The Apple Tablet – Verizon Contract only? 3G Radio? Brand New Interface?

Thanks Computerworld Blog

In the latest development surrounding the mysterious Apple Tablet/netbook, the unit is purported to be tied to a Verizon contract. The purveyor of this rumour is none other than Scott Moritz, the man who correctly sussed out AT&T’s subsidised iPhone pricing which would later see the handset drop to 199$ in the USA. In Canada, we know contracts; we know that a softer monetary at point-of-sale means the sting of 3 years’ worth of expensive bills. What is the good of this rumour? Basically, it is another hint that the device will house a 3G radio.

Looking a little deeper, Apple have a few charmed patents under their sleeve that may be able to less the sting of a contract.

Slaving the tablet to a carrier is counterintuitive. Fortunately, according to MacRumors, Mr. Moritz’s predictions haven’t the best ratio of hits vs. misses. If the tablet even debuts, there will certainly be people who will buy it at a more expensive price, but no tablet is worth the gouge of a contract.

Onto other matters. Obviously the design pictured above is an artist’s rendering. Apple have done away with the beneficial Express card slot for the comparatively useless SD reader; the bottom half will likely not look like the iPhone 2G; and it can be assumed that Apple will want to surprise its customer base with a new design. But, if the Tablet is indeed a small 9-10 inch touchscreen-based computer, Apple need to apply proper research to make the small design work.

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In an Apple Insider report from 2007, Apple filed a patent which describes an iPod augmented with a rear-mounted touchscreen. Such a design could be useful when coupled with GUI transparencies; the front of the tablet would maintain the keyboard, the majority of direct-input controls and the main screen. The rear of the device would drive a different set of multitouch instructions. Users could use it to jump between windows with gestures, move and click with the the ‘mouse’, perform zooming, panning, and a host of other interface shortcuts.

If and when a first-generation netbook or tablet is released, Apple cannot afford to whimsically debut a product whose uniqueness is incompassed in a glowing apple and OSX. Apple’s surcharge alone is off-putting; and combined with a Verizon contract, insulting to their customer base. Their excursion into what has become familiar and tired territory for other companies needs to be thought out differently.

[via thestreet]

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