Why I’d buy the rumoured 6″ Apple Tablet.

Posted on 19 August 2009, Last updated on 11 March 2010 by


None of the Apple Tablet rumours up until now had interested me. A 9 inch, 10 inch or 12 inch slate just doesn’t excite but he latest rumour from Business Week does.

Apple has developed prototypes of two different tablet machines—one that resembles a large-sized iPod and boasts a 6-inch screen….Apple’s tablet may cost as little as $679, Doherty says. Then there’s the Apple software mystique. “Apple has a real opportunity to take the magic of the iPhone interface and give that more real estate to do the tasks,” Kay says. “It’s an iPhone, but bigger. It’s something that you know, but bigger.”

For fun I’m going to assume it has the hardware and software I previously talked about in my iPod Plus predictions article.


  • CPU: 800Mhz Cortex A8. Proven. Available. 2-4 times processing power improvement. ARM and partners would put a lot of effort into this to showcase their new products into new segments. Update: It’s already used in the iPhone 3GS.
  • GPS module and an electronic compass (needed for auto and pedestrian navigation)
  • Enlarge the battery to 150% and make it removable. (Due to increased usage model)
  • Data-only 3G module. Unlocked.  (No voice to avoid it cutting across partner products and to ease a global rollout through carrier deals.)
  • Improve video and 3D co-processing to enable a step-change in capability in these areas.  (HD 720P and re-stimulate the existing developers to enhance their games and make 2nd versions)
  • Screen/TV output (digital)
  • Mid-range built-in webcam
  • Good storage. 16GB-64GB storage options.
  • Include an FM transmitter and receiver. (In-car use)
  • Weigh no more than 300gm. Challenging but possible.

Software wish-list is here.

I currently use three devices regularly. My N82 (for email and RSS reading) my Viliv X70 (for lazy-boy surfing, navigation, online video and some IM and social networking) and my Fujitsu Loox U/B50N (for much the same as the X70 but it’s the one I take when I leave the house just in case I need to do more typing. I use online applications for blogging and word processing) A 6 inch iPod Touch would probably replace both the X70 AND the Loox.

  • Lighter and smaller than both the UMPCs I use regularly.
  • Better on-screen keyboard than X70. Comparable with Loox keyboard input speed.
  • Research purposes
  • More fun than an XP-based device
  • Easy Access to TV, Video, Podcasts via iTunes
  • Games
  • New scenarios such as augmented reality and other location services
  • More stylish
  • Use as coffee-table newspaper/digital frame
  • Navigation capability (probably at a cost though)
  • Video playback around the house (flash is important here and a potential show-stopper)
  • Ebook reading / Online reading
  • Potentially longer battery life

A 6 inch Tablet wouldn’t really be a traditional productivity-focused device like a ultra mobile PC is but more of a high-end MID. Much more personal and using leading edge Web2.0 methods to get things done. It would really suit the way I work and given 3G and multitasking, $700

Risks and problems:

  • Flash
  • Keyboard
  • Browsing Speed
  • Multitasking
  • Cost in Europe
  • New MID products being launched

We’ve discussed this before and many of you had some excellent comments. Bluetooth stack was a common worry along with keyboard and the browser which some of you think should support plug-ins as well as flash. Some of you wanted remote desktop support too. We’ve talked about resolution. 1024×600 or 800×480? 800×480 would be OK for me. How do you feel now that the iPhone 3GS is out and there are other products on the market? Would you prefer an Android-based device?

Fingers crossed for a September surprise.

39 Comments For This Post

  1. Steve 'Chippy' Paine says:

    Why I’d buy the rumoured 6" Apple Tablet – as long as it had flash and multitasking support! http://twitpic.com/egd9r http://cli.gs/XR3uL

  2. Natalie Lafferty says:

    RT @chippy Why I’d buy rumoured 6" Apple Tablet, as long as had flash and multitasking support http://twitpic.com/egd9r http://cli.gs/XR3uL

  3. alese says:

    My question/concern is software – bigger screen and resolution would mean that applications would have to scale and am not sure current iPhone apps can do that.

  4. Norman D. Robinson says:

    I with you on 90% of what you say. My feeling is it should have a 7″ screen and 3G UNLOCKED

  5. Chippy says:

    My feeling is that what Windows can provide in 1024×600 on 7″, Apple would be able to do at 800×480 in 6″ and for me, 6″ is better than 7″ when it comes to on screen keyboard thumbing.

