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The Pulpit
Pulpit Comments
December 07, 2007 -- Kindling
Status: [CLOSED]
Dhiraj Sehgal | Dec 07, 2007 | 1:52PM

Mozilla passed Acid2 before (I believe) webkit. I believe Apple originally embraced WebKit/KHTML because of its light weight and native widget support. Still control is probably important in that mix as the Mozilla foundation is probably more difficult to browbeat than the K folks (volk?)

WRT Kindle, I believe this is a story in search of an audience. With or without competition, eReaders are a category in search of an audience. IMHO, they will never play to anything more than a niche audience -and a small one at that.

jake | Dec 07, 2007 | 1:56PM

This is exactly the kind of device I am waiting for. Apple does interfaces better than anyone else. Apple does design better than anyone else.

A tablet with the usability of the iphone/itouch but a larger form factor would be a tremendously usable device, especially as more applications get developed for it.

It'd be the newton reborn, but done right.

pdwalker | Dec 07, 2007 | 1:56PM

e-book readers, like Kindle, that are based on e-ink are nice because they are right-contrast, long-battery-life devices. While the iTablet might be the right contrast, they won't have the same battery life.

Chad | Dec 07, 2007 | 2:02PM

as jake said:

"WRT Kindle, I believe this is a story in search of an audience. With or without competition, eReaders are a category in search of an audience. IMHO, they will never play to anything more than a niche audience -and a small one at that."

I think you're right, reading books may not be a killer app, and the audience for an ebook may only be a niche. How much time is spent surfing the web vs reading books, or listening to your ipod vs reading books... And if reading books is not a killer app, why does the app need such a dedicated and highly customized device like the Kindle? How can amazon justify selling Kindles if it's only a niche device??

Perhaps that's where a multi-function device would thrive. Being able to buy and read ebooks is nice, but paying $400 for that plus marginal extra functionality isn't worth it. $500 or $600 for a remote display to my computer, video playback device, digital picture frame, easy to use web browser device, AND ebook reader... that might actually be compelling. Granted who knows what an iTablet would end up supporting!

jason | Dec 07, 2007 | 2:08PM

Unless Apple can forge a relationship with the publishers—the content providers—a killer device won't be enough. This is where Amazon has a strategic advantage.

Michael Hyatt | Dec 07, 2007 | 2:19PM

iPad?

DC | Dec 07, 2007 | 2:26PM

What do you folks think would be the dimensions of this device? I would like to see something with the screen size of say a portable DVD player.

Eugene King | Dec 07, 2007 | 2:26PM

C'mon, Opera 9.2+ can render the acid2 test. Let's do some research before we overlook other browsers to be sensational.

Sam | Dec 07, 2007 | 2:35PM

Another thing missing on my wish list from Apple is reliable batteries and power adapters. If anyone else but Apple was making such miserable excuses, I would wonder how long people would take them seriously as a company.

I just bought a MacBook Pro and I like it. But I can't help wonder when the AC adapter will die, just like my AC adapter died on every Apple product I have purchased.

Then there is the battery issue. How come my MacBook Pro gets 2 hours of battery life? My iBooks got 4 hours. Are there third party alternatives? Battery issues have affected every Apple product I have owned and there is not many third party alternatives.

I don't mean to attack Apple, I really do like their products. But the reason I don't own the Apple iPhone is the battery. I don't wish to pay Apple $130 a year for a battery replacement. Until it's resolved, I'm sticking with Nokia.

Wally! | Dec 07, 2007 | 2:35PM

I recently brought home a Samsung Q1 from work (purchased to evaluation) to play around with. It's a small, Windows XP Tablet PC based device.

I could imagine Apple making a thinner, more portable version of the same thing with multi-touch ability. However, from playing with the device here's the rub:

Without a keyboard it's a pain in the butt to do any text entry. Writing the info with the stylus is just not realistic. Maybe they'll come up with a viable method for an onscreen keyboard, but typing for long periods of time isn't seem realistic with your thumbs.

Supporting portable external bluetooth "foldup" keyboard would be a great compromise for a larger than iPhone, but smaller than MacBook device. But, in the end, if I'm going to be carrying around something that won't fit in my pocket (thus will be carried in a bag) I might as well carry MacBook. These are going to get thinner and lighter (in part because they will be based on Flash SSD technology as prices continue to drop [so the rumors go]). If they'd design one in a similar style to existing Table PC's with the swivel screens that twist to cover the keyboards PLUS have support for Multitouch apps, I'd fall all over myself to get one!

However, I think the biggest threat for Apple is how it handles it losing it's underdog status in the computer realm. As it gains popularity, it's identity as the "upholder of better design ideals" will come under greater scrutiny.

andy | Dec 07, 2007 | 2:43PM

Please forgive the horrible grammar of the previous post. There's a reason a comment preview is provided, just wished I'd used it.

andy | Dec 07, 2007 | 2:47PM

easy... iPad

vruz | Dec 07, 2007 | 2:47PM

I can't believe what Amazon is charging for its Kindle, too damn much. Who's going to shell out $400.00 for an e-book reader?

Dutch | Dec 07, 2007 | 2:50PM

So, given that Google's Android is an open platform for mobile computing in the same niche, how do you see that fitting in ? Do you see Android being the 'poor man's iphone' (much as windows is to os X) or some other relationship ?

ivar | Dec 07, 2007 | 2:52PM

Seems to me that Apple already has a template for the iTablet - the iMac. Just put a battery in there, make the stand a charging dock and add a touch screen.

