Rumor: Apple Tablet for Late 2009

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Days after AppleInsider boldly predicted the launch of an Apple (s aapl) tablet in early 2010, the Financial Times has countered with its own insider information.

Apple is “working towards a September launch” for a media tablet, but more importantly and shockingly is who Apple is working with: EMI, Sony Music, Warner Music (s wmg) and Universal Music Group (s umg).

While conventional rumor wisdom strongly suggested an e-book reader as the primary function of the device, out of nowhere comes the Financial Times citing four sources associated with an interactive album project, “Cocktail,” as it has been code-named. Its purpose, at least from the perspective of the recording industry, will be to resuscitate albums sales that have fallen off a cliff since the advent of individual-track purchases through download. Read More about Rumor: Apple Tablet for Late 2009

Rumor: Apple Tablet for Early 2010

Citing “people well-respected for their striking accuracy in Apple’s internal affairs,” AppleInsider has put its mongering reputation on the line by reporting the near-mythical Apple (s aapl) tablet will be unveiled in the first quarter of 2010.

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Photo courtesy AppleInsider

According to AppleInsider, the tablet will have a 10″ inch display and be a 3G device. Pricing is pretty much a mystery. Bore than an iPhone, less than a Macbook, but that would be in line with previous reports of an $800 device. Reinforcing previous rumors, the company is in talks with Verizon (s vz) for a network partner. If that were not enough rumor buzz, the device will not have Intel (s intc) inside, but use a CPU from Apple-acquired P.A. Semi. The rumor theory is that Apple was dissatisfied with battery life of Intel’s Atom. Read More about Rumor: Apple Tablet for Early 2010

Rumor Has It: Apple’s Tablet to Be Verizon Subsidized

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Now that the rumor mill has settled on October as a launch date for the still-unconfirmed Apple tablet device, it’s getting around to explaining just how said device will be sold to the public. At this rate, someone will be fondling a production model in low light and taking blurry cam photos by next Tuesday.

The Street is reporting (with a fair degree of confidence, I may add) that not only is an Apple (s aapl) tablet a done deal, it’s a deal done with Verizon (s vz). A source, who asked not to be named, speaking to The Street said that Verizon will indeed be offering a subsidy on the new device for customers who sign up for a mobile data plan to be used with it. Though the two companies will be working together to mitigate consumer costs, their relationship won’t be as chummy as the Apple/AT&T relationship, according to the source. Read More about Rumor Has It: Apple’s Tablet to Be Verizon Subsidized

What to Expect From Apple’s Quarterly Report on Tuesday

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The conference call date for Apple’s latest quarterly numbers was finally announced this week as being at Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. PDT. The biggest question isn’t about profit or sales, however, but who will be doing the speaking: Could it be Steve Jobs?

Jobs was last heard on an Apple (s aapl) conference call in October 2008. While no reason was given for his presence then, it could be argued that his participation was designed to assuage concerns about his health. In January, Jobs took a leave of absence to deal with those health issues, and was later revealed to have undergone a liver transplant. Since returning to work at Apple in June, his highest-profile appearance has been as a spectator at a concert. Even if Jobs is not at the call, expect analysts to ask about his health. But that won’t be the only topic discussed. Read More about What to Expect From Apple’s Quarterly Report on Tuesday

Rumor Has It: Apple Could Field $800 Tablet as Early as October

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Do I have $800 to spend on yet another Apple (s aapl) device that bridges the (relatively small) gap between my iPhone and my 13-inch MacBook Pro? Not really. But if rumors prove true and this October does indeed see the launch of a small tablet device priced in that area coming out of Cupertino, I will be hard-pressed not to find an excuse to pick one up. In my dream of dreams, such a device would also be Wacom penabled, but Apple rarely seems to take into account my opinion when designing new products.

Regardless, I’m probably better off earmarking that $800 as pretty much spent, according to new reports from Chinese tech news site Info Times. The site, which is renowned for reporting rumors and leaks on the supply chain side of Apple’s operations, is now saying that the tech giant is set to begin actual production on a 9.7-inch touchscreen device, aimed at competing with the netbook market. $800 is still a far cry from the $300 to $400 most basic netbooks will cost, but who’s counting? Read More about Rumor Has It: Apple Could Field $800 Tablet as Early as October

Do Boomer Demographics Make a Tablet Mac Inevitable?

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Born in the early-middle of the Baby Boomer generation (1951), I’m one of the folks O’Reilly Radar’s Mark Sigall is talking about in a recent essay contending that an Apple (s aapl) assault on the tablet computer market is “inevitable,” since such a device would be so symbiotic for we Boomers, who, now aged 53-73, constitute a whopping 70M+ demographic cohort in the U.S.

Aging Baby Boomers

How so? For the same reasons that aging Boomers are unlikely to embrace the palm-sized iPhone en masse, Sigall suggests, observing that a bookish-sized tablet device — call it the Boomer Tablet — would be tailor-made for home Wi-Fi setups, obviating mobile access costs associated with the iPhone, which he says constitute a significant barrier for a generation programmed to keep mobile bills within a tight spending range. Good point. We Boomers missed the Great Depression, but enough of its residual trauma rubbed off on us in our formative years from our parents and grandparents that we’re inclined to balk and bridle at the extortionate highway robbery service fees cell and wireless Internet providers impose on smartphone users, leaving some of us bemused at younger generations’ seemingly passive willingness to cough up whatever is charged without very vigorous price resistance. Read More about Do Boomer Demographics Make a Tablet Mac Inevitable?