  6. Calvin Grinder says:

    Apple has from the beginning of the iPhone dev program strongly advised developers to account for the fact that, over time, the screen size and resolution they’re working with could change, and it would be beneficial for them (devs) to design with that goal in mind. We’ll see how many SMART devs followed Apples advice.

  7. Marc says:

    A 6″ iPod, with the ability to do flash and they’ll have my cash in a second.

    Half a second if they add 3G data.

    By flash, I’m only really concerned about playback of site embedded media and I’m pretty sure the 3GS processor could cope just fine with that.

    800×480 is fine with me. Apple have clearly demonstrated they can make a web browser that defies resolution. The speed of double tap to auto fit, zooming and panning would make 800×480 work well on pretty much any site.

  8. Chippy says:

    800×480 wouldn’t need any zooming if you could force the browser not to default to full-width view.

  9. Marc says:

    Well, yes and no. The iPhone doesn’t need any zooming on that basis either!

    There are still going to be columns of text that will be much nicer to read with a quick double tap to fit to width. Clearly this need would be greatly reduced by the greater screens size and improved dpi.

    A large iPhone (no voice needed, but flash is) is pretty much my dream device now. I’ve got pretty quick on the landscape iPhone keyboard too.

    And I come firmly from the MS anti Macs/OSX camp!

  10. Michael J. Pesare says:

    RT @chippy: Why I’d buy the rumored 6" Apple Tablet – as long as it had flash & multitasking! http://twitpic.com/egd9r http://cli.gs/XR3uL

  11. Yacko says:

    Leopard 10.5.8 update seems to have a couple of resolution independence enhancements under the hood. Snow Leopard may finally bring full resolution independence which will also affect the iPhone OS. Whether previous appstore apps run fine or need a tweak, I’ll bet most of them will eventually run, given the gold mine of running on a tablet.

  12. Marc says:

    A video on youtube (that I can’t now find) supposedly of a larger Apple tablet in use showed iPhone apps appearing as iPhone resolution widgets within the main screen which could then dragged around and positioned anywhere.

    This would work fine on a larger tablet as it’s just like having individual windows, but a 6″ would probably need some sort of full screen scaling.

  13. Ken Brown says:

    Why I’d buy the rumoured 6″ Apple Tablet. | UMPCPortal – Ultra … http://tinyurl.com/mzhqmq

  14. dj.cicho says:

    There are two IF:

    IF it will not multitask
    IF it needs iTunes and computer to work
    then it is not independent device; not good for proper work.

    I hope it will work on full Mac OSX with ability to connect to appstore.

  15. Knusperkeks says:

    Sounds interesting, but i’m not sure if it could replace my umpc (Sony UX380N).
    Ok, the battery life would be nice, be the performance of such a device?!
    On all ARM-Based which are avaliable at the moment, surfing isnt that fun compared to a MID or UMPC with a X86 based cpu!
    But the idea of such a device sounds quite cool ;)

  16. Ux says:

    Mac OS X inside and video-out port on a 300 to 600 g small device tablet. That is all needed for success. The iPod touch is too limited with its crippled OS inside.

    The MacBook Air is too heavy and large, besides being port-limited.

    Or bring a MacBook Air mini at 1/4 the MacBook Air size, no more than 600 g and with real independent ports: video-out, Ethernet, Firewire, USB2, SD card.

    Or bring them all: iPod TABLET, Mac TABLET and MacBook TABLET. This is certainly the best approach, for anyone to get any of them.

  17. Mike Cane says:

    *rubs hands in glee* So, YOU would buy a 6″ iTablet. I’m really shocked. Now to wait with anticipation for JKK to fall under the Apple Spell too! *maniacal laughter*

    That said, I want to see this upcoming 5″ Archos Android minitablet. It’d be sadly ironic if that came out this year, Apple in 2010 — because I’d probably wind up with the Archos first. Several eBook programs for Android already.

  18. MelonSqueeze says:

    at 6″ it would HAVE to lose the bezel completely, otherwise it would be too large & quite goofy looking “grande iPhone”

  19. uMP2k says:

    Sounds interesting all right. Ever since my earliest PDA days (a Newton of course!)I have followed every rumour about Apple getting back into this space.

    Unfortunately, I am one of what seems to be an ever dwinderling minority that loves HWR and the ability to use my my mobile devices as a notepad – hmmmm, that must be a hangover from those damn Newton Message Pads :). Lack of notetaking ability on the iphone’s capacitive screen would be a killer for me.