The mouse and keyboard could be plugged into the stand or be bluetooth.

The only downside to this is the styling, they might want to go with something more like the iPhone, with the silver rounded bevel, so they might decide to do that to the whole iMac line.

Julian D | Dec 07, 2007 | 2:58PM

The Kindle is going to kill itself off. Those who like e-books think it is horrible design; those who don't like e-books won't be convinced by its horrible design.

Ross Presser | Dec 07, 2007 | 2:59PM

There needs to be a compelling reason for a new computing device, especially using a tablet form factor. What can I do on a tablet that I can't do on a laptop? Am I supposed to hold the thing with one hand? Now I only have one hand to move things around, type, etc. If it's got a bigger display than an iPhone/Touch-sized device, then it will require more power. That means either a bigger battery (bulk) or shorter life (limited use time).

What was successful with the iPod was the killer app that differentiated it from other products: music that was easy to play and highly portable. What is the "killer app" that will make a $1000 or greater tablet compelling, and allow consumers to overlook the inherent negatives?

Any company can design a tablet, and while very few can design one as elegantly as Apple, only Apple can create the application that makes their tablet indispensable. That's what the real surprise will be, if there is a tablet announcement at Macworld.

Sidd | Dec 07, 2007 | 3:00PM

I find it hard to believe that WinXP Tablet Edition or Vista with tablet extensions would not be a competitor to this? They probably have some vertical market tapped for usage... I'm an apple guy but i can see the other side too. And who's to say AT&T let the cat out of the bag w/ a 3G iPhone -- didn't Jobs himself sort of confirm this sometime in 2007 that there would be one next year.

petieg | Dec 07, 2007 | 3:06PM

I hope you're right, Steve. My main thought when playing with a Touch was "Wish the screen were bigger!"

The original Star Trek communicator was the inspiration behind all of today's flip-type mobile phones. And the steno-pad sized devices seen in the later generation series are the inspiration for where I hope Apple is going.

I'm liking the Nokia N800 that I recently bought on sale for $200. Battery life, apps and features are about right. But the screen is too small and lacks the Touch's "Wow" factor.

Battery life will be key. I want to be able to use the thing all day without worrying about it dying.

Tim | Dec 07, 2007 | 3:06PM

E-books may be a niche. After all, regular books are a nich already. But you still have a lucrative, highly devoted market.

Does the new intel silverthorne fit into the ipad? It looks to be extremely low power for a full out processor.

Will Cochran | Dec 07, 2007 | 3:07PM

Nice point regarding Apple's preference for AJAX. If that's the case then they're going to have to loosen control of the Quicktime player because people are really going to want their open/easy video playback and Flash is winning that battle.

Good luck with the moon shot.

Scott Fitchet | Dec 07, 2007 | 3:07PM

andy has it exactly right. With the state of the art in handwriting recognition being less than...well, state of the art, the keyboard will be with us for a long long time yet. Any mobile device/tablet seeking a real audience will *require* a usable keyboard. Thumbing it just won't do; I have an HTC smartphone with a sliding keyboard and I STILL use the on screen keyboard with the stylus because it's faster.


Add a swivel screen and keyboard to a smaller version of the MacBook and yes, many will line up including *this* die hard Windows user.


Then again, who builds a phone as cool as the iPhone and then expects mobility workers to use it WITHOUT VOICE DIALING?!?!? Get a CLUE Steve!!! It's simple mistakes like this that have kept me from seriously considering the iPhone as anything but a toy.

Robert Anthony Pitera | Dec 07, 2007 | 3:09PM

There's going to be a competing low cost Kindle-clone device from open source crowd, though I wouldn't rule out Google and Wikipedia being involved. Ugly? Perhaps not, but easy to use, elegant to a tee in usability.
Apple can have the tablet crowd, this KIndle-clone device will be for the plebes - an XO device for grownups.

Kevin Kunreuther | Dec 07, 2007 | 3:11PM

I love the fact that "black or dark gray" macbook pros are considered an obvious gap in a computer manufacturer's product offering.

:D

This sort of thing only happens with Apple.

Joe | Dec 07, 2007 | 3:19PM

Good post but I do take exception with some of this:

"2) Better LCD displays. Apple's are big but expensive and the specs are no longer better than the competition -- or even close. Where are the HDMI ports and the built-in iSight cameras?"

The cinema displays made for pros with specific color needs. Yes they are slower than say the current batch of Samsung monitors but that is because they use S-IPS screens rather than the cheap, fast TN screens which you find in everything nowdays (even in the new 20" imac and the macbook pros).

Apple can go ahead and add i-sight and HDMI but please for the love of god don't switch to TN screens.

Dirtyrobot | Dec 07, 2007 | 3:20PM

I hope you're right, Bob. My main thought when playing with a Touch was "Wish the screen were bigger!"

The original Star Trek communicator was the inspiration behind all of today's flip-type mobile phones. And the steno-pad sized devices seen in the later generation series are the inspiration for where I hope Apple is going.

I'm liking the Nokia N800 that I recently bought on sale for $200. Battery life, apps and features are about right. But the screen is too small and lacks the Touch's "Wow" factor.

Battery life will be key. I want to be able to use the thing all day without worrying about it dying.

Tim | Dec 07, 2007 | 3:23PM

It's not whom has the most toys; wins, but on what device!

