is going to look seriously antiquated in comparison) I’m betting on a <$500 price point for the low end model by the end of 2010. An initial price premium may be required to cover supply & demand though. At <$500 you could get a subsidized price in the $99-199 range. I'm not convinced there's a huge market of people willing to burden themselves with yet another broadband subscription though. That may be a niche market.

    I'm basing this on the iPodTouch pricing. $199 is very competitive on the Touch. I think Apple is going to adopt a razor-blade model for any device that ties into the App Store going forward. I'm sure they'll continue to make a solid margin on the hardware but the 30% from the App Store (and the NewStand or whatever the tablet has) is a goldmine. 30% of 99 cents really adds up if you're selling tens of millions of devices to users installing lots of apps and subscribing to content.

    • http://twitter.com/khurtwilliams @khurtwilliams

      I actually think the device will be nothing like an iPod Touch/iPhone. I think it will be a member of the MacBook line with a touch interface similar to the iPhone/iPod Touch. But it won't just run OS X or iPhone OS it will run a version of Mac OS X written specifically to leverage a touch screen.

    • http://twitter.com/zweigand @zweigand

      You have a point about being able to reduce the margins on the hardware because they will be getting kickbacks on everything you buy from the AppStore, etc.

      They were never in a position to do that before!

  • v1k1ngr

    I think Apple has held out on refreshing the biggest ACD because a range of new and bigger ones will be released that have a a built-in dock for the tablet. Big monitor/TV…check, wireless kb & mouse…check, now your tablet is a desktop computer.

    Also, I think the Apple TV hardware will be killed off and your tablet will be a portable Apple TV/Front Row device. Remember a couple years ago the rumors flying around concerning Apple branded TVs. We may see these finally introduced with the above mentioned dock. This certainly would be easier than taking my MacBook and AppleTV on vacation to the beach.

    Here's what I see > On the way out the door in the morning you pull your tablet out of the ACDTV and slip it in your bag…when you get on the train, you read a book, watch a show, listen to some tunes, edit a photo, have a video iChat, read some email, do some work or play a game…when you get to the office, you take your tablet into a meeting, take some notes, show off a PowerPoint presentation…after the meeting you head back to your cube, slip your tablet into your monster ACDTV and do some serious work…conveniently, you can leave on time to catch you kids baseball game because you can bring your tablet home pop it into your monster ACDTV and finish up your project…then take your tablet into the kitchen to follow a video recipe…before going to sleep, you can lay in bed and read, maybe download a new book or album, email a couple pics to grandma or watch the last episode of Big Bang Theory…when it's time for bed, pop the tablet into the bedside charging cradle and the alarm clock app takes over.

    It's likely that the tablet will be the last thing a person touches before bed and the first thing they touch in the morning! Clearly, that is both sad and exciting.

    I certainly think this is going to be a lot bigger event than most people are expecting. This may be Steve's greatest triumph and the pinnacle of his professional life, not to mention the final nail in the bloated carcass AKA Microsoft.

    • iLogic

      Yes, a successful convergence of Computer and TV while yet being Mobile.The little pad will do it all, from playing video games, work, sharing conferencing, and do it from any location.

      One thing I really think will occur, Apple will have many more competing rivals than it does today.

  • Mr. Guest

    Take 2 iTablets and call me in the morning ;-)

  • http://teapartynews.us David H Dennis

    I find it interesting that Apple's bluetooth keyboard is so small. It's small enough that you could easily think of it as a travelling companion for a 10" notebook, and yet it is large enough to have an excellent touch and be exceptionally easy to type on.

    It looks a little absurd in front of my 27" iMac, though. But is there any reason to make it so small other than possible compatibility with smaller devices?

    But then how on earth do you reconcile that with a tablet interface? Having a keyboard you type on means you have a display that's more or less upright and you then have a duplicate of my iMac but with a puny display.

    D

  • http://twitter.com/zweigand @zweigand

    My predicitions… (this has to be as good a place to make them as any)

    Name: Mac Touch

    OS: Superset of the iPhone OS. It'll be able to run iPhone apps like widgets (good call Jim) although I don't think they will be persistently taking up memory like OS X widgets. The iPhone apps won't be scaled up at all. They were meant to be used at the size they are, so there's no reason to make them take up the entire screen. …oh, and you will be able to run multiple at the same time.

