Apple’s tablet computer: Expect the unexpected

Parallels Desktop 5 for Mac “The speculative madness surrounding Apple’s rumored tablet computer has finally reached its frothy peak,” Arik Hesseldahl sprinkles some cinnamon on top for BusinessWeek.

“Tech’s chattering classes are obsessed with the unconfirmed product, which Apple may announce at an event in January, or February, or March, depending on which set of reports you adhere to. Apple, not surprisingly, is mum,” Hesseldahl reports. “The hunger for information—and misguided speculation—reminds me of the mistaken prognosticating about the iPhone before its introduction three years ago. It may be time to step back and realize that Apple may uncork a product so surprising that the company again leaves the tech industry scrambling to catch up to its products’ smooth operation and sleek design.”

“Looking back at Apple rumor site postings in the months leading up to its debut, I noticed how far off the mark many were about the iPhone’s looks, Apple’s partners, and who the carrier would be who could resell it. For example, enthusiasts’ home-made design drawings that emerged on rumor sites showed a phone that sported a navigation wheel similar to the iPod’s. Others imagined the iPhone would have a slide-out keyboard,” Hesseldahl reports. “Few saw the potential for a touch-sensitive display, which eventually became the signature design element of the iPhone and iPod touch.”

Full article here.

25 Comments

  1. What I see coming down the pike in the next few months will be similar to the second coming of the iPhone – the ‘Tablet’ will be over-hyped rumor mill wise, disappointed in first generation product regarding Apple’s decision of what to include wise and praised and scorn message board wise.

    I wonder how many months before the original sale price is dropped a couple of hundred bucks?…

  2. “Few saw the potential for a touch-sensitive display.”

    That’s because everyone HATED touchscreens before they had a chance to get their fingertips on an iPhone. In fact the touchscreen revelation led to several more premature prognostications about how the iPhone was doomed because it had one.

    Today, people barely remember the dark and gloomy days of the pre-iPhone touchscreen.

  3. I’m still scratching my head about Steve’s warning about the 200 patents and Apples plan to protect them. I’ve not seen any litigation regarding the many iPhone wanna-bes. Some get close to the look and feel of the iPhone. I want to know how they have come so close without stepping on Apple’s patents.

  4. Ha! I’ve been calling for a Macbook with a touch-screen keypad since the iPhone came out – three years ago! Someone’s even made a nice mock-up of such a device. I envisioned that the user could switch from the keyboard display to the actual screen display for touch-intuitive operations. That way all the fingerprints stay on the keypad portion of the laptop, not the screen!

    That’s the one issue I wonder about with the coming “Slate” (please don’t use “Magic” – ’cause it’s SCIENCE, not magic…Jesus!): What protects the screen while you carry this thing around!?! Some cheesy plastic fold-around cover? WIll I have to be a foam-sleeve protector…oh great, one more thing to mess with!?! How does it charge? Won’t I basically still need a bag to carry this device and charger!?!?

    I think this is way tablets have failed so far. That’s why I hope Apple is using a laptop/webtop design and not just a tablet.

    Four more weeks!

  5. When the voices of the naysayers, drown out the proponents iCal is my tool of choice. Words mean something or they don’t and being wrong all the time is not an art form.

    “Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone… What Apple risks here is its reputation as a hot company that can do no wrong. If it’s smart it will call the iPhone a ‘reference design’ and pass it to some suckers to build with someone else’s marketing budget. Then it can wash its hands of any marketplace failures… Otherwise I’d advise people to cover their eyes. You are not going to like what you’ll see.” — John C. Dvorak, 28 March 2007

    “I’m more convinced than ever that, after an initial frenzy of publicity and sales to early adopters, iPhone sales will be unspectacular… iPhone may well become Apple’s next Newton.”
    David Haskin, Computerworld, 26 February 2007

  6. @Rot’nApple

    You truly are the visionary of MDN. I was thinking the same thing, but couldn’t bring myself to say anything, out of fear I’d be ridiculed to no end by the other commenters.

    Who can deny that there always seems to be a tremendous amount of speculation just before Apple releases a new product? Remember the iPod? And then that business with the iPhone? And now this tablet business?

    You’re a genius for recognizing the trend between these events and more importantly, having the courage to say it out loud, is just amazing!

    Hat tip to you my friend.

  7. I also have to agree with ‘Rot’nApple’ on this. It seems to be the usual outcome for anything Apple devises. I just hope that they can quickly revise and improve the thing like they usually do. No matter what, bad press is to be expected.

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