PDA

View Full Version : Tablet Mac's?


sphereboy
Jan 8, 2003, 08:23 AM
Is it just me, or are the PowerBooks going to become similar to what a Tablet PC does now?..

It looks like it could be so close to that.. with Inkwell and all.

What's your take on these new Tablet PC's? .. could Apple be trying to squeeze one more revision of the PowerBook before we see it converted to a 'swivel' type PowerBook.

Wyrm
Jan 8, 2003, 08:57 AM
The new powerbooks fill the:

1) Desktop replacement (aka PowerMac) -> 17"
2) Standard laptop -> 15"
3) iBook upgrade (G4 iBook) -> 12"

As for a tablet, it is easily within reach and probably would fill the mobile line out better, but since they just basically doubled the # mobile machines, asking for a tablet might caused stomachs to ulcer in the Mac marketing group.

What surprises me is that we didn't see tablet-esque design queues in the new powerbooks - like a stylus and touch screen for example. They don't even look like they are thinking about it. A screen which can be turned around and shut again (so only the screen shows) would have been a tablet! and considering they are pumping how thin these things are, it wouldn't be ergonomically messy to do so. Instead we get backlit keyboard - which is really useless to those who can touch type or have a decent light available... it would have made more sense to put it on the smaller powerbooks since these are more likely to be in a darker location (ie more mobile).

Hopefully they don't miss this one like they missed the CDRW wave.

------------------
Wyrm

Kid Red
Jan 8, 2003, 09:07 AM
Sorry, I just don't see the need for a tablet, and at $2K for one that is smaller then the 12" powerbook, I don't think they will sell many.

sphereboy
Jan 8, 2003, 09:25 AM
Originally posted by Kid Red
Sorry, I just don't see the need for a tablet, and at $2K for one that is smaller then the 12" powerbook, I don't think they will sell many.

I didn't think i needed one. BUT when i went to check them out at the store... they seem like a nice toy.. and there is still room for improvement.

Its nice and fluid.. nice to doodle on.

mangoman
Jan 8, 2003, 11:46 AM
Hey, like I've flapped on about before--if they made a tough little Inkwell-capable tablet thingamabob--one that could stand some abuse, especially--I'd be all over that lil' monster like a fly on stink. Price? Who gives a crap!

Gimme, gimme, gimme.

cubist
Jan 8, 2003, 12:07 PM
The number of lines bugs me.

In 2000, Apple had the following product lines:
iMac
iBook
Powerbook G4 Ti
Power Mac G4 Cube
Power Macintosh (tower)

A total of five lines, each in only one size but with various drive options. Today they have the following product lines:

iMac (G3)
iMac (G4)
eMac
iBook (2 sizes)
Powerbook G4 (3 sizes)
Power Macintosh (tower)

Six lines, but actually NINE fundamentally different products (not counting the iPod). How can they do this?

GeneR
Jan 8, 2003, 12:51 PM
I've been looking forward to a Mac tablet too. But it's kind of difficult to see where the market's going when sales across the computer hardware industry seems to be so poor.

If anyone who has tried a PC tablet is reading this, please help me understand this. I'll probably end up going to a CompUSA to see if there are any to try, but unless it's something that people "can't live without", will we really be seeing the tablet become a standard? Is it too early to tell right now? And for those people who are used to writing on paper and a heavy hand to the pen, are active matrix screens strong enough to take the constant scribbling?

I dunno. Thanks! :confused:

strider42
Jan 8, 2003, 01:20 PM
even MS knows that tablets are a niche market. They aren't aimed at home suers, but rather specialized corporate users. frankly, its not even new. tablets have been around for year and years, just without MS software.

Now, if someone can tell me why you want a tablet, I'd be impressed. I mean, I can see a few cool applications of it, and the tablet PC's ability to take handwritten notes is pretty cool, but not a killer app. Other than that, all I see is something thats much more expensive and less powerful, that is much more time consuming to enter info into (typing is infinitely faster than writing), that isn't as portable as a notebook (doesn't fold up, or if it does, its going to be bulky), and is going to be less durable (screen is exposed all the time, its gonna get scratched). So how is a tablet possibly better than a laptop for most people. If we accept its a niche market, why would apple want to get into a niche market considering they are already a niche company. They obviously would never dominate that market, MS will.

Gus
Jan 8, 2003, 05:32 PM
Originally posted by cubist
The number of lines bugs me.

In 2000, Apple had the following product lines:
iMac
iBook
Powerbook G4 Ti
Power Mac G4 Cube
Power Macintosh (tower)

A total of five lines, each in only one size but with various drive options. Today they have the following product lines:

iMac (G3)
iMac (G4)
eMac
iBook (2 sizes)
Powerbook G4 (3 sizes)
Power Macintosh (tower)

Six lines, but actually NINE fundamentally different products (not counting the iPod). How can they do this?