Rennie H.ELLice | Dec 07, 2007 | 3:24PM

I have been waiting so long for an affordable tablet with EVDO. One that would allow me to search eBay while standing in the middle of a field where an auction is being held. So along comes Kindle, the right size and everything, but the wrong application. Nokia has a little tablet, but no EVDO. Anyone know of a small tablet device with built in EVDO that is basically for web surfing, email and basic word processing functions. Oh and under $500? If Apple can meet my needs (please don't use AT&T again), I would buy one in a heartbeat.

Greyfeld | Dec 07, 2007 | 3:30PM

product gap ?
> how about a mid-size mac tower that could also double as a home server....option to buy it with leopard server bundled ?

> how about getting "back to my mac" working on the AppleTV and therefore turning it into a simple tv interface device (to link back to the home server)

glenn | Dec 07, 2007 | 3:34PM

Opera can also pass the ACID2 test, but it is a proprietary engine. Apple's aim was open source, so that everyone would make web pages that whatever device Apple makes can use. If Apple borrowed the Opera engine, they couldn't modify it or let others use it. Biggest issue is that unlike Presto, WebKit is much more than a browser engine. Apple took KHTML and added quite a bit to it. That's why KDE and the Gnome folks are both incorporating it into their projects. By the middle of next year, all Linux distributions will include WebKit.

The problem with the Kindle is that it is a very expensive one trick pony. An Apple iTablet would be a full blown computer that can also work as an eBook. A deal with Barnes and Noble to provide content maybe via the iTunes store? Why not?

With Google forcing the opening of the 700Mhz spectrum and releasing Android, and with WebKit being used by Linux, Android, and two dozen cell phone companies, it is going to be a very interesting year,.

David W. | Dec 07, 2007 | 3:47PM

4) Because an iTablet with a camera built in could potentially have the power and bandwidth to enable portable video communication. Video communication is another ecosystem for which I believe Apple is laying the groundwork.

I am not sure a camera built in would be a good option. For it to see your face it would have to be at face level. You are not going to hold up the iTablet so it can video tape your face. Try holding something weighing a few pounds very long up to your face, you can't do it.

Bobmax48 | Dec 07, 2007 | 3:49PM

I would be great not to have to lug around my 17" macbook pro when I travel. The iPhone is close, but I can't take notes with it. If that sucker would take notes and store photos from my digital SLR, I'd pretty much be there.

Like you, I've also been suspecting that the new "subcompact" was really going to be a multi-touch tablet. With a larger form factor that gives them a little more room, they'll have space for lots more memory, lots more battery, and maybe even a hard drive. And actual touch typing might be possible.

I'm also expecting many more multi-touch options. Right now, the only thing multi-touch about the iPhone is zoom.

mark | Dec 07, 2007 | 3:49PM

Apple "on top" of the personal computing world - hmmm. I wonder if HP might beg to differ! :-)

BrentD | Dec 07, 2007 | 3:58PM

"2) Because a multi-touch tablet would provide a patent-protected interface for a new class of communication and computer device that Microsoft and its hardware partners would be hard-pressed to clone."



Isn't Dell shipping a multi-touch tablet in the next week or two?

tim | Dec 07, 2007 | 3:59PM

At less than $400 with third party apps and no lock in I'd be willing to give it a go. But apple would have to avoid the insane DRM levels of the kindle and have removable media.

With handbrake or the excellent Fairuse wizard and support for divx/xvid this would indeed be a desirable gadget. eBook support with DRM free PDF, HTML and RTF support is essential. If people can rip their existing DVDs and Project Gutenberg texts this would be a win for travelers. Toss in a comprehensive Gutenberg compilation (17,000 volumes on 4 GB) and you could really have something. Give people plenty to play with out of the box.

Bluetooth with GPS mapping support would be very wise as well.

Personally, I'd want a good version on Python on board with bindings, but thats negotiable.

monopole | Dec 07, 2007 | 4:04PM

I don't know why everyone is so sure that they correctly know what Apple has to do. If they were that good, they would be rich and not writing such a article. :-)

If Apple sees a very good use for an ultra portable tablet, and a way to make it work, I am sure that they will create one. :-) But just because everyone else is trying to make one is no reason to do so also. :-( They are not selling for some reason. PERIOD.

If Apple decides there is a need and a good way to develop one, I am sure that they will produce one. And it will fit in with all the other Apple products.

elder norm

elder norm | Dec 07, 2007 | 4:05PM

This sounds like a description of that old knowledge navigator video.

james | Dec 07, 2007 | 4:09PM

One year ago Jobs said he was introducing something as revolutionary as the iPod and the Mac OS. The iPhone is fun and cool, but it hasn't and won't change the industry like the Macintosh changed computers and the iPod changed the music industry. I don't think he was talking about the iPhone - I think he was talking about multi-touch. Remember a slide from last year, "Revolutionary user interfaces: Mouse, Scroll wheel, Multi-touch"

The iPhone and iPod Touch are just the beginning. Bringing multi-touch to OSX on a Mac WOULD revolutionize computing. Again. Instead of panning through Google Maps, you could pinch and twist in Google Earth; instead of sliding iPhone photos, you could edit in iPhoto and Photoshop becomes all new. Point and click is not just boring, it's inefficient compared to swiping, dragging, and whatever motions developers come up with. No more menus, menu bars, scroll bars, and keyboards and mice are optional. How lame will a Windows notebook with a dinky trackpad look? And every Mac user will beg to upgrade.

But it has to come thru OSX 10.6 (or whatever versioning) to leverage that dramatic a change. I think it will come, but it will be a Mac and with Leopard late, it'll be late too. Sorry, but it will be worth the wait.

Ephilei | Dec 07, 2007 | 4:13PM

An Apple tablet would never "kill the kindle" any more than a Windows XP Tablet Edition would.

