One of the most insistent rumors in recent times about Apple is the upcoming appearance of a tablet . The truth is that some data does seem to point in that direction. The fact that Apple has not yet released a netbook, despite the fact that the sales forecast has doubled this year, may be due to the fact that a netbook would “vampirize” the sales of the tablet. Curiously, a mobile phone manufacturer such as Nokia has launched itself into the world of netbooks and Apple has not yet done so.
Of course, Apple is in a position to leverage all of its touch interface expertise to launch a slightly larger device, more comfortable to navigate or to run programs that require more power than the iPhoneTouch , and that offer something more to the end user. But of course, if we talk about the operating system, one possibility is that such a device directly uses Snow Leopard .
Which tracks does Snow Leopard include in that sense? In Cult of Mac they have written an entry pointing out a couple of possible clues.
The first one is the improvements in the exposé functionality , which makes that when you hold the mouse over an icon in the dock, the exposé effect is activated and shows only the windows of the selected application. If we imagine that we are using our fingers to select a specific window, we will understand the advantage of this new exposé functionality.
The second hint they comment on is the change of the virtual keyboard , which can be maximized to take up the whole screen . It is clear that a future tablet would need a virtual keyboard to type on. To see such a keyboard, we need to go to System Preferences – Language and Text – Input Fonts and select the option Show Keyboard Viewer . To see it in all its glory, we must click on the green maximize button in the window. Well, the truth is that on the MacBook Pro that I’m writing from, this keyboard appears quite blurry, so I don’t think this is going to be the keyboard that we’re going to see on a tablet.
A keyboard without keystroke feedback makes it quite uncomfortable to use, not to mention possible injury from repetitive micro-exertions of clicking on a hard surface without any damping. If that were the case, a server would surely end up carrying a wireless keyboard along with the tablet.
I think tablet users will be more interested in the improvements in speech recognition that Snow Leopard already incorporates, or in improvements in handwriting recognition than in a full-screen touch keyboard. On the SL announcement page we can see how it is now possible to enter Chinese ideograms using the trackpad.
Cult of Mac
Maybe I’m wrong, but these two improvements I’m commenting on seem much more relevant for a future tablet than the ones indicated in the entry of Cult Of Mac . And, if you want my opinion, SL is not yet an operating system that is specially prepared for touch devices . It would lack many more aids and functions that take advantage of all it can give if a screen where we can plant all our fingers and use it in a new way.