Ever since Apple’s Newton MessagePad device was discontinued Apple fans have been speculating about a return to hand-held computing by Apple. The iPhone partially answered their prayers but it ultimately no match for the decade old Newton in terms of PIM (Personal Information Management) and handwriting recognition.
The iPhone did however introduce exciting new technologies like multi-touch input, excellent color, 3D graphics and sound and video, as well as wireless connectivity and true web browsing. Ever since Apple fans have been hungering for a combination of the strengths of the iPhone and the Newton.
Microsoft for its part has been a consistent and bit failed advocate of tablet computing. The Tablet PC initiative, Bill gates’ own brain-child, has failed to make any inroads into the market, though with Microsoft’s own new multi-touch technology and other new projects like the Zune HD and it’s own rumored tablet projects underway, all of that might change.
One use for tablet devices has always been to replace paper books and sheets in every day life to some extent. The Amazon Kindle e-Book reader has gone someway towards realizing that vision.
It should be no wonder then, that Apple seems to be returning to the tablet computing space in a big way and is rumored to release a new device in early 2010. According to sources, the Taiwanese firm Foxconn is to manufacture the new Apple tablet computer. The device is rumored to even have a bright OLED screen. This contrasts strongly with the Kindle’s reflective e-ink screen which is best visible in brightly lit conditions, even direct sunlight. An Apple OLED screen by comparison is completely emmissive and would be best viewed indoors or relatively low light conditions. However an OLED screen can give much brighter colors and contrast than an LCD in most conditions.
Apple’s tablet device supposedly not only has multi-touch technology, but it has a much bigger screen than the iPhone and it may be focused on media and e-books and e-Zines rather than PIM and general computing. The device will also provide web browsing and “light communications” according to sources. The publishing industry is supposedly heavily involved with the project as a way to compete in the digital era and revive its fortunes. The new device may be to books and magazines what the iPod and iTunes were to music then.
The device is rumored to have an approximately 10 inch screen and an ARM processor either by P.A Semi, Apple’s own in-house chip development team. Earlier versions that were canceled by Steve Jobs tried to use the Power-PC processor but were simply too power hungry and weak in terms of graphical capability. The device will also have 3G network connectivity and possibly Wi-Fi as well. The tablet will have a resolution around the 720p range, using a variant of the PowerVR graphics architecture used in the iPhones and will run on the iPhone OS variant of Mac OS X.
Expect to hear more as the device nears completion.