Try reading a tablet computer in bright sunlight, or for more than a day without having to find an umbrella to cover the screen, or the nearest power outlet. E-ink devices can go for weeks on a charge.

I don't even think Apple would deign to enter what I imagine they think of as the "lowly book reader" market. Seriously, what's in it for them? I don't think this feature would enable them to sell more of these tablets than its other features.

Keith | Dec 07, 2007 | 4:24PM

Anyone know of a small tablet device with built in EVDO that is basically for web surfing, email and basic word processing functions. Oh and under $500? If Apple can meet my needs (please don't use AT&T again), I would buy one in a heartbea




Take a look at the eeePC : http://eeepc.asus.com/global/


Its only 7" and weighs 32oz. Runs Linux & Windows XP and is $399.

Steve Dean | Dec 07, 2007 | 4:35PM

Adobe is using the WebKit engine in AIR, which makes Flash an installed platform and renders HTML in the FlashPlayer/PDF structure.

Dave_Matthews | Dec 07, 2007 | 4:37PM

Has apple ever made anything that was affordable? The Ipod is cool, but too expensive. It's the same with everthing else apple makes. I doubt that a tablet from apple would be any different.

Microdot | Dec 07, 2007 | 4:42PM

quote:
"Killing the Kindle and deflating Amazon.com's Jeff Bezos -- now that's something worthy of Jobs and Apple."

When will we learn that Apple's success is not made of "killing companies" (like MS)?
Apple's success is made up by building wonderfull products that we want to own!

The iPhone was not build to destroy neither Nokia, nor Moto or SonyEricsson or Samsung. It was build to make us "lust for it"!

Luis Alejandro Masanti | Dec 07, 2007 | 4:48PM

From your lips to Jobs' ear…………

David Garon | Dec 07, 2007 | 5:00PM

From your lips to Jobs' ear…………

David Garon | Dec 07, 2007 | 5:00PM

Wow, sounds just like... the Knowledge Navigator.

So you are saying that Steve Jobs is just channeling John Sculley? ;)

heh.

I for one have never understood this fascination with tablet computing that so many tech pundits have. Don't get it.

--chuck
http://chuck.goolsbee.org

chuck goolsbee | Dec 07, 2007 | 5:03PM

Didn't Appe already do this? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Newton just needs a keyboard. I don't think MS has been successful with their tablet. The form factors are ok. They are never powerful enough. They aren't durable enough to meet the needs in most cases. And, they are too expensive.

Chris | Dec 07, 2007 | 5:04PM

I haven't read all of the entries here, so this may have already been covered, but if you'll notice there has been little to no talk about that other company that was going to do a touchpad mod on a MacBook over a year ago, now. I wonder if Apple didn't buy the company and add their "touch" to it, to make it a unique product - the iTouch (En Espanol, no pun nintendo).

David Garon | Dec 07, 2007 | 5:13PM

I'd like to think Flash isn't there because it's not ready. Apple, I hope, understands that despite some people's indifference toward its presence, Flash would, nonetheless, serve a very useful purpose and add to the device's appeal. There are a bunch of extremely useful web-based tools and services that depend upon Flash and simply have no HTML/CSS/Ajax corollary - and never will.

Apple would be foolish not to allow and support Flash if it were available from Adobe. The latest Flash for PCs is beginning to support hardware assisted rendering resources. Maybe that's the beginning of support for devices like the iPhone that rely upon specialized components instead of super fast CPUs for much of their video and graphical wizardry.

David Geller | Dec 07, 2007 | 5:39PM

What about the possibility of an upgraded AppleTV in January? With a larger drive and HD cable-card slot (and maybe an ATSC tuner) to turn it into a DVR.

Apple could then partner with Comcast and Time-Warner to put them on set-tops instead of Scientific-Atlanta or Tivo boxes, since Apple is now into partnering (especially if it involves recurring payments from the partner)

ChipH | Dec 07, 2007 | 5:49PM

@Microdot

Right, the iPod to expensive? There is an iPod for everyone and their budget.
Are you suggesting we should buy a mICROSOFT zUNE?

Go troll somewhere else.

Lantz | Dec 07, 2007 | 5:55PM

Not sure about these predictions at all.

ebook readers typically need to use something like "digital ink" in order to provide a decent reading experience - This technology just isn't suitable yet as a general computing display. It doesn't update fast enough and colour is something that doesn't exist in any commerical product (as far as I'm aware).

Windows tablets haven't sold well because computers can understand typed characters much better than handwritten text. A simple pen and paper is much better for taking notes (and the batteries don't run out). Batteries make tablets too heavy to carry around all the time. I just don't believe that the tablet technology is good enough, nor will be good enough for the next 5 years.

Give it 5 years, then I think all your predications will probably be correct.

Adam Radford | Dec 07, 2007 | 6:01PM

I could swear Safari uses webkit and it's based on KHTML.

The reason why Apple went with KHTML is because it is "fast" in terms of how it renders pages, not because it is the only standards-based rendering engine out there (which it's not).

I can see why Apple would not want Flash on the iPhone / iPod touch - Flash would become the default application environment, which would give Adobe way too much leverage. Another reason is that Flash is incredibly resource heavy, and I doubt very much that the processor in the iPhone is capable of running flash apps.

Re: #4 - absolutely. Apple is going to introduce iChat for the iPhone eventually.

