27th of January, for a German not a simple date, it marks the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp in 1945. This year, US president Obama will send out a state of the union address that day. But we should expect a tech event to dominate the headlines: Apple today has sent out invites to the press to „join us for an invitation-only event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco on January 27 at 10:00a.m” as FoxNews.com reports. That’s 19.00 German time next week’s Wednesday.
“Come see our latest creation”
Fox also claims to have spoken with an Apple source (before he would have received the invitation) saying that we should expect an Apple Tablet, a new (probably multitouch enabled) iLife 2010 and iPhone 4 (a new OS probably for the current and next iPhones and the Apple tablet).
I’d say we can expect several announcements around the Apple tablet (iSlate):
- applications for paid books (Kindle on more than just steroids), multimedia and news content, not being simple apps to repackage the same stuff you can already get for free today with your browser (will do for media what iTunes did for music); think subscription models with which rebated devices come;
- stunning games with a whole new way of control, think sensor, think touch, tink big screen;
- new gestures to control the device (imagine how you turn a page in a paper book), to be creative;
- oh, and it’ll be so light weight.
When will we see a MacTablet? Apart of decent hardware you need ink enabled OS and applications, decent handwriting recognition and a killer app.
MacGadget links to an Apple job description in which Cupertino searches for a „Handwriting Recognition Engineer“ who shall be „responsible for advancing Apple’s handwriting recognition technology for Mac OS X“.
The technology „may extend beyond Mac OS X to other applications and the iPhone“.
Some months ago it was reported that Asus is helping Apple to create a Mac Tablet. I blogged about that here but have not heard any news since then.
The news would be really exciting if Apple is seeking for more than just one new engineer for their Handwriting Recognition team. With the iPhone you have OS X and a touch screen. Adding a pen it would be easy e.g. to save short notes or new contacts hand written, convert them to text and synch with your Mac. But that alone wouldn’t enable all the great things you can do with a Tablet PC. Nevertheless this is another step in the right direction :)
[Update 04.01.2008, 00:59]
I should have mentioned that Axiotron has already modded a MacBook into a TabletMac called Axiotron Modbook. Price is high but OK price, esp. regarding the current Euro/Dollar relation (around 1800 Euro including 2.4 GHz CPU, 250 HD and 4 GB RAM). In a forum thread several users report that they can use ink under Parallels (or Fusion) in virtualized Windows XP and Vista after installing the Wacom driver and of course under Boot Camp Windows. Downside: Weight of 2.5 kg (5.5 pounds). No European resellers yet, but the US shop ships worldwide.