Mac OS X Tablet PowerBook Coming Soon?

Apple Mac tablet?

Maybe I should call this a PowerTablet or a TabletBook to fit into the Apple naming scheme, but ever since I’ve seen folks with spiffo tablet PCs (notably Steve Gillmor, who is a reluctant evangelist for the devices, and Robert Scoble, who writes about them with some frequency on his blog) the vision of a tablet Mac has been running through my head.
And then I remembered that a key technology is already built in to Mac OS X — handwriting recognition — and that with the addition of people hacking the latest developer release of Mac OS X that’s hardware compatible with Intel computers, we might well be able to hobble together a Mac tablet, uhm, PowerTablet today!
For the hardware, I think I’d go for the Toshiba Portege M200. For the OS, Mac OS X Tiger + Intel, of course. For the needed handwriting recognition? A slick little capability that’s already in your own Mac called Inkwell.
Anyone already pushing these bits and wires around to try to get one of these up and running? Any shareware authors building note taking and drawing applications for this sort of environment?
I want one of these computers. Today. 🙂
Update: I’ve spent a good few hours thinking about the name of this possible device and decided that if Apple releases something like this – and they will – that it’ll be called PowerPad. Think about it: A super-notebook for students? iBook, part of the PowerBook line. Oh, and once this is out, I also expect one that’s a hybrid, maybe a 6×9 screen and lots of neato iPod functionality built into the unit too. And that one? How about an iPad?

7 comments on “Mac OS X Tablet PowerBook Coming Soon?

  1. I’d buy a Power Tablet yesterday! I’m holding out for one… but I weary of it and Averatec makes reasonably priced convertibles now. And I understand that those new T-Series Chinkpads from Lenovo are wonderful (sigh). All the pieces-parts are coming together for the Power Tablet. Jobs says no, but that’s what he always says – so you are right, someone needs to hack one together and we can publicize it. Or should I say, “MAKE” it. Hint, hint.

  2. Jerry Pournell from Byte is also a supporter of the tablet. With tablets having such a small marketshare, I’m not sure that Apple would find it to be a viable product.
    At this point, it’s not even certain that there will be a continued demand for such a device.
    I’ve tried tablets and found them to be clumsy. It seemed as though it could work if the weight could be brought down to one pound and the tablet was strapped to one’s forearm. Then it wouldn’t be required to carry the damn thing. Just take the pen out of the pocket, bring your arm up, write, put your arm down, and put the pen back.
    But it couldn’t be too large, and MUST weigh one pound or less. Maybe in the future when solid state memory can take the place of a decent HD, and OLED’s or equivalent are available. But not now.

  3. I believe that “someone” will make such a device and it will be used by anyone who draws whether that be technical or artistic. I would guess that both software and hardware companies are already working on these products but I have no idea how long that will take. I believe dreams come true…

  4. Interesting feedback, Mel. I spent some time this afternoon at Best Buy trying out a $1200 Toshiba tablet, actually, and I think that the 8 1/2 x 11 “piece of paper” format is actually just what I’d want. I just wonder if they make a tablet PC that doesn’t have a keyboard inside? Make it *just* the tablet functionality and it’s stronger, thinner, lighter, and a much more interesting device. Even with Windows (for now, at least).
    Anyone? Is there a tablet PC like that on the market?

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