Biffniff | Dec 07, 2007 | 6:06PM

Two criticisms I should point out here-

* H.264 decode is really, really expensive, but there's always more software magic you can pull out. A hardware chip wouldn't help any of their products above the AppleTV; the most expensive step (colorspace conversion) already is done in such a wasteful way that I'm sure they don't actually care about decode performance in the first place. It might be necessary for Blu-ray, though.

* KHTML was really bad before WebKit started; it certainly couldn't render Acid2. But it was small and clean, and Gecko is horrible and unreadable.

astrange | Dec 07, 2007 | 6:07PM

"Who's going to shell out $400.00 for an e-book reader?"

At this point, more people than there are Kindles.

Jim Treacher | Dec 07, 2007 | 6:32PM

Just one minor point - although the Apple stock price did increase beginning in 1997, from around the $3 mark to around $23 in the dot-com boom, it was down around $10 all the way up to 2004.

My finance.google.com tells me that as late as June 2004 (!) the Apple share price was $15.37, which implies that it was less of Steve Jobs per sae (though he's certainly critical) and more about iTunes/iPod roots taking hold on the known universe.

PS
That would be a nice return -- 1000 shares bought in June 04 would have cost $15,370, and at todays closing price would be worth $194,300.

Andrew | Dec 07, 2007 | 7:20PM

This is the must uninformed article I have ever read.

"The question now is does one get a Mac or a PC? There would be no PC analog to a well-designed Mac tablet..."

There are plenty of great PC tablets out there. My Thinkpad X61t, for one, is amazing. We're supposed to take for a given (like Cringely does) that Apple is going to re-define what's considered "well-designed"? Try again!

mike | Dec 07, 2007 | 8:00PM

I suspect that instead of killing the Kindle Apple will instead join the club. Amazon would be much better off as the major supplier of ebooks to a variety of devices, including the iPod, iPhone and iTablet. Especially as it's rather evident that consumer electronics simply isn't Amazon's forte.

Michael Long | Dec 07, 2007 | 8:05PM

Andrew: Your research on Apple's stock price leaves out the fact that it split in 2000 and again in 2005.

Francis Volpe | Dec 07, 2007 | 8:14PM

Well I hope they do it. I adore the Tablet PC and I'd like to see the idea taken further. In particular, I want it to become more portable. Something I can shove in a jacket pocket and use much as I'd use a paper notebook, but with the power of a PC.




The UMPC is not that device - not so far anyway. In fact it's a sad parody of the promise the idea holds, almost designed to hurt the feelings of those of us who wanted it to be good. In Vista Microsoft made the best handwriting recognition ever developed. But first they give the UMPC a touch sensitive screen instead of a digitizer, reducing its accuracy and usability, and then add awful unusable hardware keyboards. Don't try to tell me that the Samsung Q1U isn't hideous.




So I want to see what Apple will do with the idea. Too early to say whether I'd actually like to use one, but it would at least put some impetus back in this form factor's development.




I do worry that an iTablet will be a touch-driven rather than pen-driven device. Fine for a media player of course, but hopeless for doing any kind of work. That would be no good for me.




If it had multitouch and digitizer though... Mmm!

Sergei | Dec 07, 2007 | 8:46PM

Well January would mark 10 years since the death of the Newton, and I loved my Newton. More I think than I love my iPod Touch which seems feature limited, albeit funky.

Now apple has introduced some of the Newton's smarts into Leopard (e the smart link stuff in Mail) and they have the interface issues licked, a new Newton would be awesome. I'd buy one in a flash.

Dave

Dave Sag | Dec 07, 2007 | 11:12PM

I explored the significance of WebKit 3 for Apple in competition against Flash, Silverlight and JavaFX in:

"Runtime wars (1): Does Apple have an answer to Flash, Silverlight and JavaFX?"
http://counternotions.com/2007/11/15/runtime-wars/

and

"Runtime wars (2): Apple’s answer to Flash, Silverlight and JavaFX"
http://counternotions.com/2007/11/15/apple-runtime-answer-2/

As well, the tension between Kindle and iPhone:

"Why is the new Kindle eBook reader from Amazon and not Apple?"
http://counternotions.com/2007/11/19/kindle-vs-iphone/

Kontra | Dec 08, 2007 | 12:02AM

"KHTML is the only rendering engine that can pass the Acid2 web-rendering test..."

Except, of course, for Presto (Opera 9), Gecko 1.9 (Firefox 3), iCab, and Konqueror.

Or perhaps Trident (IE) is the only other rendering engine?

theharmonyguy | Dec 08, 2007 | 12:17AM

A few things:
You missed that Nokia uses Webkit for the S60 series browsers, including the N95 phone. Adobe picked Webkit as the rendering engine for their cross platform AIR platform for interactive multimedia, and the KDE and GTK have backported Webkit over the original KHTML and plan to use that going forward.

Acid2 also works in Opera. Acid2 actually attempts to show how well your browser handles MALFORMED HTML (improper endings, etc) much more than showing standards complient - it is meant to show how well the browser handles sloppy web page coding.

You make no mention of the persistent database store in the current nightly builds of Webkit, very important for the future of Webkit as a useful platform for apps rather than as a browser engine (without a data store it cannot effectively compete with all the engines you mention, and I mean something more than just cookies)

I really tried to be more funny. Really. I tried - but I wish there was more research behind your article.

I am looking forward to the iTablet though. That will be fun....

Eytan | Dec 08, 2007 | 12:17AM

Oh yeah, and aren't they opening up an SDK for peaople to write apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch that are NOT designed around Webkit and its AJAX?

