Cringely: Tablet Computer Key To Apple’s Future

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Robert X. Cringely wrote on Friday that Apple has a lot to attend to at MacWorld. Aside from some hardware refreshes, the focus will be a repositioning based on the adavantages of an Apple tablet computer.

Mr. Cringely started with what many observers have been noting all along: Apple needs a new form factor for the Mac Pro, they need to refresh their display line, add options for Blu-ray storage and add H.264 hardware support in their Macs.

More importantly, however, the future of Internet-enabled consumer appliances could be launched, and there are some telltale signals that point to it. Apple has suppressed Flash on the iPhone to make way for its own preferred web application environment and the coming iPhone SDK.

Even more importantly, Mr. Cringely sees Apple wading carefully through a set of Internet standards, using Webkit as the basis, so that when itis ready to spring its tablet on the world, it wonit depend on any technology partners.

"The next logical WebKit product for Apple, it seems to me, is a much larger version of the iPod Touch. It would be Appleis first tablet computer and, while theyill still claim it runs OS X, Apple WONiT call it a Mac," Mr. Cringely wrote.

There were five major reasons Apple might want to jump on the super-sized iPod touch bandwagon and amaze Macworld. "A well-designed tablet could be a great innovation. An SDK for February 2008, not for just iPhone but for multi-touch devices in general, including a newly available iTablet-- that would be stunning," the noted author wrote.

Even more importantly, Mr. Cringely wrote: a "multi-touch tablet would provide a patent-protected interface for a new class of communication and computer device that Microsoft and its hardware partners would be hard-pressed to clone. The question now is does one get a Mac or a PC? There would be no PC analog to a well-designed Mac tablet, so if an iTablet is compelling, the question then becomes more like, when can I get one?"

Mr. Cringely, who has many years experience in the industry, put together a cogent argument why a hand held video tablet device, using multi-touch, connected to the Internet with Safari, and able to play movies, video chat, and even become a Kindle killer, would take Macworld by storm.

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