Why the Apple Tablet Rumors Still Won't Go Away

Apple's mythical tablet computer is the stuff of gadget blogger wet dreams. We've covered the rumored device many times, and Chris Dannen has even explored why they keep resurfacing. But many more rumors keep popping up. Why, why, and why?

The newest whispers are that Wintek has been independently confirmed as the supplier for an Apple "e-book form factor netbook product," which reads as a tablet-PC with a display somewhere in the 9-10 inches range. Meanwhile Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster has been at it again, offering a fairly detailed prediction about the device. According to Munster, the project's been delayed until early 2010, and it'll run a third version of OS X that's halfway between the iPhone and Apple's full operating system. He expects it to be in the $500 to $700 price range.

Meanwhile, Micheal Arrington over at TechCrunch is taking time off from promoting his own pseudo-netbook to say that there's evidence Apple's diverted "significant" personnel from the iPhone and MacBook teams to work on the project, that the device is "very real" and will be "particularly useful for gaming."

Apple TabletSo, add in the tidbits of data from earlier rumors, and a fairly complete picture of a device that's not quite a netbook is beginning to take shape--which makes sense, as Apple's own Steve Jobs and Tim Cook have rubbished those devices many times.

But that's assuming there's actually a fire behind all this smoke. 

So why do these rumors keep popping up? Because Apple's iPhone is king of the smartphone. Because every man and, sometimes, his dog has an iPod and loves it. Because even Microsoft's own ad campaign lambasts Apple's products as being terribly cool, ignorant of the irony involved in that argument. And because the netbook revolution took everyone by surprise: Everyone now knows about the little machines, but they're small, inefficient, often user-unfriendly and only rarely well-designed. Consequently, everyone's imagining what a wonderfully designed little device Apple's Jonathan Ive would cook up, married to an iPhonesque App Store, and hitting the Kindle where it hurts. 

That's a very potent mix, and it's why the rumors keep swirling. I hope they're right--an Apple-inspired mini tablet PC would likely be a fabulous thing. If, and only if, Apple gets its pricing right: Low, please Apple? Think lower.

[via SiliconAlleyInsider, Digitimes, Techcrunch]

Related: Why Won't the Apple Tablet Rumors Go Away?
Related: Speculation Increases That ARM-Powered Apple Netbook is On the Way
Related: Is The Netbook Phenomenon Over? In a Way, Yes

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5 Comments

  • Martijn Sjoorda

    How that comment came to be Ed Cheng's is interesting. I posted it and now it's his? Does Ed now have my Facebook logon data? Martijn

  • Kit Eaton

    @Ed. I'm with you there Ed--it's strange policy by Apple. My only thought is that their analysts have done the math and decided there's no real margin in the tablet business...yet.

  • Ed Cheng

    I have always said that I would drop my Windows tablet machine in a heartbeat if they'd put a similar Apple product on the market. And I don't get why they haven't. The creative class are Apple's natural customer base. They doodle, they draw, they present while drawing... and there's no Apple product that caters for that.

  • Kit Eaton

    @Kevin. I know, I know. That PC/Mac value-versus-cost debate can be argued many ways too, with plusses on both sides. But I'd still love Apple to get the pricing right if they ever make this thing.