    GUI: There will be a lot in common with the iPhone OS (gestures, etc.), but it will feel quite different. The Cocoa controls will be modified to make sense on the larger screen (no giant buttons) …i'm most interested to see how they do the keyboard. For a tablet, I don't think it's a good idea to make it look like a giant iPhone keyboard because it would suck to type on. You'd either need to lay the tablet down to type on it with two hands (similar to a laptop keyboard) …or do hunt and peck with one hand because humans aren't built to thumb type at that size. Neither of those seem like an Apple solution.

    Connectivity: Jim nailed it. One with 3g, one without.

    Ship date: Damnit …Apple ALWAYS makes me wait for the crap I want. I agree with Jim again.

    Price: $499 with 3g contract. $799 will be the base price for the wi-fi only model, although I'm betting you'll be able to bump the specs up and easily bust through the $1000 barrier.

    Good article Jim!

  • SteveNZ

    @Cliff: Sorry, but I doubt the device will include an iPhone/iPod connector, mainly because Apple and several other phone manufacturers agreed last year to standardize on mini USB connectors, as used on assorted digital cameras and Mophie Juice Packs.

    Other issues: Two models sounds plausible, perhaps to induce existing iPhone owners to buy the device, which we could use tethered to our iPhones when we're out of WiFi range. But, oops, AT&T doesn't do tethering with iPhones (not that I'm bothered — I'm in New Zealand). My guess is AT&T will be obliged to allow tethering or lose its sole iPhone carrier status in the US. Which I gather would make a lot of people happy.

    Price: Depending on the model, I think this will overlap MacBooks at the low end. I wouldn't be surprised to see the basic construction of the device use the carved aluminum block technology of the MacBooks for reasons of strength and rigidity. That stuff isn't particularly cheap, though. But then, Apple kit never is as inexpensive as you'd want it to be. Same goes for BMWs.

    Yep, I'll probably buy one, six months after they go on sale so I get the unbuggy version.

  • FalKirk

    I agree with godofbiscuits, above. How can you have an external keyboard? You have to prop up the tablet, then pull out a keyboard? That's just nuts. The key to this thing is how you hold it. Do you hold it in one hand and input with the other? They'd have to kobble something together to allow you to do that. Do you hold it with both hands? How do you input? With your thumbs? Awkward. It's no wonder I can't picture this thing. Apple has solved the input (and a bunch of other things too, I'm sure) in a way that no one is even beginning to discuss. It's going to be a fun month.

  • http://twitter.com/godofbiscuits @godofbiscuits

    The reason to make it so small is that there's no need for it to be any bigger than it is.

    No, I'm not being flip.

    In addition, being so small it allows for better ergnomics in mouse use compared to a righthander using the keyboard with numeric pad because you don't have to reach out so far to use the mouse.

  • Steven

    The keyboard fits into the back of the tablet. When the keyboard is detached, a lever unfolds from the empty compartment to prop up the body of the tablet.

  • Dave

    Look, if the tablet is a 10" screen (measured diagonally) it could be 5 3/4" wide X 8 1/2" long. If you typed on the touch screen keyboard holding it the narrow way most peoples thumbs would cover the middle. You then could have an optional bluetooth keyboard (the current one would work) that you use at home, etc.. The dock could be a larger version of the iphone dock. Make it so the tablet sits in it on the long side, so 9" long by about the same depth as the iphone dock.

  • Hamranhansenhansen

    This is a great run down of very sensible predictions.

    One thing that has contributed to the large number and high quality of iPhone apps is that developers can buy an iPod touch for $199 to test their apps. The cheapest Android device is over $500 without contract, or $2000 with, and you may need more than one. Carrying that over to a tablet makes a lot of sense.

    Also if you want to deploy in schools, a Wi-Fi only model makes sense. It would be great if the Wi-Fi model can tether to iPhone, though.

