Here's a semi-quote from Steve Jobs at the D shindig, as reported by Denise Howell:
Mossberg: A lot of people think given the success you've had with portable devices, you should be making a tablet or a PDA.
Jobs: There are no plans to make a tablet. It turns out people want keyboards. When Apple first started out, "People couldn't type. We realized: Death would eventually take care of this." "We look at the tablet and we think it's going to fail." Tablets appeal to rich guys with plenty of other PCs and devices already. "And people accuse us of niche markets." I get a lot of pressure to do a PDA. What people really seem to want to do with these is get the data out. We believe cell phones are going to carry this information. We didn't think we'd do well in the cell phone business. What we've done instead is we've written what we think is some of the best software in the world to start syncing information between devices. We believe that mode is what cell phones need to get to. We chose to do the iPod instead of a PDA.
I don't get why Steve thinks this way. Maybe it's an ego thing that MS came out with a tablet before Apple and now he has to save face and deny the whole category, but it's just dumb. Tablets don't mean that you need to go without a keyboard, it just means you get to take it with you when you want to sit on the couch and read the web instead of being tied to your desk. Get it? Reading = getting data out. Just like Steve claimed people want to do.
Maybe he's lying? I doubt it. To categorically deny that they're doing a tablet at such a public event is a bit much to blow off as a marketing smoke screen. There must be just a lot of problems in doing a tablet for the Mac. The G3s and G4s take up too much power or the screens are difficult to produce, something. They've got InkWell ready to go, so that's not a problem. I just don't get it.
My bet is that in the future we'll all be moving to tablet PCs and virtual keyboards. Why? Less moving parts = less costs to the manufacturers. Want a "real" keyboard? Go buy one and plug it into the USB port. Tablets are the future - it's just obvious. I've said it before, I'll say it again, Microsoft got it right on this one.
Personally, I really love the idea of a tablet PC and have for years. I do a lot of reading on the web and it'd be great to be able to sit comfortably where ever I want to do it. Laptops just don't work that way, despite their name. I'm really hesitant to buy a MS Tablet, though. If there was an option to buy a Tablet Mac, I'd get it tomorrow. Browse the web from my easy-chair, come back to the desk and throw it into a dock when I want to do some real work. Why doesn't Jobs see this?
It doesn't make sense. Let's hope he's throwing us a curve...