  20. johnkzin says:

    Yeah, the 6″ device should be called a “Newton II” :-)

  21. johnkzin says:

    The 10″ is supposed to have full OS X compatibility, and not just iPhone compatibility (which is what the 6″ is supposed to be). So, I’m much more interested in the 10″.

    What I’m hoping for is: USB Host/OTG and Mini Display Port (for KVM, and also for USB storage options; pref. 3 or 4 USB slots), Desktop OSX with enhancements for finger/tablet use, split thumb virtual keyboards (similar to the keyboard-less Samsung Q1’s), at least one full size SDHC card slot (preferably two), an ability to either run some form of VMWare/Parallels for running Linux, or compatibility with Ubuntu for multi-booting, lots of RAM, _decent_ amount internal storage, LOTS of battery life (at least 4ish, but preferably closer to 8 or 12), and an ability to charge via a mini-USB client port (including a “hard drive mode” like some macbooks have/had, that can be used when charging via USB client).

    If it has all of that, I’m definitely in for the 10″.

    My main interests for the “smaller than a netbook” device right now are the Nokia Maemo Phone, or whatever the next generation of keyboard equiped Android phones might be.

  22. Stan says:

    Why would people who already have the iPhone buy this? Flash?! I don’t want to carry something that does basically the same thing, but it’s bigger and heavier. At least most MIDs have much more functional OS. Any implementation of the iPhone OS would only cripple such device. Apple won’t succeed on the MID market, cause Apple creates only mainstream products. Oh..and I don’t believe it’s going to have FM receiver if it ever gets released.

  23. johnkzin says:

    I don’t think the target market is “people who have iphones”. I think the target market is “the people who don’t want an iphone”, for various niche reasons in there. The main niche being “the size is too small”.

    So, the question of “why would people who already have an iphone buy this?” is sort of moot. That’s not who would buy it.

  24. Stan says:

    Considering the huge amount of iPhone owners out there I think Apple will lose a lot of potential customers if it doesn’t make it appeal to them. People who don’t want an iPhone will not want this for the same reasons.
    A similar 5″ device already exists – viliv s5. Do you think Apple would ever implement a fully functional OS in their 6″ device?! I think not!

  25. johnkzin says:

    I’m willing to bet that there’s a sustainable market of people who don’t have an iPhone, but will buy this. I don’t think they need to worry about it “not selling” due to being too close in size to the iPhone and iPod Touch. For one, it’s nearly twice the screen size.

    That right there will make it substantially better as a video and e-book platform. For people (like me) who are only willing to carry one pocketable device, have a non-iPhone for good reasons … but only avoid the iPod Touch due to the 2 pocketables rule … this might be a device they’d want.

    (not for me — it’s still too small; I want an 8″-10″ screen … definitely not smaller, definitely not larger, thus my interest in the 10″ device).

  26. Marc says:

    Didn’t they say Apple wouldn’t succeed in the phone market too? Instead they rewrote the rule book and have given a good kick to all other phone makers and made them raise their game.

    I own and love my iPhone (whilst being a Mac hater) and I would buy a 6″ tablet in a second if we got the full internet experience on it. That would be an ideal device to be in the living room for the quick browse that I’ll currently pull my phone out for and wish it had a larger screen.

    Plus as already mentioned it would be a good size for a media player and eBook reader.

  27. Tai-Pan says:

    Thanks to the previous generations of UMPCs costing in the neighborhood of $900 your price to tablet lovers of $700 dollars sounds good, but to the masses will they pay $700?

    At this point I suspect Apple not looking to put out any niche products and would be forced to charge less to hit a mass market. Plus i think they’ll highlight the products ability to function as an eBoook reader to give it more appeal. Maybe they’ll have a bundle deal with Borders who’s eBook reader doesn’t have the same success as Kindle and have the price subsidized further down.

  28. Marc says:

    When have Apple cared about releasing expensive devices?

    You can get MP3 players that do a better job than an iPod for much less, yet they sell them by the bucket load. They make Mac books and iMacs that cost way more than the equivalent PC and they still sell plenty.

    Apple have created a brand that people expect to pay for and more importantly are willing to pay for.

    One of two things will happen from this. Plenty of Mac lovers and a few iPhone lovers will buy it. It will be a high end niche product that the Apple world will love and they will do fine.