I understand why this bugs you, but it is not now, nor ever will be as bad as the Performa and old Power Mac lines in the 90s. Sheesh, that was awful. That being said, it IS getting a little cluttered comparitively.

Regards,
Gus

TrishMvhl
Jan 9, 2003, 12:36 AM
<<Now, if someone can tell me why you want a tablet, I'd be impressed.>>

Okay, I'll tell you. I color comics for a living, and to work on a tablet in Photoshop would be heaven. There's alot of tracing and fine detail work that would go much faster if I had the direct contact a tablet would offer. More than the Wacom I use now. Apple is the heavy favorite of graphic designers and artists and they know it. A tablet may not appeal to some of its customers in education or the average home user, but there ARE a large chunk of us in publishing and the arts who are holding out hope for some sort of tablet down the road.

TrishMvhl

GrizzlyHippo
Jan 9, 2003, 01:44 AM
"there ARE a large chunk of us in publishing and the arts who are holding out hope for some sort of tablet down the road."

Ditto. I run my own design company and use G4's and iBooks, and I still have (although I don't use much anymore) some Newton's. I booted up my old Newton 2100 the other day and it reminded me what a different and amazing little machine it is. If Apple were to launch a tablet that had a 12" or 15" screen this would be great for notes in meetings, personal & project management, colouring up artwork, photo re-touching and many other things. I'd also pay almost whatever they asked.

Although the new Powerbook 17" and 12" are great, I'm willing to hold out a bit longer for a tablet. But if they don't launch one by the end of 2003, I'll be in the frame for a PB... oh and a 970 powered Powermac or three.

Come on Apple, you spoiled me with the Newton, please launch something that can finally replace it.

Tom.

medea
Jan 9, 2003, 08:43 AM
Apple will most likely never bring out a tablet, everything they have said about Tablets have pointed to that, such as "we don't know if the PC Tablets will go anywhere..." or "who wants to write all of their emails anyways?"
If anything will would get a swivel screen on the laptop for handwrighting input/recognition, not to mention the design of the iMac is pretty close to being ready for a screen like that, but I keep repeating that so.......

mangoman
Jan 9, 2003, 08:46 AM
Originally posted by GrizzlyHippo

Come on Apple, you spoiled me with the Newton, please launch something that can finally replace it.

YES.

wrylachlan
Jan 9, 2003, 10:12 AM
Originally posted by cubist
The number of lines bugs me.

In 2000, Apple had the following product lines:
iMac
iBook
Powerbook G4 Ti
Power Mac G4 Cube
Power Macintosh (tower)

A total of five lines, each in only one size but with various drive options. Today they have the following product lines:

iMac (G3)
iMac (G4)
eMac
iBook (2 sizes)
Powerbook G4 (3 sizes)
Power Macintosh (tower)

Six lines, but actually NINE fundamentally different products (not counting the iPod). How can they do this?

Granted part of the problem with the many, many, many, many performa models, was that it spread the R&D too thin. But I think more important than that it confused the consumers.

The current line up may have nine models, but there are still only 2 main product lines. The Power line, the i - line, and then there are the nich products, eMac, xServe, but they don't really count since they are targetted niche products and so aren't really confusing to the customer. If I'm a power user I get a Powerbook or PowerMac. If I'm an average user I get an iBook or an iMac.

strider42
Jan 9, 2003, 11:13 AM
Originally posted by TrishMvhl
<<Now, if someone can tell me why you want a tablet, I'd be impressed.>>

Okay, I'll tell you. I color comics for a living, and to work on a tablet in Photoshop would be heaven. There's alot of tracing and fine detail work that would go much faster if I had the direct contact a tablet would offer. More than the Wacom I use now. Apple is the heavy favorite of graphic designers and artists and they know it. A tablet may not appeal to some of its customers in education or the average home user, but there ARE a large chunk of us in publishing and the arts who are holding out hope for some sort of tablet down the road.

TrishMvhl

thats kind of my point though. publishing and design is a niche market, tablets aren't even useful to everyone in such industries, apple is smaller company, and so I fail to see why apple should make a tablet. Would be nice for a few people, yeah. But I don't know that there is enough of a market to justify the expensive to apple.

GrizzlyHippo
Jan 9, 2003, 11:38 AM
Originally posted by strider42


publishing and design is a niche market

Huh? What planet are you on? OK, publishing and design is a niche market in the whole worldwide PC market, but within Apple's market share it is a sizeable proportion (anyone know what percentage?). All the creative professionals I know hanker after an Apple tablet.