    My feeling is that Apple will be really, really aggressive on pricing. The $99 iPhone 3G has been slaughtering cloners because consumers can get the real thing so cheap. Even Macs are cheap now when viewed within the context of the high-end PC market, so it would be great to see them make the tablet so cheap it hurts them at first, and let the margins increase as the component prices drop. This could be such a high volume device.

    I think the productivity idea is really exciting, because I do freelance work, going from office to office, and everywhere I go I see office workers being tortured by the outrageous complexity of Windows and MS Office. And the company is paying through the nose in software licensing and I-T support to continue the torturing, and even so, they are years and years behind the technology curve and everybody is afraid of viruses. iPhone-like simplicity for basic office work could really improve the situation for a lot of office workers. Not just the low level grunts, but where I'm at now there are hundreds of lawyers who can barely use a computer, they're all very paper-focused. I saw a bottle of whiteout the other day for the first time in like 15 years. There's a Selectric a few meters away from me, like a museum piece. But everybody has iPhones and not only gets a ton of things done with them, but also likes using them. People who are having trouble with MS Word think nothing of doing all kinds of crazy things with their iPhone.

    I think the reason Copy/Paste came late to iPhone was Apple considered that to be a tablet feature. They said publicly that Copy/Paste was well down their list and people went "huh?" but if you knew larger models were coming later then things like Copy/Paste and Bluetooth keyboards do go down further on the list. I think it was important to them that Copy/Paste work perfectly on the tablet, and work the same way on iPhone, not the other way around.

  • Hamranhansenhansen

    > Whilst i think a Bluetooth keyboard is good, i still can't my head around how this > tabley is going to stand up on its own.

    If you are not at a desk, you won't use a keyboard, you'll use the onscreen keyboard. If you're at a desk, the tablet goes on the desk and the keyboard goes in your lap.

    I already do this when I do graphics work with a Wacom tablet and large display. The only things on the desk are the display and tablet, and a tiny Apple Bluetooth keyboard stays in my lap, where it is easy to get to, weighs almost nothing, and it's great for the hands, wrists, and elbows to have it there, compared to reaching for it as in most desktop situations.

    > If it needs some sort of accessory to enable it to do that and then the keyboard > as an option then it's not exactly convenient to carry around is it?

    I doubt you would carry the keyboard. The keyboard stays behind in the same way an iPod dock typically stays behind.

    > Might was well stick with my Macbook.

    If you have a MacBook, then the answer to that may be yes. However, most people don't have MacBooks. Most people do not want a high-end PC with a pro audio subsystem, Photoshop compatibility, Unix, and many other Mac OS features that people who have MacBooks right now truly value. Most people do not want a keyboard. For the vast majority of people, iPhone OS is the first computer system they ever mastered, and it gives them everything they want from a computer apart from a larger display.

    When Mac OS X first shipped, I was really surprised at how nerdy it was. A lot of people thought Apple was ruining the Mac by making it more computery and less consumery. But now we see that Mac OS X is the Mac Pro operating system, and iPhone OS is taking over where Mac OS used to be. This is like the low-end/high-end Mac/Lisa strategy, Mac/NeXT strategy, iBook/PowerBook strategy, and the Windows/Mac situation also, with low-end users all on Windows PC's. Now Apple has a low-end/high-end iPhone OS / Mac OS strategy where they replace Windows with iPhone OS. If you already have a MacBook and carry it everywhere and are happy with that, you're the very least important Apple tablet user, you're the periphery of the market. For you, an Apple tablet would be like a second display, much more optional.

    Even if you have a MacBook, though, there are rationales for getting a tablet as well. I carry a MacBook Air everywhere along with an iPhone, and I love both devices, they are highly productive. However, I always seem to have 1-2 paper books with me as well. I would love to replace the paper books with a tablet so that the tablet can be hundreds of books, and also so the tablet can be my primary Web device. Browsing with MobileSafari si so much better than Safari, and I like my MacBook Air best when it's running Photoshop and Logic Pro and BBEdit, not when I'm using it to browse the Web.

    So it won't replace your MacBook, but it may replace a bunch of your other books.

  • Khrt

    I expect this device to be such a game changer that we will be willing to spend $1000 on it. Our thinking on what constitutes a computing device will be shifted.

