TUAW predicts tomorrow's event
9.6 inch LED-backlit display
Wireless HDMI support (to output to TV)
Front facing camera
Tomorrow, we expect to see Apple finally launch the long awaited tablet. It will likely feature a 10.5-inch diagonal capacitive touch display and look and function much like a large iPod touch. Running iPhone OS, it may feature an enhanced vocabulary of user-interaction gestures, suitable for the larger screen size.
The new tablet should offer a variety of augmented reality applications, allowing users to interact with and annotate many kinds of media including TV and movies, maps, newspapers, and more. Although I'd like to see a front-facing camera on the unit, I can easily see why Apple might omit one, so I'll take a pass on voting for or against. Looking towards the netbook market for competition, the tablet may provide optional nationwide wireless for a monthly fee.
I'm keeping my prediction on the conservative side -- so I'm guessing no mind blowing new tech on-board, at least at the start with product launch. A larger iPod with good connectivity options and excellent media provider deals is enough to get the tablet going without any special OMG One More Thing items needed. It will help if the new tablet better integrate with Apple's emerging cloud services, namely Mobile Me and iWork.com.
The rainbowunicornpuppies will be an optional extra for a small fee, and Uncle Steve will be giving candy to all the good little children.
The most amazing thing to me is that with thousands of rumor stories fueling the blogs, we really know nothing that's completely official. The controlled leak to the Wall Street Journal was brilliant since it gave not one detail outside of the fact that the thing is real. So, my random guesses are:
- 10" LED screen
- Cameras on both the front and back, both for pictures and iChat.
- Running iPhone OS 4.0 which should be announced tomorrow.
- Allow tethering to an iphone, maybe not for data but for the ability to use a keyboard.
- Hopefully no additional data plan, since I really can't see people wanting to pay another monthly bill. If there is a plan, I hope it to be optional.
- Lots of new gestures available.
I'm predicting that the tablet, after all of the hype and alleged "forecasting" by every Apple fanboy, will make absolutely nobody completely happy. I also predict that many of our commenters will say that it's the stupidest thing they've ever seen, it's too expensive, and too limited in what it can do. Then we'll all go out and buy them anyway!
In terms of the display, I'm thinking it's going to be something new for Apple and the industry -- they'll use a 10.5" version of the Pixel Qi hybrid screen, which will give us insanely great battery life (especially when using the tablet as an e-reader), and readability in bright sunlight.
Nobody seems to talk about storage, but at the price I think we'll see at least 64 GB and probably 128 GB. It's going to be running a PA Semi-designed chip set.
I can't see 3G / 4G wireless being forced upon the masses. There are too many of us who already have one or two expensive wireless plans, and the additional cost of yet another plan would be a deal-killer for many. 802.11/n connectivity will be built-in, of course, with an option for 3G / 4G wireless.
The built-in apps? Mainly for media, including a Zinio-like magazine / newspaper reader with built-in browsing for books and other printed media, which will of course be located in the App Store. I think it will also have the next generation of iWork built in for light productivity. I'd love to see a way to use the device with a built-in universal remote app to control all of my other devices -- think of it as a Logitech Harmony on steroids.
We're also going to hear about iLife 2010, the newest and greatest version of the iLife suite, now with a new member of the suite in the form of a painting program!
I also predict that most of our predictions will be totally off-base.
Apple will introduce and demo the new tablet, with a shipping date in June or July. It'll have a 10.5" touch display, it's own store in the the revamped iTunes, and work in a way that none of us have guessed.
The device's emphasis will be on fun, not work. Yes, you'll be able to access a more web-based version of the iWork apps (tablet-friendly iLife '10 will also be introduced), but just as Apple has been promoting the iPod touch as a gaming platform, they'll really amp it up with the tablet.
I also expect ereader capabilities with Apple style and flair. Gorgeous, full-color books will appear from a select group of publishers and newspapers, with lots of interaction.
Finally, the new web-based version of iTunes will allow for steaming of TV shows at $0.99/pop. That will have been a concession on Apple's part, as they wanted a subscription model. Expect that to change by year's end.
The iPhone will not get a mention, as this isn't its show.
The Tablet will appear with a 10" display, full App Store compatibility, and some groundbreaking media partnerships with lots and lots of paid content flowing through Apple's gates. No camera at all. I'd really love to see that dynamic touch keyboard, but I don't think it's going to happen, unfortunately -- this is a larger iPod touch. All kinds of connectivity though, including possibly a 3G or 4G connection on a plan set up through Apple with whatever provider you want. $1000 price tag, in stores in March.
One more thing, if there is one, is a Verizon iPhone. But they may save that until later this year.