    Or they do an ‘iPhone’ and give the MID market the kick it needs (like they did with the phone market) and the whole thing really kicks off. We’re about there with the MID hardware now but the operating systems are rubbish. We all know Apple knows operating systems…

  29. Stan says:

    Apple knows what?! iPhone OS has great applications but they are not made by them. They had to go to OS 3.0 to implement functions that should have been there in the fist place…and then what?! Their semi-capable MID will give the market a kick??? By the time it gets released most of you won’t buy it cause it’s going to be locked in so many ways. Where the iPhone succeeded, this thing will fail..oh and the iPhone became so popular because everyone has a phone. How many people have a MIDs?!

  30. apa7714 says:

    Even if the only thing they do is make the Touch with 6″ screen, it still would be a great device.

    There are those out there that say “Smaller is better…” then there are those out there that say” laptops are the way to go…”

    In my opinion a rock solid MID is the best a both worlds. In fact I believe that laptops will (and soon) become dinosaurs if a company would make a MID or UMPC that everyone can use and not the issues that come with portable devices. Lets face it, a laptop is not that portable. Yeah it’s a hell of a lot easier than a desktop, but you still need to keep your bag with you with all of your gear…

    1. Your power supply is needed because the battery life of most laptops is horrible.
    2. Your mouse, because for me, I can’t stand using the touch pads that are on laptops.

    The device Chippy wrote about would be great, except I would up the processor.

    I have the 2nd gen touch and I use Quick Office on it. I have everything my laptops has, minus the CD drive. I can use my MS office programs, Listen to my music, watch a video, use GPS via my wifi. I get great battery life, and speed.

    Now if your going to tell me that Apple might make a 6″ version. GREAT GOOGLIE MOOGLIE!!! I’ll be first in line to buy one. If they could add just a few tweeks…it would be a GREAT MID device! There I said it…the Touch is a MID. Except for size…it can do everything a regular MID or UMPC can do. If you want a program that mimics what you have on your MID or UMPC…well there’s a app for that. lol

    For anyone that want to disagree, remember this. If you want to be able to run power hungry programs…play FPS or MMO games like the one you have on your laptop…Keep your laptop.

    If you want a device that can play movies in HD, watch TV, browse the internet, make calls, use GPS, do some productivity..office apps etc, play great games. Then a MID or a Touch is for you!

    I hope Apple makes this device and I hope they’ll listen to what the people really want. Now about the cost….Maybe there will be a stimulus for that one! LOL

    The only device that would rival it in terms of size, power, components, is the Viliv line of devices. In fact if I’m not mistaken…they both use Samsung parts. The Viliv looks like it needs some refinements, but there’re on the right track.

  31. tal says:

    you can say the same for the Archos 5″.
    My question is whether these two will really have that web-cam and provide full Skype experience (video included).


  32. Jan says:

    I really hope they won’t make a 6″ device.

    I own a nokia 810 and an iPhone. The nokia was never put to use much. Maybe that’s a software issue: 840×400 without apple’s fantastic zooming experience is not great for browsing. And good dedicated apps were also missing. But despite that, it also seems to be a hardware problem to me. For me the iPhone size is the optimum and maximum for a “small device” and I believe that convergence makes only sense on small devices. The nokia was too big to put in the pocket. Not on it’s own, but next to a small other nokia phone – yes, too big. ( the other pockets are in use for wallets and tissues so a second gadget pocket is no option).
    So why would I buy a 6″ iPhone? I cannot pocket it.
    It must be a non convergent device then, and I do not think tablets are meant to replace laptops. So I think it will be meant as a media consumption device. Video, somewhat larger apps, ebooks. Typing is not very important on such a device. If you want to type, bring your MacBook air. And for short messages the iPhone is just fine. But reading a book on a large 7 or 8 inch screen: that makes sense to me.

  33. apa7714 says:

    I agree that smaller for a cell phone is great, but were talking about a mid/tablet device here. Smaller is not always better. I have several devices with me all the time.

    HP 211 PDA 4″ screen…In a case with belt clip
    iPod Touch 2g…Pocket
    Normal cell…On a belt clip

    I ordered the Viliv s5 but it was taking over 2 months to get it from Dynamism so I canceled my order.

    My HP is in a Otterbox protective case, which also has a belt clip. It does fit in my pocket, but I needed the protective case for my work.

    I hate keeping things in my pockets. Cell phone…wallet…devices…By the time you have all that stuff in your pockets your pants will start falling down.

