A long standing rumor that just won’t go away: Apple is working on a tablet computer of sorts. Only this time the source is Intel, no less, following comments made by the chip maker’s Manging Director for Central Europe Hannes Schwaderer.
Described as being a future member of the iPhone family, only slightly larger, the new offering will make use of Intel’s Atom processor, designed for a product category the company calls Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs). However, while the Atom is certainly low-powered, delivering a very efficient power-per-watt ratio compared to previous designs, in it’s existing ‘Silverthorne’ incarnation it isn’t suitable for cell phones — suggesting that Apple’s new device will be significantly different to the existing iPhone and iPod touch line. Instead, think of larger, more tablet-like devices, or conceivably, anything all the way up to low-cost sub notebooks such as Asus’ Eee PC.
Although it’s far from certain that Schwaderer would be privy to any future Apple plans, his comments seem to corroborate with earlier rumors suggesting that a multi-touch tablet is in the works. Sources told AppleInsider last September that the company was developing an “ultra-thin ‘slate’ akin to the iPhone, about 1.5 times the size and sporting an approximate 720×480 high-resolution display that comprises almost the entire surface of the unit.” The device would build on existing multi-touch concepts leveraged in the iPhone and iPod touch by adding drag-and-drop as well as copy-and-paste functionality. If plans remain on schedule, the tablet would be released in the first half of 08, according to the report. Apple’s WWDC kicks off on June 9th with a Steve Jobs keynote, and Intel’s Atom chip is due to ship the same month.
Atom’s Apple – how might an Apple/Intel tablet shape up?
Intel’s Atom family of chips have some pretty impressive specs. And the Atom platform as a whole includes an integrated graphics chip, with the higher end configuration capable of “1080i HD accelerated decoding and the ability to drive an external screen at up to 1080i”, reports The Register. “Not bad for a handheld”.
Image credit: AppleInsider