Apple has long been rumoured to be launching an Apple tablet PC, variously called the Apple iSlate, Apple iTablet, Apple Slate or Mactablet.
Now, the US-based iPhone maker has revealed it is planning a launch event for its new creation on January 27, 2010 – and Apple fans, blogs and media sites are buzzing with rumours about the potential for an Apple tablet device.
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Which? has rounded up the top ten Apple tablet PC rumours making the rounds, including what the Apple tablet might look like, how much the tablet might cost, and whether it might be called an Apple Slate, Apple Tablet or even Apple iTablet.
Which? will be covering the Apple event live on January 27, with rumours also predicting the launch of Apple iPhone 4.0 software, new touch-screen Apple iMacs, and a special touch-screen edition of Apple iWork made for an Apple tablet PC.
1. Apple iTablet, iSlate or Mactablet?
Even the name of the rumoured Apple tablet PC has caused a media guessing game. Popular guesses – and only Apple knows what it would call any Apple tablet device that it planned – include the Apple iTablet, the Apple iSlate and even the Apple iPad.
Interestingly, Apple has scooped up the rights to the islate.com website address, and the number of searches for the term ‘Apple Tablet’ is growing online. Some pundits reckon the Apple iTablet name is wide of the mark, with other predictions including the Apple Mactablet, the Apple Tabletmac, and – according to Gizmodo – it could be the Apple Slate.
2. What would an Apple tablet PC look like?
If Apple does launch an Apple tablet PC, then what it looks like seems to be anyone’s guess. Some experts are predicting an Apple tablet would look like an overgrown Apple iPod Touch or Apple iPhone. Screen sizes range from a 7-inch iPod Touch tablet so that you could throw it onto a bag, through 9-inches and even a 10-inch version.
Even the type of screen for an Apple tablet has got pundits guessing. While most predict a colour LCD screen, some experts reckon it could adopt a colour ebook-style screen.
An Apple tablet PC running a colour ebook screen such as that developed by Pixel Qi would make headlines, taking on products such as the Amazon Kindle.
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However, most rumours around an Apple tablet device reckon a more advanced AMOLED screen for the iTablet is out of the question, with an AMOLED iTablet costing too much to create.
3. Apple iTablet vs Apple iPhone
Would an Apple Tablet device run an enhanced version of the Apple iPhone operating system – giving instant access to Apple’s App store with over 100,000 applications?
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Certainly, industry insiders have called any Apple tablet PC an ‘iPhone on steroids’ while others reckon that the Apple iTablet would run a full-blown version of Apple’s Mac OS X Snow Leopard operating system, giving access to a full suite of software such as Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop Elements and Apple iWork.
4. Using the Apple iTablet
What an Apple Tablet PC could do is almost as important as how an Apple Tablet would look. Rumours peg it capable of everything from being an ebook reader in the style of the Amazon Kindle, to being able to access magazines and newspapers on the go and even word processing with the iTablet. Certainly, the Apple iTablet would need to deliver high-definition video for movies on the move, as well as internet browsing and even video conferencing.
Apple’s iPhone redefined the 3G mobile smartphone market, and Amazon’s Kindle includes a free always-on 3G wireless connection. A rumoured Apple iTablet that has fast mobile broadband, as well as GPS, would create an all-in-one device that offers computing and internet access with a large screen for entertainment.
5. Best guess Apple tablet PC price
Pricing speculation is rampant – with many media outlets predicting a range of prices for an Apple Tablet. Popular speculative prices start with a cheap $500 Apple tablet PC making an assault on the market dominated by netbooks such as Sony, Samsung and Asus netbooks. Other reports peg the Apple Tablet at $800 all the way up to $1,000 – around £800.
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6. Inside an Apple tablet PC
Most rumours have been centred around the Apple tablet’s screen size and operating software. But network connectivity also plays a part. Would an Apple slate or tablet PC have 3G mobile internet, and would it run the Intel Atom chip which is popular for powering cheap netbooks? Apple recently purchased PA Semi, a chip maker specialising in small, low-power chips that would fit naturally in an Apple Tablet device.
7. Wireless Apple iTablet?
There has been some speculation around whether Apple would include 3G in an Apple tablet PC not just as a standard wireless connection, but that it could be an always-on free service. Others are looking to the Apple tablet PC to herald a new dawn of wireless connectivity, with 4G very high speed mobile internet mooted.
8.When can I buy an Apple tablet PC?
Only Apple would know for sure, but it does have an event planned for January 27, which is titled ‘Come see our latest creation’. If it is an Apple tablet PC, then it could be on sale immediately, or anywhere up to six months later. Rumours pencil an Apple tablet PC release for February 2010, with others later in March.
9. Will the Apple iTablet, or iSlate, succeed?
Following the success of the iPhone, you wouldn’t bet against the US consumer electronics giant. However, Apple has had its share of flops, including the Apple Cube, its Apple Pippin games console, and – oddly enough – its Apple Newton digital PDA device that was much like an early Apple iTablet-style device. Success seems to be Apple’s, according to the media, however, with the likes of CNN reporting its potential for being a game changer.
10. A new iPhone OS?
Apple could use the event to release a new version of the iPhone operating system, potentially called iPhone OS 4.0. It’s rumoured to feature Apple tablet PC functionality, which is why it could launch alongside any Apple iTablet device.
Apple iTablet launch liveblog
Follow all the action, with photos and videos live from the Apple event on January 27, as Which? partners with the Consumer Reports Electronics blog – our colleagues in the US. Register your details below to be reminded before the live blog begins.
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