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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 Broman on 8/25/2009 2:57:46 PM , Rating: 2
Your a man after my own <3 Captain828.

I very much agree with you. I have no feelings of disdain toward the company Apple. I do have trouble siding with those who love their products just because life seems better if the almighty white apple graces the aluminum. I've only purchased two types of devices from Apple: the iPod (my 40gig from 2004 is still rockin') and the iPhone 3G. I did this after much research, trials with different devices, and friends who purchased iPods and other mp3 audio output devices at the time. I was a Blackberry/Motorola guy for a very long time until I decided to give the iPhone a try last year.

I made these decisions because I feel [Apple] hit the nail on the head with these devices. Mp3 navigation was simple and effective on the iPod and one screen to rule them all on a phone seemed perfect for me (every now and then a key would stick on a Blackberry, and don't get me started on phones that slide to reveal a keyboard). So Apple scored a win in my book with these two devices. But slap an Intel server board in with a few Xeons and I don't see something that I can't achieve with my own builds. I do a lot of the big name editing as well, for a big company, in southern California, using many programs that are supposed to be phenomenal on Apple computers (only exception is for any music editing in Pro Tools, then I just use my friends rig). I may be one of the only PC users in my field, but my paycheck says it's OK.

For the matter at hand, something like this would seem like a cool idea. I've wanted something small so I can sit in front of the TV and watch a few friends play video games while screwing around on the net. A netbook seems like a good choice, but if I could essentially have a giant iPod touch without any folding parts then I could see myself adding a third to my Apple lineup.

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