A New 3G MacBook Air On the Horizon?

Siliconrumors has posted a news item claiming that its “sources” have indicated Apple (s aapl) is preparing some new additions to its MacBook Air family of laptops.

In short, the rumors talk of an integrated 3G radio assembly, allowing connectivity to high-speed cell networks. Also touted is a solid-state drive (SSD) as standard (currently the SSD is an expensive additional option when buying a MacBook Air). Finally, they suggest a price point of between $1,300 and $1,500.

I wouldn’t ordinarily have given this much credence except for the recent apparent consensus in tech journalism reporting (Gene Munster has a LOT to answer for!) that agrees Apple’s much-discussed tablet device won’t see the light of day until 2010.

If Munster’s prediction is correct, it means that Apple must fare another year in an uncertain economic climate. Even with the anticipated next-generation iPhone due to be released this summer, a little more product diversification couldn’t hurt their bottom line. Particularly if Apple tips its hat a little more warmly in the direction of the growing netbook market. Read More about A New 3G MacBook Air On the Horizon?

Apple Tablet Rumors: Could It Change the World?

I know, I know, I’m sorry. Yet another tablet rumor report. This time, however, there’s more meat to it, and Business Week’s Peter Burrows is so confident in information coming from sources close to its development he’s now “convinced.”

OK, so what? Some people were convinced all the way back in 2003. But at that time, there was far less to go on than we supposedly have today.

Burrows doesn’t name his source, only describing his mystery informer as someone “familiar with Apple’s product plans” who says the company expects to introduce a tablet-based device early next year. Nothing new there, right? We’ve heard that rumor already. But Burrows’ confidence in those claims is bolstered by a report from Piper Jaffray senior analyst Gene Munster, who writes:

Between indications from our component contacts in Asia, recent patents…relating to multi-touch sensitivity for more complex computing devices, comments from Tim Cook on the April 22 conference call, and Apple’s acquisition of P.A. Semi along with other recent chip-related hires, it is increasingly clear that Apple is investing more in its mobile computing franchise.

Specifically, we expect this to result in a larger (7”-10”) touchscreen tablet that will launch in 1H CY10. Additionally, Apple’s consistent message that it refuses to launch a “cheap” portable netbook, and its desire to differentiate itself in a maturing market before it’s too late (similar to the timing of iPod and iPhone), plus its gradual addition of multi-touch technology to all of its core products (iPhones, iPods and Macs) leads us to conclude this product will be a touchscreen tablet (not a netbook).

Certainly sounds convincing, right? It does to Burrows, who adds:

All the talk of midsized devices that are smaller than a laptop and larger than a cell phone strike me as wishful thinking by vendors. But who really needs one, and for what? I know I don’t.

Good point — at this stage, it’s somewhat unclear where the demand for this device will come from. We can only speculate. Sure, it’s easy to talk about instances where such a form factor, married with an iPhone-flavored Mac OS X platform, will be well-received. Hospitals, schools and universities are obvious candidates. But I’m reminded of the heady days of 2002 when there was tremendous buzz around tablet PCs. Sure, they were underpowered things, but they were useful. I carried one with me around the world, and although it died quite spectacularly two years ago, I still miss it. But it seems only the tech-enthusiast and geek crowds really embraced them. Read More about Apple Tablet Rumors: Could It Change the World?

Apple Says “No” to Netbook, Quietly Nods “Yes” to Tablet?

appletabletAs I mentioned in my post about Apple’s (s aapl) second-quarter conference call, COO Tim Cook pretty stridently denied that the company had plans to produce any kind of netbook device. Instead, he pointed customers toward the iPhone and iPod touch, saying those devices provided most of what consumers are looking for from a netbook anyway. It seemed like an outright rejection, but could it possibly have been a coy admission that some kind of tablet-type device was in the works?
Charlie Sorrel of Wired’s GadgetLab thinks so. He interprets Cook’s words during the teleconference differently, suggesting that they could leave the door open for a new entry in the iPhone/iPod touch category, with a larger screen and more similarities to a tablet computer.
It’s true that this kind of device makes more sense from the standpoint of Apple’s objections to netbooks in general. There’s no keyboard to be concerned about, battery life would be more in line with the iPhone than a notebook computer, and you have a built-in library of applications that are better suited to mobile usage than traditional PC or Mac apps. Read More about Apple Says “No” to Netbook, Quietly Nods “Yes” to Tablet?

Axiotron Modbook Pro Announced

Many of you will have seen images of the original Modbook — it’s a customized tablet style MacBook, with a host of hardware additions and a touch sensitive screen. The makers of the Modbook, Axiotron, have announced the addition of the Modbook Pro to their lineup. The 15.4 inch device is heralded as “the ultimate tablet computer,” combining speed and power with new cutting-edge hardware and software features.

The Modbook Pro uses the components of Apple’s 15-inch 2.8GHz MacBook Pro in a custom designed tablet case. Weighing 6.6 pounds, the Modbook Pro has all the ports and drives found in the MacBook Pro, as well as a GPS device and an assistive technology dual switch port for connecting input devices for people with disabilities.
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