Eytan | Dec 08, 2007 | 12:21AM

Really do you think apple needs to do something to kill kindle. Not really all they need to do is add a ebook store to itunes and put an app on iPhone and iPod touch. They could also do wireless downloads with mobile connection since most ebook are fairly small.

And kindle would be dead.

Prasanth | Dec 08, 2007 | 12:48AM

Really do you think apple needs to do something to kill kindle. Not really all they need to do is add a ebook store to itunes and put an app on iPhone and iPod touch. They could also do wireless downloads with mobile connection since most ebook are fairly small.

And kindle would be dead.

Prasanth | Dec 08, 2007 | 12:48AM

"There would be no PC analog to a well-designed Mac tablet"? Motion Computing's LE1700?

Malcolm Powell | Dec 08, 2007 | 4:15AM

"KHTML is the only rendering engine that can pass the Acid2 web-rendering test"

...apart from all the others. Opera probably being the most widely used, and IMHO the best!

Come on Bob stop wearing you're apple fanboyism on your sleave. I'm sure the apple tablet PC will be wonderful, but get your facts straight.

Opera_User | Dec 08, 2007 | 5:31AM

Apple multi-touch tablet with patented interface will be a nightmare...

Albert Muda | Dec 08, 2007 | 5:38AM

"KHTML is the only rendering engine that can pass the Acid2 web-rendering test"

...apart from all the others. Opera probably being the most widely used, and IMHO the best!

Come on Bob stop wearing you're apple fanboyism on your sleave. I'm sure the apple tablet PC will be wonderful, but get your facts straight.

Opera_User | Dec 08, 2007 | 5:39AM

"KHTML is the only rendering engine that can pass the Acid2 web-rendering test"

...apart from all the others. Opera probably being the most widely used, and IMHO the best!

Come on Bob stop wearing you're apple fanboyism on your sleave. I'm sure the apple tablet PC will be wonderful, but get your facts straight.

Opera_User | Dec 08, 2007 | 5:58AM

I think for the video tablet you want a LCD type of screen, while for a ebook reader you'd want E-paper. That's a big difference that isn't that easily merged.

PanMan | Dec 08, 2007 | 6:18AM

Bob writes:
"H.264 hardware support."
With the new 45 nanometer Penryn chips coming out for iMac 1Q 2008, I'm guessing the hardware video codecs for H.264 will be seen then. Ya think?
aaplhead

aaplhead | Dec 08, 2007 | 8:16AM

Bob writes:
"H.264 hardware support."
With the new 45 nanometer Penryn chips coming out for iMac 1Q 2008, I'm guessing the hardware video codecs for H.264 will be seen then. Ya think?
aaplhead

aaplhead | Dec 08, 2007 | 8:17AM

Bob writes:
"H.264 hardware support."
With the new 45 nanometer Penryn chips coming out for iMac 1Q 2008, I'm guessing the hardware video codecs for H.264 will be seen then. Ya think?
aaplhead

aaplhead | Dec 08, 2007 | 8:17AM

Bob writes:
"H.264 hardware support."
With the new 45 nanometer Penryn chips coming out for iMac 1Q 2008, I'm guessing the hardware video codecs for H.264 will be seen then. Ya think?
aaplhead

aaplhead | Dec 08, 2007 | 8:18AM

Andrew-

What you smokin? my google finance tells me for Jan 97 to June 04:

aapl: 279 %

Compare that to some of the tech darlings of the last decade:

Dell: 203%

MSFT: 54%

HPQ: -28%

The iPod was a great accelerator for Apple, (as will the iPhone prove to be as well) but Apple has been a strong performer ever since Jobs took over again.


mac84 | Dec 08, 2007 | 1:25PM

I'm surprised noone has mentioned the fact that Amazon's $399 Kindle is more than just an e-reader; it currently allows unlimited internet with no monthly usage fees (via Sprint's high-speed EVDO network):

http://www.suntimes.com/technology/ihnatko/672259,CST-FIN-Andy29.article




flummoxed | Dec 08, 2007 | 5:01PM

I'm really excited by the idea of Apple releasing a bigger version of the iPod Touch. I was tempted by this latest iPod's slim designed, touch sensitive screen, and wifi connectivity but decided in the end that it really didn't offer much that my Palm Zire 72 doesn't already do. A tablet with a bigger screen plus all of the features of the Touch would be really attractive to me.

As things stand now, I would prefer the Sony Reader over the Amazon Kindle, but Apple could very easily bridge the gap between the two with an exceptionally designed and feature rich tablet.

Jon Morgan | Dec 08, 2007 | 5:09PM

What about the Newton? The only reason it wasn't called a Tablet PC is because it wasn't around then.

Nick Johnson | Dec 08, 2007 | 7:18PM

Apple branded HTC Shift, in aluminum, all the same internals, but instead of a keyboard, a second display equipped with tactile feedback, running OSX. Think of the Shift as the hardware equivalent of Soundjam.

John | Dec 08, 2007 | 9:30PM

This is all good but Apple lacks a good Road Warrior tool that is lighter and smaller than a MacBook. This could fill the bill if it stays small.

The move to the 13.3 wide display made the MacBook unusable on many economy airline seats. Especially when the person in front acts like there is no one in the next row and tilts the seat back. Is it really more comfortable or just rude?

OK, OK an iTablet that is small!!!!

Hg | Dec 08, 2007 | 9:31PM

I hope you're right about Apple developing a tablet mac. I want an iCrapper.

