Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Apple tablet hypefest nears

I'm going to spend about six hours today crammed into a pressurized aluminum tube. And that should be okay, because time spent at 35,000 feet on the way to San Francisco is time I should be insulated from the increasingly hyperventilating chatter about the probably-no-longer-mythical Apple tablet. Right?

Not necessarily: The in-flight magazine I read in December had a short piece about this thing.

And things have only gotten worse since then. Between speculations about how the tablet might reshape entire industries (will it save print media?!) and mentions of it in wholly unrelated blogs, this still-unconfirmed device has drawn more pixels and ink than health-care reform and more poorly grounded speculation than Scott Brown's election.

But the good news is, starting about 1 p.m. Eastern tomorrow, we can move on to grounded speculation when Apple unveils the thing. ... I mean, assuming that chief executive Steve Jobs has a tablet to reveal and hasn't instead been quietly chuckling to himself at all the wayward media coverage.

In other news, Apple announced its quarterly earnings yesterday, and they looked very, very good. In its first fiscal quarter of 2010, the Cupertino, Calif., company sold more Macs and iPhones than ever before -- 3.36 million computers, a 33 percent increase over the year-ago quarter, and 8.7 million phones, double the Q1 '09 number. Profits rose to $3.38 billion on revenue of $15.68 billion.

A change in accounting rules helped pad Apple's financial numbers, but even so, a 40.9 percent gross margin in this crummy economy is something a lot of other computer vendors might commit a felony or two to achieve.

In its earnings release, Apple quotes Jobs as promising more to come: "The new products we are planning to release this year are very strong, starting this week with a major new product that we're really excited about."

It's too soon to say whether Jobs's predictions will come true, but it does seem safe to conclude that the company didn't give up any publicity by backing out of the annual Macworld Expo show.

I'd close this entry by indulging in some evidence-free speculation of my own about the tablet, but instead I'll leave that to you all: Post your predictions about its features and price in the comments, and later this week we can see who came closest to the real thing.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  January 26, 2010; 10:45 AM ET
Categories:  Gadgets , Mac  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: PostPoints tip: Move the taskbar on a netbook
Next: LIVE: Apple's iPad unveiling

Comments

I believe that the real big surprise that Steve Jobs has in store will be when Apple introduces Voice Recognition in order to input text into the Tablet.

Posted by: hoya91 | January 26, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Cold fusion?

Posted by: talleyl | January 26, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Doonesbury has this covered well:
http://www.doonesbury.com/strip/dailydose/

Posted by: KS100H | January 26, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

You need one of these:
http://blogs.herald.com/dave_barrys_blog/2010/01/fathers-day-is-coming.html#comments

I bet the tablet will not only allow book reading, and not only allow book loaning, it will allow returning books that have been loaned out!

I guess shaking the iPhone didn't work...

Posted by: wiredog | January 26, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Go back to Steve Jobs Keynote demonstration of the iPhone 6 months before it was released. Not only was it the Mother of All Keynotes, it was exciting because it did things differently. Today those exciting features are taken for granted.

I look to the same approach with Apple's tablet. There are already tablets on the market - all Apple will do is show the competition how it should be done. And within a year the Apple approach will be considered the design standard that the competition will be working hard to copy.

What will be interesting to follow will be who gets the most media coverage - Steve Jobs with his tablet or President Obama with is State of the Union address?

Bad timing on the President's part. We get a State of the Union every year, but there is only one Steve Jobs announcement of the new Apple tablet.

Posted by: KHMJr | January 26, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Weren't the fiscal results reported for the last quarter of 2009, not the first quarter of 2010, which ends with March 2010?

Posted by: CEBABC | January 26, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

It has microwaving capabilities for making coffee and warming lunch; direct mind-to-pad transference; foldable into pocket-sized wallet; battery recharges from body heat.

Posted by: newrussianguy | January 26, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Folks are gonna be seriously disappointed when the big announcement is nothing more than an iPhone 3GS with more storage, available in a new color.

Posted by: dactyl | January 26, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

My guess is that the Apple tablet will have provision for text accompanied by illustrations, in color as well as black and white. I also think that a user will be able to copy and paste text (to the extennt permitted by licenses with copyright owners). Voice recognition (already suggested in a previous comment) is also a good guess.

Posted by: danjose | January 26, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I think it will be ridicioulsy expensive but people will line up to get them and in a couple of months they will come out with another version and lower the price on the first one. C'mon now you know they are have two versions.

Posted by: crazyeagle | January 26, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

It's fun to watch hype grow as Apple catches up with the market each time. Reminds me of the big 3G announcement and hype. I watched people line up for 3G iPhones while using a 3G phone I'd had for 8 months. Mine didn't make a lightsaber noise I guess, just had the entire Windows office suite on it so I could get work done anywhere on the world's smallest computer.

Posted by: kemurph | January 26, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

I think it will give alternative font sizes for readability and allow touch scrolling up down besides page by page and also chapter by chapter. And a more powerful search tool. As well as allowing share of personal book review and book blog directly from the tablet.

Posted by: maddymappo | January 26, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

I'm hoping he announces the rebirth of the Newton.

Posted by: ironmanbox | January 26, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Who cares? Seriously, Obama should come out and tell people to stop blowing money on these stupid devices. Get a library card and check out a book, its free! Millions of people won't pay their mortgage, but they will sit in line for 24 hours to "get one of the first" (of course they'll make more you idiots). Get your priorities straight america!!!!

