The Macalope Weekly: Such Stuff as Dreams Are Made of

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The Macalope's old enough to remember when rumors of an Apple tablet device were made of nothing more than fairy dust and unicorn dreams.

Okay, they're not made of a lot more than that now, but, boy, people certainly do seem pretty sure it's coming, don't they?

We just know it'll be cool and expensive

The big news this week is, as usual, not news at all, but mere rumor.

(Rock on, Mac community. Rock. On.)

Yes, the Apple tablet device cometh! Just a scant 11 years after the death of the Newton, technology punditry has declared that the arrival of its successor is nigh! Sell all your worldly possessions! Cancel all your appointments! Prepare for the rapture!

Indeed, the rumor mill now places the "iPad" with Verizon as its mobile services provider. How's that for a slick way for Apple to extend its reach beyond AT&T? "Oh, hey, AT&T, baby, I know we said we were exclusive, but this isn't an iPhone, so it's not cheatin'. Oh, don't look at me like that, baby."

Apple, you rogue.

After the Macalope noted last week that it was all over but the whining about the price, CNet's Tom Krazit speculates the price point will be in the US$700 range, putting it between the iPhone and the MacBook. As much as many would like the price tag to be in the craptacular $300 netbook range, the Macalope thinks Krazit's estimate is far more realistic.

The Macalope's mother always told him, be wary of any rumor that puts shiny new Apple-y goodness at rock-bottom prices.

And always keep your fur clean in case you get hit by a bus and have to go to the hospital.

What's in a name?

Of course, beyond "not a netbook" and "sounds like they're working with Verizon", no one really has any clue what this thing looks like. "iPad" is the name that's being bandied about the most-get it? It's like "iPod" but it's a pad…—and let the Macalope just say "blech".

Yanko Design dubbed its concept art piece the "MacBook Touch" (tip o' the antlers to BusinessWeek ) which is more pleasing to this one's furry ears, but a device that will almost certainly run the iPhone OS is unlikely to bear the "MacBook" moniker.

The latest speculation from BusinessWeek says Apple's looking to take video production mobile to some degree (personally, the Macalope expects that to be a pretty small degree) and Craig Hockenberry has already opined about Front Row To Go.

The truth is, no one knows. "A bigger iPhone/iPod Touch" won't really cut it any more than "a smaller MacBook" would. That's why none of the names the Macalope's seen so far really fit. This thing needs a hook and the infrastructure behind that hook to support its appeal. Just as the iTunes Store supported the iPod and AT&T supported the iPhone, this device will have to have something unique behind it.


What? What are you looking at the Macalope for? Heck if he knows what it is.

The end of an error

It seems like only earlier this year the thing all the kewl kids were doing was installing OS X on netbooks to get the perfect user experience of a sleek and sexy operating system on a $300 plastic piece of crap. The fervency of the netbook fever that swept through technology punditry, combined with the Macalope's own opposition to it, did make him consider taking the challenge and trying one out. Why not put his money where his furry mouth is?

Well, there's the drool factor, for starters. But also, it's all about opportunity cost, isn't it? Instead of throwing away $300 on some flash-in-the-pan bastardization, why not save the money and put it towards an Apple netpad thingamajoo when it comes out?

Or just buy some ice cream? Or beer? Or beer-flavored ice cream.

Sure, every once in a while you have to push the envelope and it's fun to experiment. But while you were wasting your time dropping a V8 into a Yugo, Apple went out and made itself a Tesla.


This story, "The Macalope Weekly: Such Stuff as Dreams Are Made of" was originally published by Macworld.

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