Rumours are resurfacing again around Apple’s version of the tablet PC – this time driven by claims that an engineer from computer manufacturer Asus let slip that the company was working with Apple to develop a touchscreen handheld computer.
While rumours may be strengthened by the fact that Taiwan-based Asus has already produced components for both the iPod and MacBook, Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, has in the past vehemently denied any interest in PDAs or any other form of tablet PCs.
Indeed, when the iPod debuted back in 2001, everyone was expecting a PDA rather than an MP3 player, but now that the iPod has led to the iPod Touch and iPhone, Apple is better positioned with its touchscreen technology to develop an ultra mobile computing device.
In May 2005 Apple filed a patent with the US Patent and Trademark Office called
‘mechanical overlay’ for a touch-sensitive device that accepted various mechanical add-ons like volume controls, keypads etc which may be related to the development of a tablet device.
A major reason why Microsoft has not been successful in the tablet market despite full Vista integration is because navigation was based around replacing the mouse with a stylus, whereas Apple re-invented the wheel.
Touch-sensitive interface on the iPhone and iPod Touch is based on gauging speed and pressure of the fingertips – technology that will almost certainly make a tablet MacBook more attractive to the consumer.
By Marie Boran