Posted by: getbent | January 26, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I'm amused that this device is being touted as a Kindle killer. If it has the anticipated features -- color display and back-lit screen -- then it will no more kill the Kindle than any other computer has. E-ink does not lead to eye fatigue; all backlit computer displays do. Moreover, backlighting requires power, so no two weeks of reading without a battery charge, as with Kindle. The Kindle and Sony readers are directed at a niche market: book readers. These readers will not migrate to an eye-straining backlit display.

Posted by: alan25 | January 26, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm amused that this device is being touted as a Kindle killer. If it has the anticipated features -- color display and back-lit screen -- then it will no more kill the Kindle than any other computer has. E-ink does not lead to eye fatigue; all backlit computer displays do. Moreover, backlighting requires power, so no two weeks of reading without a battery charge, as with Kindle. The Kindle and Sony readers are directed at a niche market: book readers. These readers will not migrate to an eye-straining backlit display.
************
Well for the record, I love my Sony Book Reader--it was the best present ever!

Posted by: crazyeagle | January 26, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

In the past, speculation has usually led to incorrect assumptions. If these are wrong, then what the new device may be is actually a family of devices, intergrated together by apps bourne from iphone technology.

Possibilities... If you want it to act as a reader- it will do that, if you want it to broadcast an image to another device- it will do that, if you want to conference with a group of users to share a concept or a file..or even have your itunes playlist shared with another contact in your contact directory it will do that. Limited only by the imagination of the app vendors.

It will usher in the generation of computing like it should look like- transparent to the user. Of course we don't live in a perfect world, but I can always hope we can inch closer to what Information sharing devices should be.

The wait will soon be over

Posted by: akousen | January 26, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Whatever it is, I'll stick to my 15" MacBook Pro -- the best in Mac OS-X (and in Windows, if forced).

Posted by: ccs53 | January 26, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

"Voice Recognition"

Got that right - it is the keys to the city of devices without keyboards and just about as tiny as you want. The problem was background noise and the many different ways we say words. But that can be fixed.


I hope.

Posted by: gary4books | January 26, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

"Voice Recognition"

Got that right. It will be the "keys to the city" of smaller devicew without the need for keyboards.

Just fix the problems with background noise and speech variations.

Posted by: gary4books | January 26, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

getbent wrote: Get a library card and check out a book, its free!

Well, kinda. You see in most places tax dollars pay for the library, its books, materials, computers, etc. And in many places, library hours, acquisitions, staff, etc., have been cut back because of the economy.

But the really good libraries, i.e. those that are still well funded, also provide materials such as Podcasts, digital books, etc. which allow more users to access the collections at the same time.

So while getbent may not feel what happens at the Apple Event has any impact whatsoever on libraries, he/she is woefully wrong.

Who knows, maybe I can digitally checkout ten different titles at the same time, via my new Apple whatever. I'd like that.

Posted by: TheShadowKnows | January 26, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Something idiot proof and overpriced and over hyped that isn't as capable as it's PC equivalent.

Posted by: futbolclif | January 26, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Has the following opinion yet been ventured: I DON'T CARE!

Posted by: JB4519 | January 26, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

It's not a tablet at all, its an Apple Television. Not like Apple TV, a actual tv. It'll be a giant touchscreen tv, much larger than 10 inches. It can be used for a bunch of things like games, painting, reading books and magazines (yes on the tv) and it can be used as a digital chalkboard by teachers at school. Apple will launch its own TIVO like system so users can record their fav tv shows.

The big draw will be that now the whole family do things on the computer together.

It'll be too big to carry around so its not a mobile device, the tablet rumors were a big fakeout by Apple.

Posted by: ochocinco85 | January 26, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

But it's going to be so much more than a computer and so much more than a Kindle. My iPod Touch runs movies, has loads of room for music, and the music sounds great. And then there are the dozens of audiobooks I've downloaded. And a couple of dozen books, too, many of which were free (as was the Kindle app for the iPhone/iPod Touch). And the webbrowsing. Ya can't listen to tunes and watch movies and browse the web on a Kindle!

Posted by: FerialDay | January 26, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

I'll only add to the discussion that I think it will be available in a variety of bright colors like the original iMac and the current iPod nano. (The iTouch macro?) That's why they used all the color on the invite.

And one more thing... optional matching bluetooth keyboard and mouse for use as a desktop when it's in its upright charging dock.

Posted by: wan2buytools | January 26, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Another guess I haven't heard... a built-in digital TV tuner. Radio on the nano. TV on the iSlate or whatever it's called.

Posted by: wan2buytools | January 26, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

It's fun to watch hype grow as Apple catches up with the market each time. Reminds me of the big 3G announcement and hype. I watched people line up for 3G iPhones while using a 3G phone I'd had for 8 months. Mine didn't make a lightsaber noise I guess, just had the entire Windows office suite on it so I could get work done anywhere on the world's smallest computer.
*******************************************************************
And yet...yours STILL wasn't cool.

Posted by: websterr1 | January 26, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Let's see: Color. Tablet/slate form factor. Touch and/or pen input. Book reader application. Voice recognition. 3G network & LAN connectivity. Outdoor-readable screen. $800-$1000 end-user pricing. Very usable interface. Physically lightweight (4 pounds or less) with a reasonable screen size. Voice & data connectivity. Lots of serious apps. Full function operating system.

Is this all that is expected from the Steve and his developers? Not enough by a long shot. Dang, I'll just have to go back to using my current Win7 Pro tablet with all these features that I've been using for nearly a year. The market's already delivered product. Buy it now. Use it now. No need to wait for Apple's logo.

Posted by: jones911gmailcom | January 26, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

It might even be as big as "Ginger"! i.e., the Segway. Revolutionized the design of cities, that did.

Posted by: merkytimes | January 26, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company