SLK | Dec 09, 2007 | 2:48AM

I think iLet will work better then iPad, if only because growing up in southern Michigan, means I've already heard the iPod called an iPAd. MinnAsota, WiscAnsin and the Dakotas would have problems too ;)

Collin Reisdorf | Dec 09, 2007 | 3:09AM

Would I buy an iTablet? In a flash IF it did what I needed which is, most importantly, to take and store notes. This means
- a new app (somewhere between iLife and iWork) that holds all manner of notes, allows export, printing and linking, has a variety of ways to view the material, etc (ie something like Yojimbo)
- BUT, and this is the biggie, it also has to handle the particular reason I want a handwriting device, namely it has to handle mathematics properly. That means it requires full LaTeX integration --- LaTeX pre-installed, LaTeX fonts usable in all situations, translation of LaTeX text to visible math in a variety of situations, translation from hand-written math to LaTeX etc.

If Apple delivers, I'll buy, but, given that as of Leopard, Apple still includes neither support for TeX fonts nor TeX bundled with the OS by default, I'm not holding my breath. And a note-taking tablet that can't actually do anything useful with the particular notes I care about is of precious little interest to me.

(IMHO this is a reasonable request --- the population of people world-wide who both want this type of device and could afford is not huge, true, but the amount of work required is likewise not huge since it's mostly just integrating work already done by the open source community.)

Maynard Handley | Dec 09, 2007 | 3:15AM

Please stop saying AT&T stole Apple's thunder re the 3G iPhone (or is trying to hurt Apple by pre-announcing it). Steve Jobs announced there was going to be a 3G iPhone in September, weeks before AT&T made their announcement. It was in the press and on the web, you must be the only journalist who missed it.

The only question about a 3G iPhone in '08 there has ever been was if it would appear in the first half or second half of the year. Currently it's looking like the first half.

David S. | Dec 09, 2007 | 5:47AM

"...following a standard was more important to Apple than correctly rendering poorly written web pages."

Which is Typical of Apple: They don't ACTUALLY care what the user wants ! They come up with a (usually) good interface and ram it down user's throats.

Rather than bow to the fact that (a) there are ten million internet pages out there that Safari cannot render, and (b) those pages will NEVER be changed (or are "abandoned"), Apple INSISTS on providing a rendering engine which will NEVER properly display those pages.

Steve Jobs is the most arrogant a'hole in the world (short of GW Bush), although Jobs is 100 time smarter (not hard).


William Donelson | Dec 09, 2007 | 5:55AM

The Apple iTablet needs to be cheap and small. I need one beside every telephone in the house - to take quick notes. Paperless is the direction.

Having a bluetooth connection to the nearest bluetooth-wifi AP and then relay to the designated storage server (Apple Desktop) in the house would complete the picture.

Gone would be those little pieces of paper with valuable notes - that never are where you need them.

I have mentioned this scheme before to whoever would listen/read. Maybe this time it will be implemented.

Bob Gustafson | Dec 09, 2007 | 12:59PM

What a great pitch for new apple itablet --- you really think it will be called "itablet".

http://www.myitablet.com/goldman-12-inch-ultraportable-macbook-weeks-away-061832.php

the itablet guy | Dec 09, 2007 | 8:58PM

Quickly responding to WD up there: Following standards is the opposite of arrogance, of course. Subverting and spitting out bad HTML rendering for no other purpose than to further thwart any competitor from even remotely challenging a monopoly is the height of arrogance. A nasty tactic is to immediately accuse the enemy of that which you are doing, causing said enemy to sputter and seem like a fool in pointing out he didn't, you did...

And iTablet...hm. iPad. iPad sounds about right.

catbeller | Dec 09, 2007 | 10:08PM

2nd thought: not iPad. iBook. They already own the trademark. Simple. A flat steel plate with a Mac welded on, an iBook to read. As for keyboards? Just put a bluetooth keyboard next to it. Problem solved.

catbeller | Dec 09, 2007 | 10:14PM

Funnily enough, I was playing with, and drooling over, an iTouch in the store today; and during my habitual pre-purchase cooling off period I came to the view that it was perfect; but needed to be bigger. Wonderful software, wonderful interface, wonderful screen; too small. I can wait until Jan. Apple probably has about 12 months before I break down and get a clone iPad from Acer/Ubuntu.

PeeDee | Dec 09, 2007 | 11:40PM

Just FYI, when Lenovo's licensing agreement with IBM expires the ThinkPad will become either the iPad or the IntelliPad.

Hangly | Dec 10, 2007 | 5:53AM

I am sorry but there is not going to be a tablet mac. As much as a few of us would, or think we would, like one it is just not going to happen.
When the Newton was current comments were "I wish they would make a smaller version." Instead Apple increased the size. There was a loyal following but not enough. Then along came the Palm and the whole concept of a small handheld organizer took off.
Well Apple has finally made a small Newton and they call it iPod Touch. Judging from the reaction so far I would think there is no need for Apple to make a larger one.

David | Dec 10, 2007 | 9:13AM

Do you have anything else to do but write about Apple? Or Google, as they both fight for the top position in your topics list.
I like to read you column but I get sick with all this Crapple stuff.

JeePee | Dec 10, 2007 | 9:45AM

I agree with the poster who observed too much "crapple". We get it you admire Steve Jobs. Armed with his reality distortion field he is invincible. I do not understand why you had to drag amazon into this post.

I usually enjoy your column and wish you would do a serious piece about Kindle. It looks like a compelling product. I do not think that Apple could easily replicate what Amazon is able to offer. Amazon main asset for the ebook business is there relationship with the publishers. In the end it will be about content not technology.

