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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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Some Macs ain't so bad....
By bissimo on 8/25/2009 10:29:53 AM , Rating: -1
While I am no Mac fanboy, and I do love bashing their over-priced, underpowered iPhones, iPods, Macbooks, iMacs and such, there is something to be said about the MacPro.

As a Video Editor, I work on MacPros and HP workstations primarily and a MacPro with the exact same stats (2x Xeon quad-cores @2.8ghz, 4gb of RAM) renders three times faster than an HP workstation for almost 1/3 of the price (about $3k vs $8k) with a much less powerful graphics card (ATI Radeon 2600 on the Mac vs. Nvidia Quadro FX 3600 on the HP)

If you need a seriously fast machine (not for gaming) a MacPro is really a steal. I've never seen a PC manufacturer that can compete.

RE: Some Macs ain't so bad....
By ClownPuncher on 8/25/2009 11:19:08 AM , Rating: 4

RE: Some Macs ain't so bad....
By StevoLincolnite on 8/25/2009 11:25:34 AM , Rating: 4
You also forget that you could build a Workstation that was more powerful than the MacPro at a fraction of the cost, that's the benefit of the PC, you -can- easily upgrade it, customize it, build it to your exact needs and tastes. (Both performance and aesthetics).

RE: Some Macs ain't so bad....
By sapiens74 on 8/25/2009 1:50:03 PM , Rating: 2
and you can add glowing blue lights and play the latest games on it!

RE: Some Macs ain't so bad....
By Pirks on 8/25/2009 2:52:40 PM , Rating: 1
glowing blue lights
ewww *pukes*
play the latest games on it
You can play them on console these days, no more need for an expensive desktop gaming PC. Microsoft makes sure you won't need a gaming PC by not porting their Xbox exclusives to PC (latest Halo, latest GeoW and such) :P

RE: Some Macs ain't so bad....
By Captain828 on 8/25/2009 8:39:18 PM , Rating: 2
Right... so why would you need an expensive High-performance Gaming PC when you could get a shiny Apple MacPro incapable of playing most PC games?

It makes a lot of sense, doesn't it?

Besides, a High-performance PC isn't even that expensive: with some $1000 you can make a decent gaming PC that will play you the latest games @ max details and high-res.

Also, in my mind, I don't see many X360 exclusives: Halo, GoW, Fable, Forza Motorsport... and that's pretty much it regarding popular AAA titles. Of these, I personally find only Fable 2 and Forza as must-have games.

Just keep in mind that playing games is one of the many things you can do on a modern PC.

RE: Some Macs ain't so bad....
By Pirks on 8/25/2009 11:52:12 PM , Rating: 2
It makes a lot of sense, doesn't it?
Yes if you have Apple exclusive software such as FCP

The Darkness is the Xbox exclusive PC never gets, it alone makes me willing to switch from PC to console. I'm not even starting about many other exclusives Xbox has, such as upcoming Alan Wake for example. PC gaming is just sad these days, after Crytek went console. *sighs*

RE: Some Macs ain't so bad....
By gus6464 on 8/26/2009 2:00:24 PM , Rating: 2
Ohh really? You should first research stuff before spouting crap. Please go to newegg and try to price the parts for a workstation that has the same specs as the Mac Pro or any other comparable workstation for that matter from HP or Dell. The processors alone are going to cost you 2/3 the price of the system on newegg. I am sorry but when it comes to HPC it is much more cost effective to buy a workstation from Apple, HP, Dell, IBM, etc.

RE: Some Macs ain't so bad....
By chemist1 on 8/26/2009 11:25:55 PM , Rating: 2
You might want to take a look at my post, above (search for "DDR3"), in which I price out comparably-equipped Dell and Mac dual-processor Xeon workstations. The Dell, including applicable discounts, is $700 more, even with a slightly lower-end graphics card, and a significantly cheaper case.

RE: Some Macs ain't so bad....
By zephyrprime on 8/31/2009 1:42:46 PM , Rating: 2
Hey, I tried doing that and I can't believe how bad Dell's prices are. They charge $500 for a 1TB SATA hard drive! Ridiculous. You can buy an entire computer with a 1tb hard drive for that much money.

“So far we have not seen a single Android device that does not infringe on our patents." -- Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith
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