iTablet: When Will it Ship and What Will it Run?

Mac Touch Concept Rendering

Rumors about the iTablet, the still mythical Apple media/web pad, are just growing stronger and yes, it does remind us of the heady days before the iPhone announcement. But just like the iPhone wasn't a click wheel iPod with a phone dialer bolted on, the iTablet -- if and when it ever ships -- may not just be an iPod touch on hulk serum.

TiPb takes a look, and runs some polls, after the break!

We already asked you your thoughts on the iTablet and Verizon, so now let's look at the possible shipping date.

Rumors seem evenly split between a September and a January release. September would coincide with Apple's traditional iPod (and now iPod touch) event and allow for the typically monstrous holiday sales cycle -- though it might cut into that same monstrous cycle at the expense of the iPod touch. January would be the old Macworld slot, where Apple previously introduced the iPhone in 2007. TiPb sees January as more likely, especially if Apple wants developers to have time post-announcement, pre-release to ramp up third-party software. What do you think?

Next, the OS. There's seems to be 3 major options: Mac OS X, iPhone OS X, or a new Tablet OS X. Mac OS X is the dream option but if Apple goes that way, with a touchscreen tablet, people are going to want to install Photoshop which means it needs a fast processor, lots of room for RAM, and beefy storage as in 64MB+ of solid state. That equals a beefy, MacBook Air style price tag, not the $800 we've heard rumored. iPhone OS X is an option, with an expanded SDK and/or the ability to run iPhone apps as widgets on a bigger screen, but would it truly be able to leverage the potential of a tablet-sized device? Lastly, a custom, in-between Tablet OS X is always possible, but it means a 3rd platform for Apple to maintain and all the overhead that goes with it. Any guesses?

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, ZEN and TECH, MacBreak Weekly. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter,, Google+.

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There are 24 comments. Add yours.

Tom says:

If this doesn't run OSX and have some good processing power etc I would have zero interest. It needs to be a real computer, or else it is useless. I often wish my iphone had a bigger screen but a 10" screen is too big because it really cuts into the portability. I would prefer if it had iphone os to have maybe a 6" screen

jimi says:

It will not run iPhone OS X or Tablet OS X because X means version 10 so only mac's can run OS X !

rozetta says:

iPhone/iPod Touch apps won't translate over to a bigger device like that. Think of how many apps use the accelerometer, etc. Plus the SDK is completely built with those devices in mind (think screen size, performance, accelerometer and so on). It would be stupid to release a third OS to develop for. My guess is regular OSX with some useable software on top of Finder (akin to the way Front Row runs on top of Finder for the remote interface).

The Reptile says:

IMHO, it is going to run iPhone OS to take advantage of the mobile apps already developed and an expanded set of touch based gestures. They will probably use the same iPod storage options - flash or physical disc. Both are small, require little power to run and Apple has plenty of experience with both. Question is what CPU this is running - Intel, ARM or a first gen PA Semi under Apple domination? My guess is the latter but wouldn't be shocked to see another option. I also wonder what Mobile Me additions will come about as a result of this device. Clearly, back up will be important but this may be a good opportunity to launch web-based iLife or iWork apps.

Andres says:

"Tablet OS X is always possible, but it means a 3rd platform for Apple to maintain". Actually there is already at least 3 platforms to maintain - don't foget the custom-made OSX running on Apple TVs.

sting7k says:

I have an iPhone so a tablet or a bigger version is dead to me.

rozetta says:

AFAIK Apple TV is just a Finder replacement, but nobody writes apps for Apple TV, so it's not really extra overhead for anyone but Apple. I was thinking in terms of developers who might want to maintain apps for multiple platforms. As an iPhone developer, I can't honestly see how they would extend the iPhone SDK to support a completely different paradigm to a phone/pda unless, as suggested, the iphone apps run as widgets (but then you're still not going to really be able to play many of the games on a 10" device).

JCK1020 says:

Don't you think that they will release it in September? I mean, they are going to be releasing Snow Leopard then, possibly a music thing, why not a tablet too?

rozetta says:

I'm waiting for them to release in in conjunction with Starcraft II as an amazing interface for an RTS game. Isn't Blizzcon coming up around that time also?

hand me the gun and ask me again says:

I don't think they will use the iphone os but having the iphone apps as widgets would be a cool idea.. it really needs to have a full os to compete with the netbooks, which is it's aim right ?

