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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: another view of mac vs. pc
By Captain828 on 8/26/2009 7:49:03 AM , Rating: 2
While I have to agree about the workstation part, the whole debacle of PC vs. Mac stands from the fact that you can build a PC with higher-quality components and get more performance than buying a Mac.

And by higher-quality components I mean:
- the case; a Lian-Li or Antec P series case
- high-end low-noise performance fans (like Noctuas)
- a custom low-noise CPU fan
- higher quality Mobo full of features; most high-end mobos have them
- better RAM; lower latencies, higher speed
- a GPU with a custom low-noise cooler
- a highly reliable PSU that would also make upgrading easy
- whatever reliable HDD (or SDD) you wish

Oh, and OS-X can be hacked on any PC...

Regarding notebooks, I have to agree that Apple does make better Notebooks, quality wise, yet there is always competition. Also, sometimes, the high difference between the performance of a Macbook and a much less expensive Notebook, just makes people choose the higher performing Notebook.


RE: another view of mac vs. pc
By chemist1 on 8/26/2009 7:09:47 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I essentially agree with what you've said, though I suspect to get a case of the same quality as that on the Mac Pro you'd need something like a Lian Li PC80, which is $600 on newegg; and (while I've never seen the Lian in person), I suspect even that might not be up to the quality of the Mac Pro case--the thing's an impressive piece of industrial design, inside and out, and is far nicer than the Antec case I used to build my PC. Also, like you, I am a fan of quiet computers--when I built my last PC I used parts recommended by silentpcreview.com--and I was thus pleased to find that my G5 (an older version of the Mac Pro) was exceptionally quiet. I later learned this was because Apple designed the internal airflows to minimize noise; so the case isn't merely made with nice materials and precision construction--there's a lot of sophistication to the internal design.

Nevertheless, except perhaps for workstations, you can typically get more internal hardware performance for less money with a PC, and you certainly have more upgrade-ability, and of course far broader hardware choices (esp. when it comes to graphics cards). But--and I think you understand what I'm saying--I evaluate computers not as hardware only, but as hardware+OS; and while based on hardware alone PCs can be better values, based on hardware+OS the equation changes.

And yes, it is possible to build a Hackintosh. But, if you value your time, those are expensive in their own way.


"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner

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