By Michael Evans
RENEWED Apple Tablet rumours continue to circulate. The latest is a story in the German Focus Magazin which suggests Apple will be introducing a "netbook type device" in the autumn. Other commentators maintain that we will not see such a device until "the next decade" (which could mean the WWDC in January next year). Many months ago we were hearing from the Far East that Apple had purchased quantities of 10-in touch screens, but this could well be so many red herrings. What does seem certain, though, is that something is being brewed at Cupertino, whether it comes this year or next.
My theory is that the company is clearing the way for the new device by the renaming of the 13.4-in laptop as a MacBook Pro. While it is totally logical and will certainly increase sales of the computer at the expense of the 15-in MBP, there could be other reasons for the name change. If you look at the white MacBook it seems pretty clear that this is the end of a line that is not destined for continued improvement. Instead, I believe it will soon be dropped in favour of the new, rumoured machine. This could be called simply the MacBook.
I see a smaller form factor, perhaps with a 12-in or, even, 10-in screen. The keyboard will be not be compromised to the same degree as it is on most current netbooks, and overall the feel will be Mac rather than netbook. I think the operating system will be Snow Leopard and not a version of the iPhone OS. The price will be higher than most current netbooks but up to 15% lower than the current MacBook. At that price it will walk off the shelves.
All this sounds very logical to me and I look forward to the resulting machine, whether it comes this autumn or next year.