The UK independent reports Apple has long been rumored to have its developers working on a handheld touchscreen computer known in the industry as “the tablet”. Media execs hope the product will herald a new era, acting as a single device to download books, magazines and newspapers and watch streaming video. Should make Kindle and Kindle 2 look pretty simple, from what we’ve heard.
Apple’s shares have recently soared to an all-time high as a result of speculation that the tablet, which many believe will be called the iSlate, will be the next device off Apple’s production line.
Apple has never acknowledged that such a device exists, but the company has booked the Yerba Buena Centre for the Arts in San Francisco to make a “major product announcement” for Jan. 26. It is the same location where Steven Jobs made his return earlier this year after recovering from a liver transplant.
Said the story: “Gossip about the device itself has varied wildly from talk of a 7-in screen to something not much larger than the existing iPod Touch…The one rumor that has gathered significant traction is its name. MacRumours.com revealed that Apple had bought the rights to the iSlate.com domain name.”
The idea of a tablet computer is not new, but it has faced significant technical hurdles. Developers have struggled with the conundrum of how to give it enough battery power to run a full-color screen with constant internet access that can stream movies and serve other computing needs. “The truth is that most of us don’t understand the allure of a tablet computer because they’ve all sucked up until now,” said the technology writer MG Siegler on the TechCrunch blog.
Siegler added: “The mouse and keyboard will one day die and everything will be touch and gesture based. We’ll be living in a future with Minority Report, Star Trek and Avatar interactive technology. It will happen and the tablet computer is the latest, and perhaps most important step in a line of technology taking us there.”
Siegler said if the tablet succeeds “it will likely redefine the role of computing in our lives just as the iPhone has. That’s exciting. And that’s why we care so much about it”.