  • http://twitter.com/khurtwilliams @khurtwilliams

    It's small because most users have no need for a number pad or cursor keys.

  • DeadParrot

    One thing I haven't seen discussed is how a tablet would work with multiple windows & applications. How does an application map to a window? Do applications always have one window? Can they have multiple windows? How do users manipulate a window? How do users interact with an application? iPhones and Macs work very differently. Even on desktops, Macs and Windows and various Linux window managers all have different answers.

    iPhone: One application (with one window) possibly with different views optimized for touch.

    Mac: Multiple simultaneous applications with multiple windows and different views optimized for mouse and keyboard. A top menu to interact with an application. Several utilities to help manage windows (spaces, expose, minimize/maximize/hide).

    Tablet: Multiple simultaneous applications with different views, possibly with multiple windows optimized for touch.

    Because the Tablet has very different needs in manipulating multiple windows / applications it will have a different GUI for window / application management & manipulation. It also means that the Operating System won't be identical to either the iPhone or Mac. I agree that, because it will be optimized for touch, it will be more iPhone-like than Mac-like.

    In terms of the overall model, my guess is that a well polished form of tiled windows (instead of Mac overlapped windows) would work well for a tablet. The tiled window targets are bigger, which works well with fingers, instead of small overlapping window targets which work well with mice. Exact implementation and metaphores would require a lot of work and experimentation.

    • http://twitter.com/khurtwilliams @khurtwilliams

      What if it's both? What if it's a touch screen that when "docked" to a bluetooth keyboard and mouse turns into a full fledged Mac? What if when the screen is not docked you can used it like an iPod Touch for certain applications, e.g. streaming content from the web or from Apple TV or iTunes?

  • http://twitter.com/petebernardo @petebernardo

    I don't see two versions coming out at all. This is not a phone… the necessity for a cell signal is not there and the cost involved with including a cell chip does not require the phone to be subsidized. Yes you are right that they did it with the iPhone/Touch but that is because one of them was billed as a phone and in order to use its primary function you needed the plan.

    I could definitely see them offering a subsidized price but that would be silly to make two different versions…. You make one version, without contract is two hundred more and if you add a cell signal down the road you can without a contract. Hopefully they will sell this like the Nexus is being sold… if you want the contract you pay less upfront and if not you get to enjoy it sans cell signal (until you change your mind)

    • Lucas

      agreed. why not one tablet but the 3g is optional. and hopefully unlocked. then you can go wherever (perhaps it will be both gsm and cdma). if the carriers wanna give some kind of subsidy/rebate they can go for it. or not.

      also, I'm not expecting too much by way of the apps beyond what's in the App store. I'm thinking this thing is not going to have the horsepower for ilife, photoshop and such. computing side, i'm thinking, is strictly netbook

  • Lucas

    i'm going to bump you off on thing. the name. Mac implies Mac OS. but if this is a superset of the iphone OS that doesn't work.

    I suspect that the name, if it is iphone OS, will somehow be iphone/ipod something. yeah ipod tablet sounds a little clumsy but it gives off the right expectation in terms of UI etc

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/zwei zwei

      I've definitely changed my mind on the name…

      While I don't agree that it will be named iPhone/iPod something, I do think you are correct about it not having Mac in the title. If this is supposed to be a revolutionary new product they aren't going to brand it with an old name that carries a lot of baggage with it. My original thought came from the fact that it'll be able to do a lot more than an iPod Touch or iPhone so it may be positioned as a new tier in the Mac family. (and the fact that I don't care for the names iSlate, iPad, and iTablet) Now that lots of people are claiming this is going to redefine the whole consumer computing model it just doesn't make sense any more.

      I've seen the name "Canvas" floating around, and I like that name a lot. I could also see them naming it something like the Apple "Gala" …not only is that a type of apple (like Macintosh), but the definition seems fitting as well if this is primarily going to be a media consumption device. We'll find out soon enough!

