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Derek Carter’s blog » 2009» May

Archive for May, 2009

Idea for a tablet Mac

Sunday, May 10th, 2009

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There have been rumors about a Mac tablet for years now, but so far nothing has left Apple’s secret labs in Cupertino.  Just for fun, I came up with some specs for what I think would make a totally awesome tablet Mac - or rather, an iPod tablet.  Read on, and enjoy.  

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 The iPod tablet (or iTablet, as many people call it) is essentially a very large iPod touch.  It is based around an 8.9″ multi-touch screen with a resolution of 1280 x 768.  Like its smaller cousin, it has only three buttons: Home, Sleep, and Volume.  In addition to the expected Dock connector and headphone ports, it also has two mini-USB ports, an SD/SDHC slot, and a mini-HDMI port.  Inside are dedicated chips for processing audio, video, and graphics, in addition to the CPU.  Except for the audio chip, which is the same one used across the iPod family, they were all developed in-house by Apple following its acquisition of P.A. Semi in 2008.  For storage, the iTablet has up to 128 GB of flash memory. The iTablet has the same audio capabilities that iPods have had for years, with the exception of finally being able to create custom equalizer settings.

The iTablet supports video resolutions up to 720p, and several other MPEG and AVI file formats besides the expected MPEG-4 format (iTunes also supports those formats now).  As on the iPod touch, video playback uses the whole screen, with non-HD videos appearing in their native resolution by default; triple-tapping on them makes the device upscale them to fill the screen.  Double-tapping a widescreen video (that’s already filling the screen side-to-side in the case of non-HD videos) still causes it to expand to fill the screen entirely, with the sides being cut off.  The iTablet can also send video to a TV via either the mini-HDMI port, or Composite or Component video through the Dock connector.

While iTunes still optimizes images for previews on the iTablet, it now has an option to sync full versions of photos to the device, as long as they’re JPEGs (users can still choose to have iTunes optimize photos larger than the iTablet’s display).  iPhoto has an option to optimize individual photos or entire albums based on customizable settings (photos larger than a certain resolution and/or file size determined by the user can be shrunk to a smaller resolution and file size, also determined by the user).  iPorn Family vacation photos never looked so good on a mobile device!

The iTablet’s OS is based on the iPhone OS, though with substantial changes.  There’s still the Dock at the bottom of the home screen that holds your favorite apps, but the other apps have been moved into a separate Apps screen, leaving the home screen clear for a few open applications (or just wallpaper).  Most apps can be run in windows on the home screen, similar to how apps work on regular computers; they can be resized at will by pinching or spreading your fingers apart, or run in full-screen.  Some apps run only in full-screen, such as Photos, Videos, and action/graphics-intensive games.

The iTablet can use SD cards and even external hard drives for additional storage.  A limited version of Mac OS X’s Finder allows enabled apps (including Music, Videos, Photos, and third-party apps such as word processors and such) to search through such devices for compatible files.  The iTablet can also copy files from one drive to another (i.e. from a camera’s memory card to an external hard drive), or even to its own flash memory.  The latter scenario uses a special folder that the iTablet spoofs as a flash drive when it’s connected to a computer.