Rumor: Apple Tablet to Be Called iSlate?

Apple-TabletApple and rumors: a match made in heaven. On one hand you have a company which is obsessed with secrecy, and on the other hand you have hordes of die-hard fans who would go to any length to uncover what’s brewing inside the Apple labs.

Over the past week, we have done our bit to indulge the rumor mills about Apple Tablet. And here comes another juicy speculation that has been buzzing through the intertubes. Apple Tablet may be named iSlate.

The basis for these rumors? Well if you are looking for something concrete, there isn’t anything. But, MacRumours has managed to unearth that in 2007 Apple had purchased the domain iSlate.com. The domain is currently owned by Markmonitor.com – a brand protection firm. Not only that, TechCrunch also discovered that islate.co.uk is also owned by Markmonitor.com, while islate.fr is owned by a firm called Wilson & Berthelot, which happens to list Markmonitor as the technical contact for the domain name registration. Markmonitor was also responsible for registering islate.info and islate.biz. And, both of these domains were registered on the same date as islate.co.uk – 17th November 2006. It is quite possible, that Markmonitor was hired by Apple to register the domains on their behalf.

iSlate-Apple-Tablet

Within of a week of the domains being registered, a company called Slate Computing filed a US word mark for ‘ISLATE’. What is Slate Computing all about? These are the goods and services provided by Slate Computing according to the filing information:

Computers; computer software, namely, database management software, electronic mail and messaging software, Internet browser software, paging software, database synchronization software, software for accessing, browsing and searching online databases, software for creating spreadsheets, tables, graphs and charts, software for organizing and analyzing data, software for word processing, software for creation and display of presentations including text and graphics, software used for image editing, image processing, image acquisition, image file management, image viewing, image sharing, and the creation of documents incorporating images, software for use in developing websites, software to help users create, edit, organize, search, transfer, publish and subscribe to weblogs, blogs, podcasts, web broadcasts and news and information feeds on global and/or local computer and telecommunications networks, software for use in authoring, downloading, transmitting, receiving, editing, extracting, encoding, decoding, playing, storing and organizing audio, video and still images, software for authoring digital content, software for personal information management, software for DVD authoring, software for the electronic storage and retrieval of electronic calendar files, software with clock and alarm clock functionality, telephony management software, character recognition software, application development tool software for personal and handheld computers, software for the redirection of messages, Internet e-mail, and/or other data to one or more electronic handheld devices from a data store on or associated with a personal computer or a server, and software for the synchronization of data between a remote station or device and a fixed or remote station or device; computer operating system software; computer utility software; computer peripherals. notebook computers; laptop computers; tablet computers; computer servers; handheld computers; mobile computers; hard drives; audio speakers; speakers for computers; radios; cameras; video cameras; telephones; mobile telephones; personal digital assistants; electronic personal organizers; electronic notepads; blank magnetic data carriers; computer gaming machines; microprocessors; memory boards; computer monitors; keyboards; computer input devices, namely, touch screens, styluses, mice, trackballs and shuttle dials; computer cables; modems; printers; computer accessories, namely, computer battery chargers, battery packs, docking stations, adaptors, computer wired and wireless remote controls, audio headphones and earphones, and replacement parts for all the aforesaid goods.

Bear with me for a moment, because at this point things get really interesting. A quick online search provides absolutely no information about ‘Slate Computing’. For a company that doesn’t have any online presence (and no one has heard about), Slate Computing definitely manufactures a hell of a lot of products. What are the odds that Slate Computing is a shell company? Is it just co-incidence that their product line seems match with Apple’s?

TechCrunch also uncovered that, ‘Slate Computing’ had filed a trademark for the term in the European Union too. The trademark was filed on the same day (21st Nov, 2006) and the legal representative for the firm was the UK-based firm Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge. These are the same guys Apple had worked with while trademarking the term ‘MacBook’ in the EU.

The evidence behind the iSlate speculations is by no means concrete. But at least there is some evidence to back up these speculations, which is a lot more than what we can say about most Apple related rumors.

Rumours of Tactile Multi-Touch keyboard on Apple Tablet

News through the grape-vine is that the Apple Tablet may use a dynamically configurable Multi-touch Tactile Keyboard. This basically means that the screen may serve as a real keyboard by deploying physical bumps and dots to make the keyboard more finger-friendly. These bumps simply retract when the device is not in it’s keyboard mode.

Such keyboards work by using an articulating frame underneath the screen. The articulating frame may also be configured to cause concave depressions similar to mechanical key caps in the surface.

Apple has been known to patent an article with the same features back in 2007. This article clearly states:

The articulating frame may provide key edge ridges that define the boundaries of the key regions or may provide tactile feedback mechanisms within the key regions

A second design in the article lacks such a frame. It is more resistant to touch at the center of the keys but is softer at the edges.

It should be noted that pointing and typing are completely different and both of them require different surfaces. While pointing requires a smooth, frictionless surface, typing requires buttons whose edges have to be felt clearly by the fingers.

That, combined with Apple’s new patent this week, about a multi-touch controller that uses transparent touch sensors and does not require an opaque surface, points clearly to this dynamic tactile multi-touch screen.

