Over the years there has been a lot of rumors on the soon to release Apple Tablet "Thingy", which I will call "Mac Slate". These rumors and mockups are mostly based on leaked information from existing Apple suppliers and manufactures in China and Taiwan. They are interpretations without any explicit information from Apple themselves, as Apple will not comment on any unannounced products. Therefore, in an effort to collect my opions on the subject, I like to add my educated speculations on this soon to arrive Mac Slate.
First let us look at Apple's past achievements, we see that Apple did not invent the MP3 player, but transformed and redefined it with the release of the iPod, iTunes Music Store and iTunes. Apple did it again when they entered the mobile smartphone market with the iPhone and the iTunes App Store.
In both cases Apple did not invent the market or the devices used. On both occasions the industries were well established with significant leaders. This did not matter to Apple and when Apple launched their offerings they shook the market and their respective industry leaders.
I truely believe Apple will do the same with the Mac Slate. The difference this time is that Apple will shake four different industries: Media Player, eBook, Netbook and book publishing industries.
I believe the Mac Slate will position itself among the Macintosh computer, iPhone and AppleTV, becoming the hub for content resides in the cloud, the Macintosh computer and Apple TV. May be it will utilize the iPhone's communication capabilities to make video and voice calls.
Some people believe that the Mac Slate will have all the modern wireless radios: WiFi, HSDPA, Bluetooth, WiBro, etc., but I think it will only have a WiFi and Bluetooth radios. This is so that Apple can keep the cost of the Mac Slate down. Since Apple has products in the price ranges:
- iPhone/iPod Touch/AppleTV: USD100 - USD400 range
- Mac Mini: USD600 - USD800 range
- MacBook/MacBook Pro/MacBook Air: USD1000 - USD2500 range
- Mac Pro: USD2500 - USD3300
This gives Apple a price range of USD600 - USD800 for the Mac Slate, which is higher than the Amazon Kindle (USD280 - USD490), but the Mac Slate will be much more than just an eBook. I believe it will have a large enough screen to make reading books, magazines and newspapers a joy. Incorporating what Apple had learned from the iPhone UX, it should make purchasing books and getting electronic documents onto the Mac Slate very simple.
Speaking of content, there was a rumor that truck loads of books were delivered to Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, so iTunes Store may begin to expand its collection very soon. Additional to the content that already exist in the iTunes Store, the Mac Slate will be able to receive streamed content from the cloud; hopefully from services like Hulu and alike.
Had you ever wanted to know more about the movie you're watching, the characters in the movie or subject matter in the plot, the Mac Slate will be able to do so by recognizing the content being consumed via iTunes or AppleTV. It will intelligently bring up relevant content from the Internet pertaining to the content in question, whether it is from AppleTV, iTunes or on the Mac Slate itself.
The OS should be based on OS X, as on the Macintosh and the iPhone/iPod Touch. It should incorporate multi-touch capabilities that are already on the Mac notebook's track pads and the iPhone/iPod Touch. The OS will not be the same as the current iPhone/iPod Touch OS but will be a variant, which later will transform into the Touch OS for all three devices. I do not believe there will be a physical keyboard and just a virtual one, but hopefully Apple will support the full Bluetooth suite so an external keyboard can be paired to the Mac Slate for users who like to use a physical keyboard or mouse.
Transitioning from a Macintosh computer or the iPhone/iPod Touch to the Mac Slate will be seamless. The data on the Mac Slate will be synchronized across devices ensuring the user will have the latest versions of the data s/he needs when they are operating the Mac Slate.
The Mac Slate will utilize SSD rather than HDD for internal storage. It will have a minimum of 4GB of RAM, and the internal storage, RAM and battery will all be upgradable but it will require removing the back cover like in the current MacBook Pro design.
Of course, all these are my educated guess of the Mac Slate. I do not claim to have any in side information from any Apple sources for the above. I have two certainties: Apple will release the Mac Slate, Apple will again transform and redefines the industry that the Mac Slate appears in.