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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: I swear....
By sapiens74 on 8/25/2009 1:46:25 PM , Rating: 1
we just purchased a Sony UMPC with Vista and just when I thought Vista couldn't disappoint me any more, we installed Windows 7 on it.

Since MS has set such a high bar here /cough cough

Apple will be really hard pressed to top a sluggish, non intuitive OS.

Then again, so many Daily tech users swear their Windows Mobile phones have just as many apps and are easier to use then an Iphone

Seems Apple users aren't the only people drinking Koolaid

RE: I swear....
By Alexstarfire on 8/25/2009 2:22:47 PM , Rating: 2
Are you suggesting that Windows 7 is crap? Because I've never heard that before. Though I've never heard of anyone putting it on a tablet either.

RE: I swear....
By TomZ on 8/25/2009 5:21:20 PM , Rating: 2
I think Windows 7 is pretty good, but lets face it, Microsoft hasn't exactly done much to innovate in the area of touch interfaces. Touch works well on the iPhone because it is a "big button GUI." In other words, they didn't just adopt a computer GUI that works well with a high-DPI mouse (e.g., Windows Mobile).

I'm not saying that I'd like a "big button GUI" on a PC, but on a device like a phone or touchpad device, it's probably okay. Microsoft could have - and should have - realized this long ago. Apple put it out there and it works - pretty obvious after the fact.

RE: I swear....
RE: I swear....
By damianrobertjones on 8/26/2009 3:46:51 AM , Rating: 2
So... you went out and purchased the most expensive UMPC you could find, the Sony, then replaced an admitedly inapropriate OS for a UMPC with a BETA operating system and then complain.

Umm...? Maybe you should have installed XP and fiddles around for awhile to make it better. The Sam Q1 Ultra is fantastic

I actually own a Samsung i900 and it's a great phone, with many, many applications available (Not that I bother). With luck Win mobile 6.5 will improve things a little so you do have a point there, especially with the tiny 'x' to close apps.

Mmmm, Koolaid. Not sure we have that here in the UK.

"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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