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Rumor Has It: Apple Tablet Video Surfaces, Impresses, Not Likely Real


Even though I will warn you, as I was warned, that these videos are almost certainly clever fakes, the Mac addict portion of your brain will likely still experience a pleasurable thrill when you see them. I first saw these over at Cult of Mac, but they’ve been making the rounds, with TechCrunch and Gizmodo also weighing in on the veracity of these movies purporting to show the upcoming Apple (s appl) tablet device in action, running iPhone OS.

Note that this isn’t claiming to depict a production model of the tablet, but rather some kind of development hardware toolkit in action, which is supposedly why the volume controls and other buttons are located on that external hardware controller device and not on the tablet itself. Additional screenshots have been posted to the MacRumors forums, with some showing the “About” panel, mobile Safari in action, etc.

The problem is, if this is supposed to show something that’s actually made by Apple, then it’s very early days indeed. Apps mostly seem to run in their original resolution, so that you end up with what looks like a bunch of different iPhones running simultaneously on the same screen. Assuming the device was anywhere near complete enough to be in the hands of a few lucky developers, I’d also have to say that Apple would likely have done a little more work on its own basic software suite.

Despite the iPhone-emulator feel of the demo, it is undoubtedly cool, and whoever has invested the time and money to come up with this deserves massive kudos for doing so. At the very least, it appears to allow true app multi-tasking, which is something that actually makes the concept of a large-scale iPod touch-type device genuinely appealing. The dock-like app bar at the bottom of the screen is another great idea, since a home screen-style setup on a device this size would probably make for a rather cluttered UI.

There is a very small chance this could be real, and if it is, it raises a lot of questions about how Apple will deal with running iPhone apps on significantly different hardware (the keyboard, for instance, which can’t possibly stay relegated to a small, fixed space), and how third-party developers will deal with the same issues. Really, the whole thing makes me suspect that a straight-up port of iPhone OS for such a device really isn’t the best solution, and that instead a Snow Leopard install that takes some touchscreen cues from 3.0 makes much more sense.

Check out the videos below.

11 Responses to “Rumor Has It: Apple Tablet Video Surfaces, Impresses, Not Likely Real”

  1. @Jago: to me it seems obvious that an eventual Apple tablet will run a specific tablet OS.

    The iPhone OS won’t fit as it is: first, the UI ergonomics won’t fit on a device that’s roughly 4x the size, it’s not only a matter of resolution, it’s a matter of how you hold the device and puts your hand on it; second, the single user model and limited multitasking policies seems a constraint on a device that’s more powerful and not so “personal” like a phone.

    If you think about all the changes that the current iPhone OS would need to fit a tablet, you can easily consider the tablet OS a different OS, just like Mac OS X and iPhone OS are distinct even if they share the same kernel and foundation frameworks.

    Moreover, people seems think that Apple would use one of their existing OS to leverage the existing app base and simplify developers job, but I’m inclined to think that Apple wouldn’t allow existing iPhone (or Mac) apps to run ummodified on the tablet even if it ended up to be technically possible.
    Apple is all about polished user experience, and you can’t have that while forcing app designed for a small phone (or a real Mac) on a device that different.

    The tablet will have a tailor made OS and tailor made apps.

    @Jago again: totally agree on the great usage value of a device like that

  2. Gazoobee

    Seems pretty obvious that it’s a fake as almost everyone on every site carrying the video has already said.

    For one point (about it’s fakey-ness) that I haven’t seen mentioned yet … why are all these mock-ups being shown in the horizontal position, with a dock extending along the long edge?

    If it’s running iPhone OS, or even a variant, it would have greater utility in the portrait orientation. All the “killer” apps on this purported device (web, book, drawing, etc.) and all iPhone apps in general, also use portrait as the default orientation and the keyboard works best in portrait mode as well. In addition, if it’s to succeed at all over other tablets, it has to be useable in the hands, and not by placing it on a table top, which again, requires portrait orientation.

    The only reason for the landscape orientation is if you are multitasking with windows, a la “desktop OS-X,” which any sane person should know will not appear on any tablet.