Tablet will have a major focus on publishing, with interactive, colorful books and magazines. It may be a death blow to the Kindle if it is priced right. Clearly it will have the option of 3G access and Wi-Fi. I personally would not be enthusiastic about another monthly data plan, especially with AT&T unless it is VERY reasonable.
Expect lots of games, probably scaled up from the iPhone. BT keyboard and mouse would be a good option. Expect it will be integrated with iTunes for music, movies, and probably publications.
There aren't really difficult predictions to make, but I think they are close to the target.
High price will kill it. Apple, are you listening?
I'm throwing my money in with Chris on this one. Everyone pretty much has said what I was thinking.
But, I also think that Steve makes a wonderful point about everyone not being happy at all.
So, I'm going to do a prediction completely out of left field. That despite the leaked specs and the speculation, "Tablet" isn't its own device at all, but a piece of software integrated with OSX and the iPhone that is like a hyper-iTunes bringing you whatever content that you desire and can be synced on any Mac you own, including the iPhone - designed to stream books, magazines, TV shows, music, etc. The 10-inch device is slated to be part of the MacBook line, replacing the current white plastic models, but is essentially a cross between a current MacBook and a really big Nintendo DS.
I would like to go on record saying that if Apple releases an appropriately-priced tablet, their stock price will not go down.
- Steve crows about Mac sales
- Mac portables get updated with Intel i7 processors
- Steve crows about iPhone sales
- iPhone OS 4.0 available today with "over 100 new features"
- Spends 10 minutes highlighting new features. Biggest new feature: app multitasking (not available for first-gen iPhone)
- Flashback to 2007 when Jobs said "You're lucky to make even one revolutionary product in your career: Mac, iPod, and now a third one," - "Well, three years and a lot of work later, we've got a fourth product that's going to change the industry forever."
- Talks about scaling iPhone OS - the most intuitive OS ever, even a one-year-old baby knows how to use it - to a full-fledged computing device. "This is really the direction computing is going to move in the future."
- iSlate: 10" capacitive screen. Looks like a first-gen iPhone got steamrolled. No thicker than an iPhone. Runs a modified iPhone OS. Runs iPhone apps out of the box, can be scaled to fullscreen or run in "windowed mode" for multitasking. Battery life better than iPhone.
- Spends a good 20 minutes showing off features.
- Has optional 3G wireless. Cost: 599 for model without 3G. 699 for model with 3G if you sign a contract with wireless provider, 999 without. Available in April.
- "One more thing" -- in order to grow both iPhone and iSlate business, expanding to additional carriers. (crowd goes crazy). Announcing partnership with Verizon wireless. iSlate will be available with AT&T or Verizon on launch day. iPhone available with Verizon starting in April.
- Musical guest.
- Apple stock goes down. AT&T stock tanks. Verizon stock goes way up.
- PC World publishes a snarky article about all the things the iSlate can't do and why no one should buy one
A lot of the tech specs seem to already have been leaked, so I'm going to go out on a limb and talk about some of what I think they're going to show off that it does for you:
First and foremost, I strongly suspect that a good portion of the announcement speech will describe some sort of newspaper subscription service, starting with New York Times. I know it's supposed to be a "Kindle Killer," and I'm sure part of the announcement will be that there are already publishing houses on board for eBook delivery through iTunes, but I think Apple wants to ease it into your hands as a daily media device, where users can enjoy the morning paper in its full, graphic glory, just like things used to be. This would dovetail nicely with the fact that newspaper media companies have been wringing their hands for a few years on how to stem the revenue hemorrhage from loss of traditional paper subscribers, and this will be a nice way to recapture some of that market from folks who long ago stopped subscribing to a physical paper service, but will pay for cohesive, graphic content if it's delivered effortlessly and cleanly through a bright, easy media device. It also offers a bit of the nostalgia of getting "the paper" and could bring back a viable subscription model to an industry that needs revenue for the kind of investigative, research-based journalism that's starting to wane in recent years. I think its an innovative idea, and throws newspaper companies a much-needed rope. Expect some kind of overhead picture of the device displaying the New York Times in its full, print glory.
I think we'll hear of the beginnings of some sort of monthly TV subscription service, also delivered through iTunes, as Apple ramps up for some kind of assault on traditional cable service. I don't think all the content is quite there yet, but I think we'll see some sort of trajectory laid out. I think Apple TV is gone, and this device will interface with your TV in some meaningful way, with subscription access to content streaming rather than local storage.
Lastly, I think in terms of how the device will fit into Apple's product line, I'm starting to think that Apple might be poising it to replace the lowest end MacBook, as it'll have all the web/email/entertainment features that most people use those laptops for.
Share your own predictions below, and look for a scorecard after the event. Stay tuned for our liveblog as well!
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