Apple Tablet Demos in January

Apple Tablet
Apple Tablet

Apple has announced the demo session of it’s new Apple Tablet in January. Apple tablet is a new mobile device from Apple but with a much larger display. Rumours are floating all around and the approximate size of the screen is expected to be between 7 – 12 inches! BoyGenius claims it to be a 7-inch display though. Still, we may hope for a larger display until anything is really confirmed.

Financial Times hasn’t stated it’s sources but has stated that:

Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) could unveil the Internet-focused device next month as part of its strategy to revamp iTunes into a marketplace for streaming movies and music rather than just purchasing them.

It should be noted that this is just a demo, the actual device does not go for sale until some time later. I think this is the fact responsible for the rumours that it will be a closed demo and will be meant for only developers. But this does not prove that there are no apps available for this device. It has been heard from sources that Apple began to reach out to developers for this device some time back.

Anyways, this demo will give other developers a lot of time to develop their own apps. One more possibility is that this demo is just for developers to get an overview of this device and to write some bug fixes.

It’s again a rumour but the actual device is expected to be released in March, 2010.

Apple Tablet Video?

The Next Web discovered a video which could potentially turn out to be the actual Apple Tablet. Looking at the video, one thing is for sure, if this is the one, it surely looks pretty cool.

What is more interesting is that, the so called Apple tablet used in the video has a very familiar UI that you will see in the iPhone, and uses accelerometer to navigate through paged content. However, this video might turn out to be fake, so don’t get your hopes very high.

Watch the video after the jump.

Apple Tablet, Fake Google Chrome OS, Microsoft Store Removes Crapware, Digg Frontpage Updates, Apple meets BlackBerry, Google GPS sinks Tomtom and Garmin [WUITW]

diggupcoming

Apple Looking to release Tablet Soon – According to Business Insider, Apple Engineers are busy making rounds of China, where most of Apple’s prototypes are created. They hint that the Apple Tablet is imminent to arrive sooner than later.

Microsoft Banishes Trial/Crapware from PCs sold in Microsoft Store – Lee Matthews from DSQ, points out how Microsoft is doing away with the excessive trialware and unwanted crapware from PCs sold in the Microsoft Store. Good news for people who have had who buy new PCs. If you have a PC loaded with crapware, try out a software which will help you clean up pre-installed crapware from your system. For the curious types, here is a ware dictionary, which explains the different types of Software (i.e. Trialware).

Digg Playing Around With New Frontpage Feature – Digg is playing around with a new feature, where they will allow users to vote on whether or not   story should make it to the Digg Front page. Nothing is sure for now, but this would be a good feature to have, considering the amount of gaming that goes on with Digg.

Apple iPhone Closing in on Blackberry – Apple iPhone has always been a consumer favorite, but looks like it is making inroads into RIM’s pre-dominant business device, Blackberry. According to TUAW, recent stats show that, iPhone is quickly climbing up the charts and closing the gap on Blackberry.

Fake Google Chrome OS Makes Rounds of the Internet – There has been no dearth of fake OS videos and images, however losers are still playing around on the curiosity (Didn’t curiosity kill the cat? ;-)) of people. PC World reports about some fake Google Chrome OS builds doing the round of the Internet.

Motorola Droid’s Google GPS tanks TomTom and Garmin shares – Google’s announcement on offering free turn-by-turn navigation on the highly anticipated Motorola Droid, has had some after effects on the NYSE, lowering the share value of the GPS market leaders TomTom and Garmin.

Editor’s Note: What’s up in the Tech World?, is a daily digest, where we write about news we could not cover throughout the day. We try to cover most of the news, but tend to miss a few out. This daily digest has been converted from our earlier posts, which were on a similar line, but had been discontinued for some time. You can catch up on all the missed news by visiting the category.

Image Credit: Tech Crunch

WWDC 2009 Predictions

WWDC starts in less than 4 hours and there are endless predictions/speculations been made.

IPhone:

Earlier, we reported about IPhone 32GB.  Apple’s next generation IPhone 3Gs might come with much faster processors and more RAM. The much needed functionality, video recording, is total turn on. This might come for the same prices, 16/32GB for 199/299$, respectively. The battery life is also expected to increase by neatly 15-20 pc.

I expect new models to look much cooler. There have been image leeks of IPhone 3Gs, But I am not quite sure if they are original, seems photoshopped for me.

Financial times reported of cheaper IPhones, for 99$. I dunno how is that possible unless they add 2-3 features of IPhone with a calling functionality. Nevertheless Apple might pull a lot of crowd with it.

IPhone OS3.0:

The major changes I expect with IPhone OS3.0 is sharing the 3G network of IPhone with your computer. Hope Apple has found out a solid way to do it, as it has tied up with so many mobile operators all over the world. But I am genuinely looking forward towards it.

Apple Tablet:

I have been hearing of Apple tablet ever since i was a kid. And I hope Apple announces it for sure, this time at least. :)

Are you keeping a watch on WWDC?

UPDATE: You can track on WWDC here and here