Frank | Dec 10, 2007 | 11:18AM

If one has 'taste', one would prefer to use computing devices that are well-designed, fully-functional, and well-made. Thus most people with 'taste' prefer Apple computers to PCs, Nintendo Wiis to Xboxes, iPods to Zunes, German cars and beer, etc. It's also more interesting to read about companies that make these quality devices than run-of-the-mill companies. So keep on writing about Apple, Google, etc.

As for the tablet prediction, I doubt it very much. Seeing the success of the Asus Eee PC, I think more people would prefer an ultraportable Mac (with keyboard) than a tablet computer.

Vip Malixi | Dec 10, 2007 | 12:53PM

The big piece that Apple is Missing, along with its Partner Google, is access and control of the Last Mile. They not only need this to add end to end value in their Handheld and Laptop devices they need it to eliminate their dependance on and the economic burden (revenue share and limited Narrowband services)of having to deal with the Big Carriers and or the RBOCS.
The 700Mhz Spectrum (and possibly the White Space-400Mhz+) will provide them a platform to deliver a true Broadband Wireless Link to both their end users as well as their COntent/Apps Partner Google.


Jim A.

Jim A | Dec 10, 2007 | 2:38PM

Flash limits a web site's portability. I refuse to install flash in any of my browsers. Web Sites that use Flash for navigation instantly loose my business, if there is not an obvious non-flash bypass.

Exo

Exothemic Reaction | Dec 10, 2007 | 3:38PM

My use of computers is strictly utilitarian. Macs work better in laboratories, PCs are cheaper for everything else. I have no use for a tablet or a kindle, and hardly any use for a portable computer. But here is something sorta like those things which does not exist, that I sure would like:

An paperless electronic printer. That is to say, an external tablet used in place of a printer, that saves up the pages you print, and lets you page back and forth through them. It sits on your desk where you now keep a stack of printout papers. Also, it would be nice to take it home or onto an airplane.

I have two large screens on this computer, and yet I still have to print out programs, documents and other stuff I am working on. Often you want a "frozen" copy of the document you are working on. Sometimes you need to check the format of a Word or Acrobat file. I print hundreds of pages just to glance at the format, and then I throw them away. Why not output the document to a specialized display gadget?

This is a retro idea but hey, vinyl records are making a comeback, so why not?

I suppose Apple might be interested in making such a gadget because this is a dedicated playback machine, somewhat like an I-pod. It is simple in concept, but it would be tricky to design well.

Jed Rothwell | Dec 10, 2007 | 5:45PM

iPod Touch is no PDA. The severely limited PDA features the iPhone has (add calendar items, notes) are both disabled on the iPod Touch. And this is not accidental. Steve Jobs doesn't use a PDA, apparently out of spite for some long-gone CEO, and he refuses to admit anyone else might want one either.

As for Kindle, if it were $99 and DRM-free, I might consider it. Until then, I'll keep using my Palm.

Rick | Dec 11, 2007 | 1:03PM

It is true the iPod Touch is not a PDA. Not yet that is.

David | Dec 11, 2007 | 2:00PM

Alright. I've noted that several posters think that a tablet computer from Apple would be a good thing--just what they need--but I haven't read any explanations for why such a device is so compelling.

What unmet need would be addressed by such a device?

Is there a huge untapped market that would be addressed by such a device?

Please explain.

Mark O. | Dec 12, 2007 | 12:26AM

Alright. I've noted that several posters think that a tablet computer from Apple would be a good thing--just what they need--but I haven't read any explanations for why such a device is so compelling.

What unmet need would be addressed by such a device?

Is there a huge untapped market that would be addressed by such a device?

Please explain.

Mark O. | Dec 12, 2007 | 12:27AM

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=394965

Follow the link and read the blog for good answers to your question. it's all there, so read on. (only two pages)

Dom | Dec 12, 2007 | 11:40AM

I can tell you aren't a Linux/BSD chap Bob : ) KDE isn't on the same technical "level" as GTK+ as KDE is a desktop and GTK+ is "only" a toolkit. You generally compare KDE against GNOME, Qt against GTK+ etc.

It's hard to say how embracing the GTK+ folks will be about Webkit. It's certainly going to be ported by some companies (e.g. Nokia, Adobe, Google) but I don't think it's going to be a fundamental pillar in GTK+ itself. Apple has done good work on Webkit though so it will be interesting to see whether it rubs Gecko out in the long run. While extensions like Firebug aren't compltely available on Webkit I think Firefox will have place...

Anon | Dec 12, 2007 | 3:20PM

The Kindle will have a niche market. Eventually, perhaps years from now, a reader such as Kindle will be invented that has:

Resolution and contrast as good as paper, or better.

Color.

The size of a standard sheet of paper (8.5" x 11").

Light weight (no more than a thick paperback).

I think this will replace nearly all paper documents, including newspapers, magazines, books and so on. This will greatly reduce distribution costs, speed up distribution, and save lots of paper. Plus it will be a boon to people with vision problems and other disabilities, because you can zoom up the text size or turn the page with a voice input command.

I wish someone would make a device like this to replace Japanese manga now, because they use so much paper and they use low-res, low quality paper anyway. An AP writer estimated that manga are ~42% of Japanese printed material, which wouldn't surprise me. They are distributed by cell phone, along with everything else in Japan, but a Kindle-like device would be better.

Jed Rothwell | Dec 12, 2007 | 5:46PM

Please take the NerdTV link down. It's December 14th, 2007, the last NerdTV was from April 2006.

John | Dec 14, 2007 | 5:37AM