  • http://www.facebook.com/hdprice Howard Price

    I don't think Apple's going to introduce something as mundane as the Android tablets that are flooding CES this week. The HP Slate that Ballmer "demoed" was a mess. Several have pointed out that these devices don't support a desktop UI…. Do they support a phone UI either?? I'm not so sure. I would be surprised if Apple didn't come up with a new shell that was a good half way point between the two.Usability is Apple's strong point and a very obvious weakness of all the WinTel things out there. They are not going to miss-step on that.

    Building on the UI usability there's the utility you can get from the device. Intel doesn't have anything that can deliver a day or two of use from a battery powered device. ARM is the obvious choice. This choice would fit well with the call to devs that Apple put out last month to have their apps run "full screen" for a late Jan demo. This thing is going to be binary compatible with iPhone albeit with a bigger screen. If that screen is bigger, what does that mean for apps? Well they either run in just a portion of the screen or the OS makes a best effort to scale them up. Which do you think Cupertino is going to chose?

    Price is the key to this getting mass adoption. Apple has learned a lot about that from their iPhone experience. If there's a way to get the price down by using carrier subsidies they are probably going to do it. We've seen netbooks being given free with a 2 year contract. I don't think that will happen with the Apple tablet but a small compute device like this is competing in that space so it can't be way out of that price range. I would not be surprised to see a carrier subsidy with a contract commitment (I just hope it's not ATT!)… Another aspect to price could be content. Look at what Amazon has done with Kindle. Bundling free lifetime "whispernet" was a great disruptive move on their part. Apple certainly has the clout with the content providers to do something similar. Given the close ties to Disney, maybe there's an opportunity to do a Netflix kind of deal where you pay $X/mo to get all the movies you can watch while part of that subscription goes to subsidize the device.

    Fun speculation. Only Jobso knows, unitll Jan 27…

  • http://www.jon-wright.co.uk Jon Wright

    Whilst i think a Bluetooth keyboard is good, i still can't my head around how this tabley is going to stand up on its own. If it needs some sort of accessory to enable it to do that and then the keyboard as an option then it's not exactly convenient to carry around is it? Might was well stick with my Macbook.

  • Zimmie

    Yes, but the lowest max TDP of any currently shipping Atom is 2.5 W with idle closer to 1 W, and that model has a pitifully low MIPS per Watt. Typical TDP including the chipset comes close to 3W. The upcoming version to be shipped in a few days is rated at around 5.5 W max TDP. It combines some of the chipset functions onto the main core, which reduces the total footprint from three chips involving about 5 square inches of board space down to two chips that consume closer to 3 square inches. The typical idle TDP for the total system is around 1.6 W. Keep in mind, this is still just for the processor and chipset. No screen, no storage, no RAM.

    An ARM system-on-a-chip (SoC) with comparable performance has a max TDP of around 1.2 W, but idling consumes only around 100 mW. ARM chips have most of their peripherals like USB on-die, so you don't need a separate chipset. That means an ARM SoC only takes about half of a square inch of board space. ARMs also tend to scale down more usefully. When they're idle, you can lower their clock speed, and the ratio of clock speed to power consumption is almost linear.

    If the processor were the only thing you were powering, that alone would give you about 10-16 times the battery life of the best upcoming Atom. Of course, a large, efficient screen would consume somewhere between the Atom's power and the ARM's, so in real-world terms, Atom versus ARM is probably only 2-3 times the battery life in ARM's favor.

    Lithium polymer batteries scale fairly linearly, too. The larger the sheet of plastic, the more power it stores, but you can also cut it down. 2-3 times the battery life could mean you get the same life for 1/2 to 1/3 the battery volume and weight. If a tablet is coming, the screen assembly will probably consume the most volume followed by the battery. Cut down the power consumption and you can cut down the battery size. Cut down the battery size and it will be thinner and lighter. It's a win all around.

  • krk

    Battery Life & weight, any predictions ?

  • Mac Programmer

    Another thing for all the Apple tablet-wannabes to sweat is support. As we're seeing with the Nexus One "super-phone", if you don't have a good support team ready and able to instantly answer hardware and software (and carrier) questions, then you'll piss off a lot of customers. Real fast.

