Apple is said to be announcing the release of a tablet computer at the end of January, and likely shipping the tablet in the early Spring. Rumored to be called the iSlate, the tablet has been described as being more than just an enlarged iPhone, combining the size of a netbook, the power of a computer, the text clarity of an eBook reader, and the ease of use of an iPhone/iPod touch. The iSlate rumors have excited gadget, computer, and business enthusiasts leading to wild speculation and conclusions based on research and leaked information.
There is a wide range of speculation about what the iSlate will look like and include. Speculation has varied on size – definitely larger than an iPhone and smaller than a MacBook, but rumors have placed the screen between 7 and 11 inches when measured diagonally. Apple created two versions of its smaller touch-sensitive product, the iPod Touch and iPhone, and it is likely that the iSlate will also have a 3G option and one without. Additionally, some have theorized that the tablet will have a screen that is touch sensitive, and will give a tactile response when using it as a keyboard.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs quashed the idea of a tablet computer several years ago, before the iPhone was announced. However, with new advances in processor power and speed, as well as improvements in battery life and touchscreen technology, the tablet has many more potential uses. Tablet computers take up less space than laptops or netbooks, as the keyboard is eliminated. Following on the heels of Amazon’s success with the Kindle, the iSlate will make it easy for users to read a newspaper, magazine, or ebook anywhere. Unlike the Kindle, however, when the reader is done with the ebook the iSlate could next be used for learning the piano, emailing, writing a report, or sketching.
Rumors are currently agreeing about the probable cost of the iSlate – between $700 and $1,000. This would be higher than the cost of a netbook or smartphone, but lower than the cost of a MacBook. Apple’s products are often at the higher end of the price range for computers and electronics, but consumers have shown that they will pay more for the reliability and ease of use of the iPhone, iPod, and MacBook. If the current level of interest in the iSlate continues or increases, Apple will have a strong demand for its upcoming tablet release.
Apple has yet to release any official photographs, schematics, or technical specifications, so all of the information gathered thus far about the rumored iSlate could be inaccurate or incomplete. However, the information leaked thus far has come from reliable enough sources to be quoted in mainstream media and well-known business publications. Until the announcement and release, there will be many more rumors to read and leads to research.