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Apple tablet in development since 2003, say sources

updated 11:45 am EDT, Mon October 5, 2009

Questions of practicality impede progress

Apple has been working on a rumored tablet computer since at least 2003, claims a group of the company's former workers. Although a final tablet may only be released in early 2010, 2003 is said to have seen the creation of a PowerPC-based prototype, one which would have been impractical for anyone to use. "It couldn't be built," says Joshua Strickland, a former Apple engineer. "The battery life wasn't long enough, the graphics performance was not enough to do anything and the components themselves cost more than $500."

A former executive explains that tablet attempts have also faced the criticism of CEO Steve Jobs, who has repeatedly questioned what use a tablet would have. Several tablet projects are said to have been halted for this reason. Jobs is now believed to be heavily involved in development however, a move which could be inspired by the popularity of the iPhone and iPod touch, which have demonstrated the usefulness of mobile technology. Some reports say the completed tablet will be able run App Store titles, with little to no modification necessary.

Jobs may be further motivated by the success of Windows- and Linux-based netbooks, an area in which Apple is currently unable to compete. A tablet could also supplant devices like the Amazon Kindle, which concentrates primarily on e-books, devoting only minor attention to tasks like web browsing.

by MacNN Staff





  1. nat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    he was probably right

    in 2003. From everything I've read this won't be like a "netbook" but what tomorrow's newspapers, magazines, text books will be like. Potentially another game changer.

  1. lamewing

    Joined: Dec 1969


    What use would it have?

    1. Media playback
    2. Internet access
    3. Stylus input and handwriting recognition - A GODSEND for inputting Japanese/Chinese/Korean.
    4. With a simple stand and keyboard/mouse it would act just like a standard computer.
    5. If it has a Wacom digitizer, artists would find many uses for the tablet, as they do now for the Modbook.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: he was probably right

    in 2003.

    Of course he was right. Joshua Strickland was on the team, he should know what could and couldn't be done.

    From everything I've read this won't be like a "netbook" but what tomorrow's newspapers, magazines, text books will be like. Potentially another game changer.

    Until newspapers stop giving away their content for free on the web, no one is going to subscribe to a digital version. h***, when one recently said they were going to a paid model, everyone here mocked them and said how they'd just switch to another outlet.

    And I doubt text books will ever go digital (if they ever were, they would have by now, or do you think reading them on a laptop or existing table is completely unusable, but a Mac tablet will make everything perfect!). They're too much a cash cow for the authors (who, more often than not, are the professors teaching the class you need them for in the first place), publishing houses, and the scam artist's known as the 'used book' industry.

  1. nat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    paid version

    who said anything about a paid version? besides you, of course.

    so you doubt it. well then, must be set in stone. we'll see.

    but of course, none of that means anything. all that babbling was just to get your mac/apple/jobs/and now tablet digs in.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: paid version

    Then what is all the talk about "talking to newspapers" about if they aren't going to charge.

    You really think Apple's going to go the 'free' route on content? Please....

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