Over the weekend, a French blog published new “photos” of Apple’s “upcoming” tablet. They looks fishy and pseudo-Appleish at best (and if the tablet isn’t coming until next year, which is now the consensus among the smartest Applewatchers I know, they’re here awfully early). I bring this up here mainly because the image seems to show the device booting into the welcome screen you see when you start a Mac for the first time. In other words, it appears to show…a Mac. Not an oversized iPod Touch.
Until now, almost everyone who’s either reported the tablet as fact or riffed on it as a possibility has assumed it will run the iPhone OS. And that still seems like by far the most likely scenario, since that version of Apple’s OS is optimized for devices that do have touch and don’t have a physical keyboard. But who knows? It’s not unthinkable that Apple might release a Mac tablet, even though it would require the addition of all sorts of touch functionality. If nothing else, OS X already assumes the presence of a high-resolution screen and supports thousands of resolution-independent applications. Unlike the iPhone OS.
Even though a touch-screen Mac would be very different from the pen-based Windows Tablet PC platform that never caught on, it would have one thing in common: the challenge of providing tolerable alphanumeric input without a real keyboard. I’d be surprised and impressed if Apple were to figure that one out.
Oddly enough, I asked Steve Jobs about the possibility of touch-screen Macs myself–on behalf of a Technologizer reader–at last October’s MacBook event, the last Apple product launch that Jobs has presided over to date. And…he didn’t rule the idea out. He just said that Apple had experimented with it and failed to come up with anything pleasing. Which is what he says about any idea up until the day that Apple announces a product based upon it.
Anyhow, here’s the “photo.”