There have been a lot of rumors on the upcoming "Apple tablet" and a few reports as to what it's going to look like and be capable of but so far none of them have me totally convinced. Unfortunately I haven't been able to totally convince myself either on what exactly this new device from Apple is going to look like either but I do have two predictions for what is coming.
First there are a few things I think that will hold true no matter what.
- Apple is not going to call this thing the "Apple Tablet".
- Nor are they going to call it the iTablet or anything even remotely similar to that. There is no reason to call this a tablet when all the tablet computers that have preceded it have sucked. Why associate this product with that legacy?
- Release date depends on what happens [edited aug 14th]
- I thought more about the possibilities and now think that the release date is dependent on which posability comes true. If Apple is pursuing the iPod Touch XL idea, then I think they are going to shoot for Nov. of 2009, if it's the MacBook Touch, then I think early 2010 is more realistic.
- They will release in November
- Most of us know that November is the ideal time to release a product for the holiday season. It's too obvious to not assume that Apple is gearing up to take advantage of this in the hopes that they have the must have gadget of the holiday season. Apple does have a media event scheduled for September but don't be fooled, this event will focus on iTunes and Apple music and video store advancements.
- It will come with an Ecosystem
- To support the low cost point they are going to be shooting for there will be a fully baked ecosystem of peripherals, software and solutions announced at the same time. It won't just be a new iPod or MacBook. Expect that all AppStore applications will run on it and a new category of apps to be announced. Part of this ecosystem means that it will also integrate with your existing Apple products such as a iMac or MacBook as well as the Apple TV and introduce a whole new way of interacting with your computer and devices.
- Hardware Basics
- No matter how powerful or large the device is, or what types of applications it runs, it's going to have good battery life, a microphone, camera, bluetooth and WiFi.
Beyond those four common things however my two predictions start to diverge. Below are my two predictions for the upcoming Apple tablet and the reasons behind my thoughts. Let me know in the comments which one you think is most likely to become a reality.
Possibility 1: The Apple iPod Touch XL
Cost: About $599-$699 dollars, release in November 2009
Apple isn't building this thing for computer users or create a new class of computer to sell along side they MacBooks., they want to create a new category all together that can sit at the top of their iPod product line. To do that they are not going to call this thing the "Apple Tablet" or the iTablet or anything even remotely similar to that. There is no reason to call this a tablet when all the tablet computers that have preceded it have sucked. Why associate this product with that legacy?
If Apple goes this direction and I think that there is a slightly better chance that the iPod Touch XL is the more likely of the two options then the CrunchPad is in for even more of a challenge. I think the idea of a Touch XL is more likely because of all the rumors about form factor and design pointing in this direction and The iPod Touch product line is well past due in getting any attention. This all makes me think the Touch team has been focused on a new product. On the flip side I want Apple to make their new device something more capable, hence let me introduce possibility 2, the MacBook Touch.
Possibility 2: The Apple MacBook Touch
Cost:$799-899 dollars, release in early 2010
This will be Apples answer to the Netbook craze and the markets demand for a lower cost Apple computer. Expect Apple to offer at least two models to choose from with different CPU/RAM and Storage options. Apple will also release some sort of monitor/peripheral docking option perhaps like this at the same time as an accessory. This form factor and docking station will make this the perfect computer for ultra mobile users such as students and business users who travel a lot.
No matter which option you think is going to come true, either device will do what Apple always does well. It will be a very sexy device that offers a great user experience and is perfect for watching movies on the plane, browsing the web or banging out a few notes or e-mails with an on-screen keyboard will be "good enough" to keep most people happy. Or so we all hope, only time will tell, what do you think?