The Evidence for the Mac Tablet
In early 2003, the pre-expo hype of MacWorld San Francisco brought to surface many rumors of an Apple-branded Tablet.
Scattered rumors of Apple PDAs and Tablets have littered the rumor scene before, but have always fallen short.
The last official word we heard was from Steve Jobs in September 2002, when he was questioned directly about Tablet PC's. His response seemed to dismiss the likelyhood of such an Apple device: "We're not sure the tablet PC will be successful. It's turned into a notebook that you can write on. Do you want to handwrite all your e-mail? We have all the technology ourselves to do that - we just don't know whether it will be successful."
Matthew Rothenberg, however, rekindled this topic when he posted a speculative article in November 2002, feeling that Apple would likely pursue a tablet-based computer. This speculation was apparently based on more than just his own personal thoughts -- since on January 5th, 2003, he wrote an eWeek article which suggested that the Apple Tablet may make its appearance at MacWorld San Francisco:
My sources sketch the following picture: A device that superficially resembles a large iPod with an 8-inch diagonal screen, lacks a keyboard, packs USB and FireWire ports, and runs Mac OS X along with a variety of multimedia goodies.
While this did not come to pass, ThinkSecret also claimed it a possibility in their roundup (though Rothenberg and ThinkSecret historically appear to have similar sources).
Even CNet posted an item reporting that Apple was planning on introducing something portable aimed towards home entertainment... ranging from tablet to portable video pod.
A final tidbit of interest is a rumor that had come to us in late December -- well before the above articles... that Apple would be releasing a 17" Powerbook at MacWorld Expo, as well as an Apple Tablet Mac. At that time, the 17" Powerbook was dismissed as fanciful speculation... but turned out to be true, which now draws interest in the possibility that an Apple Tablet was in the works...
While it appears that only 21% of readers feel that the Apple Tablet rumors were based on truth, we feel that this consistent information from a number of typically reliable sources points towards the existence of an Apple Tablet project.