Al says:

This device has less portability than the iPhone or iPod Touch yet (I and I think most people are assuming) less computing power than a Macbook Pro. What is the point of a device like that? I can't see much of a point or a market to this kind of device. When are you going to need a "middle-ground" device between a laptop and a smartphone?

A.J. says:

Remember the premium app store rumors? Maybe the iTablet could be a chance for the premium app store to come to fruition. Higher quality apps for more funcinality and the itablet would take full advantage of that.

Loz says:

It's got to have a specific tablet interface on top of OSX. Likely to look and feel like the iPhone but with the functionality of full OSX Snow Leopard. Otherwise there's no point for it that I can see.

A.J. says:

Also, has anybody considered cloud computing? APple slightly experimented with it on the browser accessed mobile me. Premium App Store and cloud computing would make a iTablet very possible and very functional as a normal computer.

Stervegas says:

What if the itablet is more focused on apps and mobile gaming? And not so much on being a touchscreen laptop. I think it's a waste of time but what do I know i don't own a billion dollar company.

frog says:

I can't see them launching it at a music event! Mac OSX wouldn't need many major UI changes to be made touch friendly, though third party apps could be an issue.

striatic says:

this will run a stripped down version of OSX, in the same way that iPhone OS is a stripped down version of OS X.
standard mac apps won't be able to run on it, but porting existing apps to it will be easier than porting to the iPhone.
iPhone apps will be able to run on the device as widgets, but only after going through a second stage of approval.
people will mostly use the browser on the device, and games specifically built for it or ported over from other platforms.
unlike the iPod touch, it'll have 3G/4G built in as an option. the device itself won't be carrier exclusive.
the big question is whether it'll have a universally accessible USB port. if it does, i will be buying one. this is a laptop replacement for the things most people use laptops for. the iTablet doesn't need to do everything a laptop can do, but the things it does do it needs to be able to do as well as a laptop can.

Omari James says:

They will make their own OS for it. If they made a new OS for their Mobile OS X , they will make a mobile OS for their Tablet.
I hope they make the screen Matte so people can use PS on it with a stylus as much as they don't believe in styluses.
Also, they might make the Tablet OS a hybrid between the iPhone and OS X systems.
I think this will come out in 2010, there aren't enough rumors and news to really hype this. As much as Apple keeps their business on lock, I don't think they can stop people from finding out.

Corey says:

I wonder if they put the iPhone osx on this then if it will have the limitations of the iPhone such as flash player or the absence of backgrounding apps. I am betting on a custom itablet os which will be able to do more than the iPhone. People won't pay for an 10 inch iPod which has the same os

Modernart says:

Stacks. Quicklook. Coverflow. QuickTime X. Waiting for final touches on 10.5.8. It will be released with the new OSX. Just look at the current OSX. Very functional without a mouse (Fully touch screen enabled). Will fill in the current MacBook line.

Ryan says:

Hopefully it will be a version of OS X. Another version of iPhone OS and Apple is starting to get into the problem developers have with all the different Windows Mobile devices over the years. I think could be Apple's leak to how software will be installed on the tablet.

Gregg says:

Isn't everybody forgetting this thing will finally bring back full page newspapers & magazines with full color layout & display advertising! Ever try to read news on a horizontal view laptop with a keyboard in the way?? Nothing exists today with a color flat portrait display. This will be groundbreaking when you see your grandma watch movies and read her newspaper while in her easy chair. The people that don't think this will be big are stuck into thinking this is some old fashioned laptop or a big iPhone. yeah it's both of those, plus a larger, full color Kindle with (thanks to the iPhone) an awesome touch screen Internet browser that actually works. I dare you to use an eeepc to have grandma use the touchpad and try to accomplish something.

Gregg says:

I also think think that awesome iPhone formatted mobile news sites like will evolve to this new platform. Rather that choosing one paper newspaper or a few ad-laden news apps, sites like this allow you to explore a plethora of news Fast no matter where you are - on the couch, in bed, at a coffee shop, in the car. Soon, e-publishing is going to get big!!

Lester Fera says:

I was wondering if anyone has tried this Sports Handicapping Service? I found his video on Youtube and it turns out the service is sold through clickbank which means it comes with a 60 day money back guarantee. Was inquiring what peoples thoughts were.