I also think such a device would sell well to a lot of executives (I know and work with a few) who cannot type, but need/want a cutting edge, very smart looking laptop thingy.

Just my point of view. Flame away if you need to:D

Tom.

dongmin
Jan 9, 2003, 11:43 AM
Originally posted by TrishMvhl
<<Now, if someone can tell me why you want a tablet, I'd be impressed.>>

Okay, I'll tell you. I color comics for a living, and to work on a tablet in Photoshop would be heaven. There's alot of tracing and fine detail work that would go much faster if I had the direct contact a tablet would offer. More than the Wacom I use now.

Wacom already makes what you're talking about: a lcd screen that's touch-sensitive.

The catch is that it's fairly expensive, $1900 for a 15" version (just for the screen; no computer included). Considering that a good 15" lcd goes for $500 these days, that's a $1400 premium. Ouch!

To make a really good touch-sensitive screen--something that's better than a Palm screen and hence, useful for graphic artists--is expensive and probably not practical for a mass-market tablet.

ELYXR
Jan 9, 2003, 12:20 PM
The Apple MessageSlate was the original (NewtonOS-based) Tablet but was never released. Check it out here:

http://www.normalkid.com/collector/messageslate.html

I hope Apple comes out with another iBook/Newton hybrid like the eMate 300 (http://www.theapplemuseum.com/index.php?id=tam&page=pda&subpage=emate_emate300&skin=pda) which looks an aweful lot like the clamshell iBooks (but cooler... and with a stylus).

I'm glad Inkwell is back... It's too bad this technology was dropped in the first place. It's superior to what Microsoft has... and it was available 5 - 6 years ago!

Blackcat
Jan 9, 2003, 12:37 PM
Everybody seems stuck on the MS "Laplet" with twist-off screen, but I think this is the wrong design - it is being 2 devices and will likely be both badly.

To me a true Tablet is a 2nd computer with a 10" screen at most an no keyboard at all (you can buy Mouseki:)). You use it in meetings, on the bus, on the sofa for doing on-the-fly stuff or killing time.

Meetings - easy notes and presentations
Bus - email and work preparation
Sofa - a DVD or Warcraft III

You do your big FCP edit on your AlBook or PowerMac, but the tablet lets you do an "Eeek!" edit at the clients or email your wife that the train is delayed.

We can think of it as a Newton 2, even if Apple doesn't.

TrishMvhl
Jan 9, 2003, 02:40 PM
Dongmin wrote <<Wacom already makes what you're talking about : a lcd screen that's touch-sensitive.
The catch is that it's fairly expensive, $1900 for a 15" version (just for the screen; no computer included). Considering that a good 15" lcd goes for $500 these days, that's a $1400 premium. Ouch!>>

Yes, expensive and heavy. I tried one out at the NY Macworld this past summer. A bit unwieldy and definitely NOT portable! Not the best resoluton either. But it's a new product for them so I imagine they'll keep refining it.

My ultimate dream machine would be a portable latop/tablet... an all-in-one device. Must have a keyboard - the tablet is no replacement for that. I feel so greedy wanting so many features in something small and light at the same time! Like I said, a dream machine.... :)

TrishMvhl

strider42
Jan 9, 2003, 03:22 PM
Originally posted by GrizzlyHippo


Huh? What planet are you on? OK, publishing and design is a niche market in the whole worldwide PC market, but within Apple's market share it is a sizeable proportion (anyone know what percentage?). All the creative professionals I know hanker after an Apple tablet.

I also think such a device would sell well to a lot of executives (I know and work with a few) who cannot type, but need/want a cutting edge, very smart looking laptop thingy.

Just my point of view. Flame away if you need to:D

Tom.

I'm on the planet that says that even thuogh its relatively sizeable part of apple's market, its still a niche market, and the people within that niche who would really need this is a niche within that niche. I'm sure there are plenty of people within that market that want one, but hwo many people is that really. Does it really justify the cost of all the R&D into a new hardware device and the new software that would be encessary for it. My guess is no, Steve Jobs himself seems to have serious reservations abuot it. I personally feel the tablet PC is a market MS made up to sell more units. tablet PC's still amount to underpowered, over priced, less durable, less portable laptops in my opinion. I think there are better ways to integrate what the design professionals want without going to a tablet (which everyone would complain is too expensive if they were to come out) Thats just my point of view. No one has ever convinced me there is a viable market for these things, particularly for apple.

lmalave
Jan 9, 2003, 04:05 PM
Originally posted by Blackcat
Everybody seems stuck on the MS "Laplet" with twist-off screen, but I think this is the wrong design - it is being 2 devices and will likely be both badly.

