“The high-tech industry has been working itself into paroxysms of excitement lately over an idea that is not exactly new: tablet computers,” Brad Stone and Ashlee Vance report for The New York Times. “Quietly, several high-tech companies are lining up to deliver versions of these keyboard-free, touch-screen portable machines in the next few months. Industry watchers have their eye on Apple in particular to sell such a device by early next year.”
“‘[Years ago] software engineers got ahead of the hardware capabilities,’ said Paul Jackson, a consumer product analyst at Forrester Research. ‘But we may be finally getting to the point where the dreams and aspirations of those designers are actually meeting capable and reasonably priced technology,’” Stone and Vance report. “The iPhone and its imitators have demonstrated that new tactile touch screens work and that people are comfortable with them, in a way they never got accustomed to using earlier tablets and stylus pens.”
“The drumbeat of tablet product introductions has already begun… Apple’s rumored tablet is the most highly anticipated of the lot. Analysts expect Apple to introduce it early next year — a sort of expanded, souped-up version of the iPod Touch [sic], priced at around $700,” Stone and Vance report.
MacDailyNews Take: At one time, analysts also expected Apple to be out of business within a year. Just sayin’.
Stone and Vance continue, “Colin Smith, an Apple spokesman, declined to comment on the company’s recruitment or product plans. But Apple’s tablet will most likely have little in common with the Newton, which was essentially a personal digital assistant. The new crop of tablets is being viewed as more flexible — gadgets that combine elements of the iPhone, e-book readers like the Kindle and laptops. Apple has been working on such a Swiss Army knife tablet since at least 2003, according to several former employees. One prototype, developed in 2003, used PowerPC microchips made by I.B.M., which were so power-hungry that they quickly drained the battery.”
One “former Apple executive who was there at the time said the tablets kept getting shelved at Apple because Mr. Jobs, whose incisive critiques are often memorable, asked, in essence, what they were good for besides surfing the Web in the bathroom,” Stone and Vance report. “The success of the iPhone may have partially helped to answer that question. As of last month, developers had created 85,000 applications for the iPhone and iPod Touch — video games, social networking software, restaurant finders and more. Analysts believe that all those programs will immediately work on the new tablet while developers begin to tailor new software for the larger screen.”
Read more in the full article here.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader "Fred Mertz" for the heads up.]