TiPb Speculates: Could Apple be Developing a Netbook with Detachable Tablet Display?

Okay, technically one was on Monday, but following up the story on Apple ordering netbook-class panels, Dow Jones (via MacRumors) is following up with the always popular anonymous sources, said to be two people close to the situation:

The mini laptop computers will likely have monitor screens that are between 9.7-inches and 10-inches, one person, who declined to be named, said.

Will this be the 12" Powerbook replacement many have been clamoring for? Will Apple really leave iTablet and large-size iPod touch demanders hanging again? Or will they combine the two products and make a netbook-sized device with a detachable multitouch-screen that works like a tablet?

It would have to move components from the keyboard section to the screen, making the top thicker and the bottom thinner (a la HTC Advantage).

Would it run iPhone OS X, however, or would people demand Mac OS X, paving the way for a really small, highly optimized version of Snow Leopard? It is building in multi-touch and CoreLocation... And could it be combined with the next generation MobileMe for online storage and cloud functionality, synced both to the full-sized Mac and even more portable iPhone...

Either way, TiPb predicts a fun, rumor-filled 2009!

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

TiPb Speculates: Could Apple be Developing a Netbook with Detachable Tablet Display?


I still don't understand the need for a large tablet that is limited to what the iPhone/iPod touch already does.
Either make a tablet to run full OS X so I can use my Adobe Suite, and QuickBooks, and video editing, or don't make it at all. I already have Mac LE in my phone for godsake! :roll:

Ok, so a table PC might be in the works. But where does the detachable panel bit come from?
There are a lot of flippable panels on the market, but detachable is pretty rare, because you are left with the most power hungry part separated from the battery.

Detachable is probably not going to happen. Apple doesn't like too many moving parts on their machines. Too many extra opportunities for failure. The touch screen is more than likely to make up for the lack of a proper multi-touch trackpad.
I would also expect this to have a lean version of Snow Leopard, not an iPhone OS X.

Are you serious? This would cost more than a regular macbook, hardly netbook price range. Leave off the bottom half, they your onto something actually buildable (and profitable) at netbook pricepoints.

It would need to run the full OSX. The iPhone is cool, but I'd want access to my normal applications if I was going to buy something like this.

Hopefully a full or special version of OS X 10.5/.6 called MOBILE OS X. Similar to 'windows Mobile' I would take 3 please !

I use a win mobile device and it's nowhere near Xp or Vista....It's more like Win 3.11. If it's a tablet it should have a full OS with all the trimmings...I'd pay for that! -- if apple start comprising functionality I will let this one pass by. Photoshop on my tabletPC is sweet!!