5 Things We Know About Apple's Tablet

With only a few hours remaining, it is worth looking at what we know exactly about Apple's forthcoming Tablet PC, everything from the hardware to the software platform itself.

(1) We know that it will be a tablet (rather than say an iPhone), this is a 99.99 percent certainty. Apple might launch several other products and services but the Tablet PC will be main focus of the event to be held in the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco tomorrow. Several independent sources have confirmed this.

(2) As for the name of that tablet, iPad, iSlate and TabletMac were the three most likely candidates. Apple was currently wrestling with Fujitsu to get the name iPad until as late as last week but since Fujitsu actually launched a product called the iPad, they have more rights than Apple to the name.

This leaves us with TabletMac, one which Apple actually controls and got off Axiotron back in November 2009 and iSlate, a trademark and accompanying domain name that the company owned since 2007. Our heart goes to iSlate because it would have given Apple more time for preparation and so do the bookies who say that the iSlate is a 4/5 favourite to be Apple's Tablet official name, ahead of iPad at 7/4.

(3) The tablet will be using a 10-inch capacitive touchscreen display. An OLED model is expected but the big problem will be the price with a 9.7-inch panel expected to cost around $500.

The 3.5-inch Nexus One screen costs $41, a 10.5-inch one would in theory costs $369 (3x3x41) although it is likely to be much less than that provided that the the manufacturing process is mature enough to cut down on waste. As a rule of thumb, the screen accounts for 25 percent of the price of the device. So even at $250, the Tablet is expected to cost at least $750.

(4) Apple will use a non x86 platform, the only question is whether it will use the Tegra 2 from Nvidia or if it will go down the route of tweaking PA Semi's designs, the chip firm it purchased in April 2008 for $278 million.

PA Semi used Power Architecture (hence PA) processors rather than ARM processors. Could Apple have asked PA Semi to work on a custom designed ARM processor (PA Semi's cof-ounder launched StrongARM after all)?

(5) The Tablet will be using an iPhone OS rather than a MacOSX one for numerous reasons revolving around target audience, performance/power demands and software environment.

As reported yesterday, Flurry detected a number of tablet prototypes at Apple's Cupertino campus and they were reportedly working on soon to be announced the iPhone OS 3.2.

In conclusion, one can say with confidence that Apple's Tablet will be a giant iPod Touch rather than a Macbook without a keyboard.