    For those who want to do a little bit more and have all the features of the phone and not kill there eye trying to look and a little screen and cramp there fingers trying type something…then the MID is for you.

    I might give Dynamisn another try.

  34. Jan says:

    We were talking about MIDs but also about the Apple tablet. If you are taking 3 devices with you all the time I can see that a MID makes sense for you. And for Chippy and umpcportal as well – this site wouldn’t be called umpcportal if the folks here did not believe in MIDs. However, imagine that you are Steve Jobs and you own a MacBook Air and an iPhone. What type of in between concept would:
    1. Feel right for someone having these two apple devices
    2. Be marketable as a separate third type of device without cannibalizing either the iPhones or the laptops?
    3. Appeal to the masses?

    I don’t think a MID (as in 6″ device very well suited for carrying around and thumb typing) is that device, it shares too many functions with both iPhone and laptop. However a big tablet specificly targeted at media consumption would not cannibalize the iPhone because it could be used to sell hires video , hires games, and ebook content – new content for Apple. That’s something you would not like to consume on a small iPhone screen. Nor would you like to do that on a laptop. I’d really like to see Apple make such a device.

    About the OS: I think it will definately look more like the iPhone OS than Mac OS X. OS X is not suited for touch, would give the tablet too much laptop functionality and the new tablet definately needs it’s own apps, so an closed app store driven environment makes more sense.

  35. apa7714 says:

    Over the past few months I have been hunting for one device to replace all of the ones I currently carry. I don’t need it to be pockable, just run all of the programs I have. Mostly MS office. I would love to get the Viliv S5, but if this device is Mac OS X or Snow Leopard or a variant of them, I might hold out to see what this new device brings.

    Most of my work…forms etc has drop down fields and uses data bases. So there’s not much in the way of typing. Just check the box etc. The program on my HP cost a bundle, but it’s dated not and the screen is not so hot outside.

    We’ll just have to wait and see what they bring out. I’ll cross my fingers! LOL

  36. johnkzin says:

    The rumor is that the 6″ tablet will be based on iPhone OS X, and the 10″ tablet will be based on Mac OS X. That actually fits my needs quite well.

    As I’ve said before, I only want to have 2 mobile devices:
    1) pocketable device: phone, Android or Maemo or _maybe_ iPhone OS X (if there was a physical keyboard), decent SSH (putty not included), gmail, google reader (prefer full gmail and reader, but I can make do with the android/iphone mobile versions … but the wep mobile version is NOT acceptable), physical qwerty keyboard, highly prefer tethering options (unf. no good solution for that, for linux/mac users, right now).

    2) mid-range device: netbook or tablet (pref. convertible tablet netbook), Maemo or Ubuntu or Mac OS X. And, in addition to the apps above, I also want a VNC viewer client that will integrate wtih the SSH client … maybe I’d be ok with Apple’s remote desktop client, though.

    If the pocketable can’t do tethering, then I might want the mid-range to have a 3G option. Or I might go with a Mifi or Cradlepoint. I’m a little bit open on that front. (I don’t consider the mifi or cradlepoint to be a 3rd device, because it’d be in my gadget bag all the time, so I wouldn’t really notice it nor handle it, except to turn it on or off)

    So, getting back to what you’re saying: the 6″ device is probably not going to be running Snow Leopard, nor a variant of it. It’ll be running the iPhone OS, if the rumors are true.

    And, unlike you, I’d never carry 3 devices :-) my G1 pretty much does the job of being my PDA/MID, phone, and music player…

  37. apa7714 says:

    Yeah…need to break down and get rid on my basic cell. AT&T has horrible coverage in my area. That’s why I just stuck with the Touch. The PDA I have is for work only, so I only carry it when I’m working or walking around doing inspections. I’ll have to wait and see if Verizon finally gets the iPhone in ’10. AT&T has exclusive rights till 2012, but rumor has it Verizon will get it as early as spring 2010.

  38. CGI says:

    An itouch at 6″ would interest me. I owned an itouch and loved it. Just too small for me as I carry a blackberry for work that does everything I need on the small format.

  39. tino says:

    I think a 6″ iPod touch will have noticable screen increase over my old Nokia n800. I assume the iPhone apps will work, which means it will have easily 4-5 times more apps than Maemo tablet. Of course it an Apple so I only hope for 2-3 hr battery.

    Price wise if its close to Atom Vilva, or WM 4.8″ varians I would be cool with it. That means the $500 ballpark.

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