iTablet Rumor du Jour: Steve's Finally Happy With the Giant iPod touch


Where there's this many iTablet rumors, there just has to be an actual product Steve Jobs is finally happy with and will be unveiling to the world at a special Apple event in early 2010, right?

That's what Apple Insider is reporting. The gist is as follows:

  • 10", 3G networked device similar to "a jumbo iPod touch"
  • Guided by Steve Jobs from hospital, home, and work
  • Culmination of at least 6 previous prototypes Jobs vetoed
  • Will launch in first quarter of 2010
  • Verizon may be the carrier
  • Delays caused by lack of satisfaction over Intel Atom power consumption
  • Hence Apple bought PA Semi to build in-house, custom chipset based on ARM

Check out the full article, linked above, for more.

Still and all, even if this is real, Bill Gates has been trying to push the tablet concept for almost a decade with little or no mass market acceptance. Can Apple work another product category miracle, doing for the tablet and e-book form factor what they've done for the MP3 player and smartphone?

Can Apple take the tablet from geek niche to consumer necessity? Or is this doomed to Apple TV "hobby" status from the get go?

Check out our fancy new blog poll, below, and let us know!

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

iTablet Rumor du Jour: Steve's Finally Happy With the Giant iPod touch


For the record, Bill Gates had been pushing a "tablet" computer as part of no less than two separate "pen computing" initiatives prior to TabletPC. It's probably the one bit of true vision that he ever had in his entire career, other of course than being smart enough to rip off apple at every turn.

This is gonna disappoint me for sure. When I think tablet, I think 300 pressure levels, a stylus, professional use. When I think iTablet, I DON'T think Apple is going to use any other screen than capacitive.

The new poll idea is great, but the iPhone version formatting is a huge fail. Thank the almighty Jobs for landscape mode!

I love the voting option too. Curious, for those voting yes, it could be an iPod-level success -- given the rumored specs and dimensions, what would you use it for?
For me, the iPhone such a useful mobile networked device not just because it is a great piece of hardware, but also because it fits in my pocket. I am virtually guaranteed to have this fantastic networked device with me wherever I roam. That is wonderfully liberating.
While that 10 inch iTablet screen would be much nicer for movie watching, once I have to carry an additional bag, I have to decide each time whether or not to take it with me. I doubt movies alone would make me take a tablet out of the house on a daily basis, and I am not sure I would want to pay Verizon (or any carrier) a monthly fee for something I only away from my home wifi every now and then. I can see an iTablet working in a vertical niche, but to succeed generally, it would have to offer something substantial to offset the pocket convenience of the iPhone on the low end and the power and flexibility of a laptop on the high end. What do people see that feature being, that will draw Joe Q Public to a tablet in iPod-ish numbers?

i think it depends at least somewhat on the price.
it should cost more than an iPod touch, but not by too much.
i think if it is somewhere around 600 to 700 dollars or less, with similar performance to the 3GS [albeit with a much larger screen] it could be incredibly popular as a "coffee table top" computing device.

actually more like a coffee table top "browsing device".
fassy asks what this would be good for that could get it selling at ipod like numbers. i think that's a really good question, especially since tablet PCs have been so niche.
i don't actually see a 10 inch iPod as a portable device, so much as something that is ideal to have at home while families are watching TV. it is a laptop replacement really, for people who don't do much with their computers other than email and browsing, for whom sitting on the couch with a laptop is uncomfortable overkill.
people come home from work, and they want to relax. sitting around with a laptop on their legs, or stretching out to type on their laptop on a coffee table is not really relaxing.
so you wake up, use this thing to read news in the morning alongside your breakfast. then you don't bring it to work with you unless you want to read/watch stuff on it at lunch [some people will do this]. you use your iphone at work and on the street and in the car, then you come home and use this thing as a TV watching companion, or you play some games on it, whatever.
it is a "Laptop Replacement" in the same way that laptops used to be marketed as "Desktop Replacements", intended for people who do more browsing than typing - which is probably most people at this point.

It'll do better than the Apple TV (which I own and it's great :) ) but not as well as the iPhone or iPod. We'll see what OS it's running. I wouldn't get our hopes up too high just yet.

The thing that made the iPod such a success is that it was marketable to almost every demographic. Who doesn't want to replace all of their CD's with a tiny little device that fits in your pocket?
The iPhone just stepped up the game a bit. Who doesn't want an all-in-one device that is an iPod, a cell phone, and a computer that fits in your pocket?
This? Who is it going to be marketed to? Is there really a market that believes that laptops aren't convienient enough, but that the iPhone isn't big enough? I'm sure that market exists... but it has to be miniscule, no?

As in tied to a contract with a carrier

It will have wifi as well. Apple isn't stupid.
What worries me is coming out with a NEW 3G device at a time when 4G and LTE are on starting to be deployed. In the network sub-assembly isn't upgradeable that would be a major Fail.

Why would the carrier be Verizon and not AT&T? Assuming exclusivity, that would mean iPhone users who may want this as a laptop-like device would have to now be a Verizon customer too? Silly.

I like many love my iphone and it goes everywhere, I have a blackberry for work and carry both doing 95% of my work stuff on the iphone and just calling and email on the blackberry (IT won't support the iphone, another story). For me I travel a lot and the itablet would replace my notebook as long as it can accomplish hooking to a projector and having the programs I need, all touch works for me. Bring it on baby, but keep the price relative, I'd say $500-$600, depending on memory and all the specs, like to see those to know what were working with and verizon, really? Sprint would be more affordable and verizon, really???

This? Who is it going to be marketed to? Is there really a market that believes that laptops aren’t convienient enough, but that the iPhone isn’t big enough? I’m sure that market exists… but it has to be miniscule, no?
Actually that market isn't as small as you would think. A lot of people I know who have Iphones or Itouches lament that there isn't a larger screen device with the Iphone touch screen and its app capability. I for one find reading a ebook on a Itouch rather cumbersome and I'm not crazy about gaming on it ether. A 10 inch screen tablet though would be wicked in my book.
In my job I'm literally always on the go, I drive a bus for a living and my shifts are split shifts. I usually leave the house in the morning around 4 am and some days I'm not home until after 6. During my downtime a Itablet would be perfect for surfing, blogging, reading, ebooks listening to audio books, gaming, and movies. Heck I could even use the organizer app and keep my appointments in order as well as my different route report times and place of report time. With the Tom Tom app I could use it as GPS guide on routes I've never driven before.
In short although I'm not the white collar professional for my life and work it would come in very handy and I think not unlike me a lot of other average blue collar people would also find it quite useful. This one device would replace my organizer, Ipod, PSP, and the 2 or 3 books I usually carry with me everyday. The backpack I take to work everyday would be so light.
Now if this Itablet could just make me my eggs and bacon in the morning we would truly have a electronics revolution on our hands. :)

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