The dog days of summer (with apologies to our ‘down under’ friends) brings out the heat of rumors, speculation, and the ever present ‘what if’ scenarios which make Mac watching so much fun.
What’s next? That little white, $999 polycarbonate MacBook, the only MacBook, is looking awfully lonely. Does Apple have a new MacBook on the way? It will run OS X. But Mac OS X or iPhone OS X, or both?
Stay with me. It’s not so harebrained as it may sound at first. Most of the rumors this year regarding new Apple products are centered around a tablet device, a thin, wireless, Mac pad with a 10-inch touchscreen.
That’s where the fun speculation begins, especially since the whole idea is filled with competing considerations. For example, Apple sells a huge number of those aforementioned white polycarbonate MacBook models to schools.
Apple doesn’t want to jeopardize that lucrative, bulk sales business with a revolutionary model that may not catch on. On the other hand, Apple has shown a willingness to sacrifice a popular model (the iPod mini comes to mind) for an improved model (iPod nano).
Then again, a less expensive MacBook, say at $799, could cannibalize sales from the more expensive and highly profitable MacBook Pro models, shrouded in their aluminum glory case.
Of course, Apple knows the future is small and thin, and pocketable, shown by their success with the iPhone and iPod touch models (over 40-million sold in two years). On the other hand, it’s unlikely that a MacBook tablet would fit in a pocket.
So, will the new MacBook, or whatever replaces the lonely white MacBook, at the low end of Apple’s portable devices, be a Mac, or a larger iPod touch? The speculation-o-meter is hitting new levels.
Dan is correct. It’s hard to imagine such a device being less powerful than an iPhone or iPod touch. It’s also difficult to believe that it would be as powerful as a MacBook Pro model, with all the bells and whistles such ownership provides.
The Apple tablet device must fit somewhere between the current iPhone/iPod touch area, and the traditional MacBook notebook line. I’m in agreement with Dan and Kate regarding a thin, wireless, WiFi, Bluetooth, and possibly 3G/4G cell phone data option (ala Verizon’s MiFi service).
I don’t like the term tablet because it’s been a relative failure in the Windows PC world. It’ll either be called a MacBook or an iPad (leveraging both of Apple’s device lines), but not tablet anything. That’s just too 2001.
The real question is, will this MacBook cum iPad run Mac OS X and the tens of thousands of Mac applications, and, ostensibly, Windows, or will it run iPhone OS X with tens of thousands of applications, utilities, and games, all from the App Store?
Or, and this is where the tree limb shakes in the breeze and doesn’t feel all that comfortable (though having Intel Inside on a Mac brought frowns, too), will this nifty new sub-$1000 device run both?
Both? As in Mac OS X and iPhone OS X. Technically, it’s doable. Intel Macs already run iPhone OS X for iPhone app developers. If such a tablet device is smaller than a MacBook Air, then it’s ready made for a multi-touch screen.
Now we’re back to those competing features. Multi-touch, as in the Cocoa interface for the iPhone/iPod touch is perfect on a small touch screen. Mac OS X is not, but could be altered to be effective without a keyboard.
Or, and I hear a few cracks on my tree limb, will the tablet device come with an onscreen keyboard, and an optional physical keyboard?
Almost exactly two years ago there was plenty of speculation about an Apple tablet device called iSlate. Slate, as a term, doesn’t work for me any better than tablet.
Would such a device, priced well under $1,000, be an acceptable device for schools? Would it cannibalize Apple’s MacBook Pro line? The iPhone, with all that capability, and tens of thousands of apps, is really an add-on product—for the most part, we don’t ditch our Macs or PCs and use only the iPhone. It’s just not practical.
The iPhone is the ultimate portable. The MacBook substitutes as a desktop Mac with portability built in. Would the MacBook tablet iPad be another add-on device; one which we add to our list of Apple products?
Whatever it is, it will be larger than an iPhone and iPod touch, and probably more powerful and capable, yet it cannot have all the power, features, bells, and whistles of the MacBook Pro line.
Let me recap where my tree limb has taken those of us willing to speculate and prognosticate for Apple’s future devices. The name? iPad or MacBook. The OS? Both Mac OS X and iPhone OS X. Wireless, Bluetooth, USB, video out, no SuperDrive, SD card slot, 10-inch multi touch screen.
Wait. There’s more. On screen, multi-touch keyboard, one click option to run iPhone OS X apps and games in Mac OS X, and an optional keyboard. Both aluminum and plastic models. Optional MiFi model. Priced from $699 to $999.
Is that the best of both worlds? Is that the future of handheld devices? Is that the future MacBook? Sure. Why not? Now, when?