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An Apple tablet is reportedly confirmed and set for a launch in Q1 2010. The tablet is pictured here in an artist's rendition, next to an iPhone for perspective.  (Source: Apple Insider)

Apple CEO Steve Jobs is reportedly devoting most of his time trying to perfect the new device and push his engineers to create the best product possible.  (Source: AP)
Can Apple craft a successful tablet device where others have failed?

When it comes to electronics product design, few executives or managers are as demanding or as uncompromising as Apple CEO Steve Jobs.  While others have played arguably more important roles in the technical or artistic direction of the iPod, iPhone, and unibody MacBooks, it has consistently been Mr. Jobs that has pushed his engineers to cut the devices' weight and footprint, all while packing in top functionality.

Many feared that the iPhone would be his final opus, when he departed the company with a failing liver.  However, less than a year later, Mr. Jobs is back in action, and according to the Wall Street Journal, he has one thing on his mind -- the new Apple tablet.

Last October in an earnings call, Mr. Jobs famously remarked, "We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk."

However, that's exactly what Apple is trying to do, in essence.  They're trying to create a luxury-brand netbook with more power and functionality, that's a small step up from traditional netbooks in price -- similar to its business model in the notebook sector that sees it selling ultralight, long-battery life notebooks for a markup.

Reportedly, Mr. Jobs is acting as a ruthless and relentless captain, demanding long hours, efficiency, and secrecy of his employees.  This comes to a shock to many Apple employees who were beginning to enjoy more freedoms while Mr. Jobs was on leave.  States a source at Apple, "People have had to readjust."

In a brief email Mr. Jobs reportedly contradicted these comments, telling the WSJ, "Much of your information is incorrect."

The new device is reportedly very important to Apple.  With iPod sales slowing, Apple is looking for a new hit to recharge its lineup and keep the so-called "halo effect" going.  The tablet market -- sparked by Microsoft a decade ago, but with currently only 1.4 percent PC marketshare -- seems an ideal place to start.

Reportedly Apple has been working on a tablet for almost a decade now, first filing a patent in 2000.  Mr. Jobs reportedly killed the project twice due to disappointing battery life among other things.  Now, with the iPhone's development lighting the way, it appears Apple is finally set to green light the device.  According to the WSJ, Apple may be pressured to release its tablet at $499 or less, due to the plethora of Windows and Linux netbooks priced in the same range.

Apple's tremendous secrecy makes it hard to determine fact from fantasy, but its clear that something is afoot in Cupertino. 

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By amanojaku on 8/25/2009 9:28:10 AM , Rating: 4
I hope Apple doesn't f*** it up. I hate bashing Apple; they have awesome designs and make fine products like other PC manufacturers today (I hate to break it to you, but Macs ARE personal computers.)

Apple just has three little problems. Sloppy QA, overpriced hardware compared to identical PC competitors (they're x86 machines, after all,) and a curiously perverse need to f*** everyone, from it's customers to its competitors. There are porn stars less anal than Apple...

That being said, this is yet another slick looking device that I hope inspires friendly, consumer-oriented competition.

RE: Cool!
By 9nails on 8/25/2009 9:59:13 AM , Rating: 5
Apple has a history of not getting things right the first time. Apple products are like Paris Hilton, nice to look at but hard to imagine a long relationship with. Apple needs generations 2 or 3 of any given product before they've corrected the design flaws and have something worthy to offer. But by then, enough people have purchased into the style that the functionality can finally through. I've never seen quality make it in the priority list at Apple. Even back when they used to have SCSI drives in their computers, they were still slow, expensive, flawed devices that cost more than the PC equivalent.

Hell, Apple is sitting on a pile of cash. They have enough room to screw up dozens of product launches before they need to worry about making a quality product. Why would they even care if they get all the features and functionality right the first time?

"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA
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