Image: Jesus Diaz, Gizmodo
We always look forward to Apple products, since they have propensity to redefine the field they set foot in – the iPod and the iPhone serving as prime examples of this!
Rumours have been flying for sometime about Apple working on a tablet PC, and now, iLounge has got what we will – as ridiculous as it sounds – call “the most detailed rumours yet”. Here's the big news up front: it will be introduced to the world on January 19, and subsequently released to retail in May or June, like the iPhone!
One of the significant pieces of information contained in this post seem to be the fact that it runs the iPhone OS! In fact, it even looks like an iPhone, with the same characteristic curved back. It will supposedly come in two versions, with and without 3G support, paralleling it further with the iPhone and iPod Touch.
The ‘iPad’ – as iLounge prefers to call it (and so do we) – will supposedly feature a 10.7-inch screen (up from 7-inch from the first prototype) and will have 5 to 6 times the resolution of the iPhone. It can quite obviously be expected to leverage the same multi-touch technology that has left the iPhone with no serious competitor.
Targeted more as a ‘media player and light communication device’, it is not a competitor to netbooks (if nothing else, it will undoubtedly be much more expensive!). iLounge is reporting that the device will be used for reading e-books, magazines and cropped newspapers.
While a bit of oomph is but expected in an Apple product, the bit about the iPhone OS is worrisome. On a device like the iPhone, 85,000 applications seem like a big deal, and the limited scope of the device means most people won't miss applications that don't make it to the store.
However, a device like the iPad is closer to a personal computer than a smartphone, and as much as Apple wouldn’t like to be compared, it’s akin to a netbook. In this case, the reliance on third-party applications will be greater, making the review process even more counter-productive.
Apple's policies like not being allowed to replace the browser, or using undocumented API, will be a much bigger hurdle here. The AppStore will certainly be a powerful source of applications to begin with, but a product of this nature needs a freer ecosystem.
Additionally, the lack of a good keyboard input (so far) is a bit unsettling. Sure, the iPhone has a wonderful virtual keyboard, but the same wouldn’t be quite as usable on a 10-inch tablet. Hopefully Apple will come up with something as revolutionary as the iPhone keyboard to make up for the lack of a physical one.
With a much larger screen and higher resolution, this device could serve as a competitor to the growing number of eBook readers. Asus has already talked of a dual-screen multi-touch EEE e-reader costing under $200, Microsoft has been reported to be working on the Courier tablet, and Michael Arrington has been hard at work on his CrunchPad, aiming to keep the price under $400. Unless Apple has a great pricing plan in store for the iPad, we think this one is going to be relegated to the shelves of Mac fanboys…