Thursday, August 20, 2009

Apple Tablet!

I have an old college buddy that went to work for Apple shortly after graduating from the Computer Science program we were in together. A few weeks ago he left on less than friendly terms. We recently engaged in a conversation about a project he had been working on prior to his departure. He agreed to tell me a few things about the project, as long as I didn’t reveal his name or exactly when he left the company.

The device seems to match up with what tech journalists are calling the Apple Tablet, or as it is being referred to recently, the Apple iPad. Here’s some of what he has told me:

  • Dimensions: 11.75” x 8.5”, only 1/2” thin. (About the same thickness as the 2G iPod Touch.)
  • Weight: 24.1 oz.
  • Runs neither the desktop version of OS X, nor the iPhone version; it uses a brand-new, previously unseen operating system.
  • Supports both multi-touch finger and pen interfaces.
  • Supports multitasking via a new multi-page, multi-tab interface.
  • Every application supports both vertical (portrait) and horizontal (landscape) orientations.
  • Has an innovative visual search technology, said to be based on Cover Flow.
  • Uses a new edge-to-edge “unbreakable” display technology that is more closely related to the “E Ink” display of the Amazon Kindle than LCD or OLED, but with color. The display does not use any power to maintain state, much like the Kindle.
  • eBook capabilities are set to be competitive with the Kindle.
  • When using the pen, it features a technology that allows both text and graphics to be included anywhere in any document.
  • Incredible battery life.
  • It’s wireless.
  • It is supposed to be very easy to share data with colleagues.
  • Made of all recyclable materials.
  • Supports standard handwriting as well as a new iShorthand that is supposed to be fast enough to enter text at dictation speeds.
  • Unlike the iPhone, applications do not need to go through an approval process to be used on the device.
  • Multiple varieties will be available.
  • Comes in multiple colors, but it seems white will be the most common. Optional binder-style case available.
  • Targets two demographics: college students with educational discounts, and business users with bulk licensing.

[He gave me one blurry photo, which is available here, at least for now…]

It sounds intriguing, but we’ll have to wait and see. I’m glad they have learned a few lessons from the iPhone, with applications not being subject to an approval process, and the “unbreakable” display.

At this point he told me that product release is “imminent.”

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