To me a true Tablet is a 2nd computer with a 10" screen at most an no keyboard at all (you can buy Mouseki:)). You use it in meetings, on the bus, on the sofa for doing on-the-fly stuff or killing time.

Meetings - easy notes and presentations
Bus - email and work preparation
Sofa - a DVD or Warcraft III

You do your big FCP edit on your AlBook or PowerMac, but the tablet lets you do an "Eeek!" edit at the clients or email your wife that the train is delayed.

We can think of it as a Newton 2, even if Apple doesn't.

Or the best idea I've read, posted on another forum, is all of the above functionality plus the ability to act as a "smart display" for a PowerMac or iMac. Prices are going to have to come way down, though, to well under $1000.

Blackcat
Jan 9, 2003, 04:40 PM
Originally posted by lmalave


Or the best idea I've read, posted on another forum, is all of the above functionality plus the ability to act as a "smart display" for a PowerMac or iMac. Prices are going to have to come way down, though, to well under $1000.

Yes, price is vital. I think $899 at most for

- 9" touch screen
- 600Mhz G3
- 256Mb RAM
- 20Gb disk
- CDROM/DVDROM
- 1 Firewire (including charging)
- 1 USB
- Airport
- Bluetooth
- VGA
- MacOS X

It becomes an ultracompact Mac/Newton, and there's enough scope there for a white one and an 'aluminum' one.

Raiden
Jan 9, 2003, 05:00 PM
If apple were to make a tablet, heres what I think they would do.

Simply put, a powerbook with a screen that when you open it, its a normal powerbook. Then you have the option of swivelling the screen backwards, and closing it. So you basically have a huge 12, 15, or even a 17 inch slate tablet. It would allow apple to say they innovated tablets by making them labtops and tablets at the same time.

Think of a graphic designer on a plane, in painter and photoshop with a powerbook tablet drawing on it. It would be great!!

Blackcat
Jan 9, 2003, 05:15 PM
Originally posted by Raiden
If apple were to make a tablet, heres what I think they would do.

Simply put, a powerbook with a screen that when you open it, its a normal powerbook. Then you have the option of swivelling the screen backwards, and closing it. So you basically have a huge 12, 15, or even a 17 inch slate tablet. It would allow apple to say they innovated tablets by making them labtops and tablets at the same time.


But that's exactly what the other Laplets do. To me the hinge is just begging to twist-off, and it adds to the expense.

No, for Apple to innovate they need to make a true tablet - they need to throw their weight behind pen input.

Hell, they invented it!

lmalave
Jan 9, 2003, 06:08 PM
Originally posted by Raiden
If apple were to make a tablet, heres what I think they would do.

Simply put, a powerbook with a screen that when you open it, its a normal powerbook. Then you have the option of swivelling the screen backwards, and closing it. So you basically have a huge 12, 15, or even a 17 inch slate tablet. It would allow apple to say they innovated tablets by making them labtops and tablets at the same time.

Think of a graphic designer on a plane, in painter and photoshop with a powerbook tablet drawing on it. It would be great!!

Here's your idea in action, as seen in probable $1 Billion dollars worth of marketing material worldwide by now:

http://global.acer.com/products/tablet_pc/tmc100.htm

I'm not sure what Apple could do, but I would have to agree that they have to improve on this design. The best idea I've heard is to build a tablet as a "satellite" to a desktop pc (or larger laptop) that can act as a "smart display", as well as be used as a light-duty standalone device. No keyboard, but if you really needed one for travel you could make the screen stand up like a picture frame, and then use a folding wireless keyboard with built-in trackpad.

kylos
Jan 9, 2003, 09:37 PM
The current crop of MS tablets seem to cut in on the laptop form factor. The idea behind a laptop is portability while still providing desktop capability. Since a tablet only allows a lower level of input, in my opinion it should be sized accordingly, since most users won't need the functionality of a laptop.

Approximately, the current computing form factors are pda, laptop, and desktop. I feel that desktops and laptops have fulfilled their roles quite well, but pda's are just too small to provide any real functionality. A tablet the size of a jr. size legal pad (5" x 8") would provide substantial surface area for note taking and other quick tasks that don't require a full fledged computer. As previously pointed out, a tablet for graphic designers would essentially be for graphic designers alone, since the form factor is too great for the input type. I couldn't stand using a laptop as a tablet because it would simply be too bulky. Only a graphic designer needs a bigger tablet style input device.

A good tablet again should be approx. 5x8 in. Other useful features would include:

write to the edge screen (no bezel)
3/4 in thick or less (this will make it hard to fit the innards, but is necessary for the form factor)
changeable orientation

Other details are a matter of implementation, but I'm presenting these ideas to describe a more usable form factor. laptop sized tablets and pdas are just impractical.