iTablet Concept

Previously we linked to Daring Fireball's John Gruber, who felt Apple was going redefine the personal computer with their (perhaps) upcoming iTablet/iSlate, and now Marco Arment of Tumblr and Instapaper, and John Siracusa of Ars Technica share their thoughts as well.

Arment starts off laying out the pros and cons of the iPhone and MacBook form factors and functions, and the struggle other devices have had trying to fill the in-between with a tablet. As to Apple's take:

I see two possible outcomes: either Apple has come up with a radical new input method for this form-factor that will overcome the fundamental problems that made every other similar device suck, or the Tablet isn’t this form-factor.

(Sure, there’s a third possibility: that Apple is repeating the mistakes of similar products and making their own JooJoo or Foleo. But that’s too unlikely — and stupid — for me to take seriously.)

He predicts the first, a radical new input method.

Siracusa sticks to what is either already known (not much) or can be inferred by the realities of available technology, Apple's huge iTunes customer base, massive iPhone developer pool, and established relationships with content providers.

The Apple tablet will have a color, video-capable touchscreen, about 10 inches diagonal. It will have flash storage, WiFi networking, and few ports and hardware buttons. There will be a software keyboard. Its operating system will be based on the same core as Mac OS X and iPhone OS, and its GUI API will be an evolution of Cocoa Touch. The platform will (eventually) be open to third-party developers. You will be able to buy media and applications right on the device using your existing iTunes account. Some of that media will be new territory for Apple: print media like magazines, newspapers, and books.

His "good bets" include a custom PA Semi chipset, and iTunes LP-like format and SDK for print media content. His "wildcard" is whether or not the first version with have 3G. Either way, he sees no surprises in hardware, but reminds us that software has far fewer limitations.

Take a read of both and let us know if either changes what you expect Apple to do with the iTablet (when and if they release it).