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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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RE: first things first...
By Flunk on 8/25/2009 11:06:32 AM , Rating: 3
Good luck with that, with current prices that's pretty much impossible in that price range. 3. means you need to move to at least the Ion platform, killing your price 4. requires a larger chassis than you would really want. 5. kills your price more. Tablets have digitizers, adding more to the price.

Fairly enough a $1000 is really what you'd be looking at for a decent low-cost tablet. I think HP already sells something in this market but it might not be easily upgraded.

RE: first things first...
By StevoLincolnite on 8/25/2009 11:13:09 AM , Rating: 2
I never stated specifically that it had to be an Atom+Ion Platform, for all I care I would be happy with an underclocked/undervolted Athlon 64 combined with a 785G chipset with a Radeon 4200 in it. (Also uses less power to!)

Or even go the way of the Via Nano and the S3 Chrome chipset. (Still better than an Intel IGP!)

The issue with the Atom is that you are either stuck with:

1) The relatively expensive ION.

2) The Power sucking Intel Decelerator.

But you get more choice if you go AMD, or Via.

RE: first things first...
By Mitch101 on 8/25/2009 3:55:43 PM , Rating: 1
What parts does a tablet have that a laptop doesnt?

Usually a tablet doesn't have a built in DVD drive or keyboard but includes a touch screen and a webcam.

Now why again are these things priced twice as much as their laptop counter parts?

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer
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