  3. It seems pretty obvious to me that the tablet device will be running the iPhone OS. I’m sure I read that Apple was making the OS resolution independent, why would they bother if they didn’t have a device with a larger screen to run it on?

    Also imagine the complications of releasing a device that ran OSX but not all the software that normally runs on OSX (Ican’t see the tablet being able to run CS4 or Final Cut Pro etc)

    In terms of usage, I would find this invaluable, a device that has the advantages of a netbook/iPhone (small size, lower price, instant startup, ubiquitious net connection, input and GUI designed for use on the move), without the disadvantages (cheap crappy construction, PC style input scaled down to unusable size, either Windows XP or custom Linux OS/small screen)…

    I’m looking forward to a device that lets me access the internet wherever, with a decent sized screen, that gives me access to thousands of apps, books and games. I’m going to be using mine as a digital sketchbook, media player, gaming device, e-book reader… can’t wait, it’s the future and it’s nearly here :-)

  4. I’ve been in an anti-apple mood for the past few weeks, and thus feel the need to rain on the party. This isn’t really all that impressive. As others have noted, the UI feels slapstick. The dock paradigm and iPhone programs (widgets?) clash. I was expecting a user interface that would combine the best of the two worlds, not staple them together.

    And the effects are kinda cheesy, the fade in and fade out looks a little much like Windows Vista/7 for my comfort. In fact, the first time I watched it, I wondered if it were some kind of special themed version of Windows 7.

    I’m sorry, but I’m having a really hard time figuring out what this type of device would be used for. It’s too big to be comfortably portable, and it’s too small to have any horsepower. Which means that I’m not going to want to attach it to a bigger monitor. And it doesn’t have a keyboard, the nice thing about netbooks is that they are very portable and you can use them to input information. This tablet will primarily be used to consume information, and I just don’t see the use.

  5. WhiteyMcBrown

    I don’t know if it’s real or not, but I think it’s somewhat how Apple should do it. I’m certain they can make a tablet that runs osx and also iPhone applications as self-contained widgets. They’ll have thousands of touch ready apps without giving anyone wind of this thing. As long as they build many of the same sensors on the tablet, this thing could work as the perfect hybrid.

    Eventually, developers with iPhone or OSX experience can write apps that are far more robust and intuitive (with this combination of Macbook power and iPhone touch).

  6. Michael Cheung

    Fake mock-up:
    1) why would Notes restrict it’s own visual space if the tablet DEV kit has the rest of the 10″ display to reveal touch keyboard?
    2) sdk’s would still use mac keyboard and mouse. The finger touching the screen flexes like a typical LCD. If it was a real talet, it would glass like iPhone which of course does flex.
    3) the button presses doesn’t register in the same way iPhone does.

    Therefore its not touch at all, but a preprogrammed movie with finger movement choreographed.

    But still nice to see hype about it. :) don’t see muh of that from Microsoft products :p

  7. I think it’s quite plausible that the tablet will be able to run iPhone applications (although the UI in the above videos doesn’t seem very convincing). I’m actually quite surprised that Apple haven’t released an iPhone app emulator.

  8. The one thing no one is considering is that the tablet, should it exist, *must* run either iPhoneOS or OSX. This video shows a sort of combination of the two, which is really not possible. If Apple made modifications to either the iPhoneOS or OSX SDKs, developers would have gotten wind of it by now. It’s possible Apple created an entirely new OS for this device (though not likely) and will announce a third SDK in the lineup along with the launch of the tablet, but that wouldn’t be very smart, considering the tablet would have to launch without any third-party apps. Fine for the original iPhone, but not for something in the price range and feature range of a laptop.

  9. Pretty cool even if fakes. At this point I guess everybody and their dogs are wishing that it comes true. I’ll buy one as soon as it’s out. I’ve been waiting for so long. Tried a Windows tablet from HP that’s gathering dust in the closet pretty much since I got it.

    The thing that screams “fake” for me in the videos is the interface. It seems strange that the windows are self contained with the interface buttons pretty much like the iPhone views. But then again who knows?

    At this point anything goes as far as rumours.