    As for iPhone vs. tablet screen size, I seem to recall that Apple mentioned something about "resolution independence" in their SDK notes as far back as early 10.5. (I'm a Mac programmer but I haven't done anything for iPhone yet.) I would guess that "resolution independence" means "the ability to run on screens with different pixel sizes and yet look the same."

    Assuming this to be the case, I would expect the iPhone 4.0 SDK to allow a single GUI design for an App that would allow it to run on the tablet and iPhone / iPod touch. And, of course, a single build as well. So you'd just buy an app from the App Store, and it would run on your tablet and iPhone at native resolution and still look great. It would be terrible to have separate iPhone and tablet App Stores or multiple versions of the same App for the different devices. That would be messy and confusing for users.

    So, I think it would make sense for the tablet's OS to be a next-generation version of the iPhone OS (call it 4.0). And naturally a version of that OS would be released on the 4th generation iPhone this summer and made available for upgrading older iPhones as well. Just wishful thinking, from a developer's point of view…

  • stefn

    Here’s the last pegging in the great game: iPod Touches and iPod Tablets must become cheap enough that we have 3 or 4 lying around the house and 1 to lend to a friend.

    Amazon has led the way toward this approach: Make the Kindle relatively cheap and include free 3G solely for the purpose of purchasing from Amazon.

    What if Apple did the same? Touches for $100; Tablets for $250 tops, including free 3G and wifi. They would be purchasing monsters: music, video, books, apps, games. Cash is the ultimate content stream.

    Apple must jump left or right: either capture revenue using ads ala Google or using purchases ala Amazon. Look out below, Amazon!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/zwei zwei

      I am usually around a WiFi hotspot so I really can't justify buying into a cellular data plan. If they were able to cut a deal with the cell providers that made music/movies/books/magazines/etc free to download (because the cost of the data is included in the product's price) and also gave me anytime access to the 3G networks for say 10-cents a MB I'd be in heaven! They could just bill you through your iTunes account for the amount of data you used.

      • Lucas

        the content won't ever be free to download cause the creator's want their cut. And the cell companies want some cash as well if you are on 3g. but as you note, there's a lot of wifi in many areas. A great deal is free and a fair chunk of the rest is can had pretty cheap. At one point I had a wifi account with ATT that was like $10 a month and covered every Starbucks, every Barnes and Noble and a few other spots. I could hang on the beach and be online if I wanted. So no real need for 3g. So I'm all for optional 3g.

  • james braselton

    hi there you are right i think apple will release 2 models one is going be a low end model with a hard drive and the high end with a solid state flash drive too but hay probaly next year a hybride ssd/hdd combo ahrd drive and solid state in a tablet they have hybride netbooks like msi u-115 and desktop hybride computers like the 23 inch touch screen gate way one with 64 gb ssd and 1 tb hdd and the msi has 8 16 32 gb ssd with 80 160 250 or 320 gb hdd

  • brian

    7" make no sense? Common it makes total sense. Look at all the conflicting reports. Take all the contradicting predictions and put them into two devices.

    One a $600 7" super iPod on iPhone 4.0 OS and the other a $1000 10" iSlate with OSX or OSX hybrid. It only makes sense.

  • Timothy

    iPad

  • http://swingingsultan.com Owen

    Holy crap! Coming back here on Gruber's advice makes it seem like you had a divine prophecy! I almost got the feeling you changed parts to make it line up (but I'm sure that wasn't the case, and I think I remember reading it before). Wow, great intuition!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/jdalrymple Jim Dalrymple

      Thanks Owen! I assure you nothing changed in the story.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ismar.iljazovic Ismar Iljazovic

    Ho-ly shit. Also just got here via DF. You basically ABSOLUTELY nailed it with your predictions. Amazing.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/jdalrymple Jim Dalrymple

      People argued with me at the time xD

  • Caleb

    via Gruber as well. Kudos. Common sense is not so common.

  • Jean-Denis

    Gruber indeed. Hats off.

  • Wes

    Same here. And fantastic predictions.

  • http://ipadtouchfans.info/ Lauren Riya

    I found this post which is few months back. The Apple tablet which known as iPad now seems to have 3G version already. This is still a good share. Thanks.