Apple tablet 'PC' rumors: FingerWorks, A9, Orange, and more...

Another week; another set of Apple tablet 'PC' rumors. As speculation seemingly reaches fever-pitch, new nuggets of information continue to get dug out of the frozen ground. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers ponder Apple's acquisition of FingerWorks, ARM's Cortex A9, and an apparent lapsus-de-langue by a Frenchman.

By Richi Jennings. January 12, 2010.

(AAPL)

Your humble blogwatcher selected these bloggy morsels for your enjoyment. Not to mention The Unbroken Thread...

    Brad Stone and Nick Bilton get chatty:

Conversations with several former Apple engineers who worked on the long-gestating tablet ... suggest that Apple may be asking users to learn a somewhat complex new vocabulary of finger gestures to control it, making use of technology it acquired in the 2007 purchase of a company called FingerWorks.

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This could indicate that Apple wants the tablet to be a fully functional computer, rather than a more passive device for reading books and watching movies. That could help justify a higher price. ... Analysts think the Apple tablet could cost anywhere from $700 to $1,000.
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Mike Schramm muses on this idea:

The latest stab in the dark [goes] all the way back to 2005, when Apple purchased a little company called FingerWorks, known for their work with gesture recognition on a multitouch interface like the Touchstream keyboard.

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Of course, we don't know how long ago these Apple engineers worked for the company. ... At this point, given all of the things you can do with a multitouch screen, finger gestures are probably the least impressive. But then again, Apple's been obsessed with multitouch for a while, so it's not a stretch to think they might be included some of this FingerWorks technology in a larger multitouch screen. Wait and see, wait and see.
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Arnold Kim spots an intriguing development:

The content of Fingerworks.com has been removed this week after remaining online for nearly 5 years after the acquisition of the company by Apple. The removal seems to correspond with the impending announcement of an Apple tablet later this month. ... Up until last week, Fingerworks.com retained photographs and details about their multi-touch keyboards and gesture pads they released for Macs years ago.

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It's been widely expected that this sort of all purpose multi-touch interface will be offered in Apple's upcoming tablet. Wayne Westerman who was one of the founders of Fingerworks has since been the author of many multi-touch patent applications from Apple, including advanced gesturing implementations for Mac OS X.
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Seth Weintraub digs around the CES component announcements:

Apple has been waiting for processing power/watt to come to a point where you can do interesting things on a tablet yet it doesn't run out of electricity in a few hours. ... If you've been following CES, you'll know the star of the show was ARM's Cortex A9 processor which showed itself with designs from Qualcomm, Broadcom and NVidia with products being released by Boxee and others.

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[A9 is] orders of magnitude faster than Intel's Atom family of processors, yet at the same time consumes less power. ... I believe this level of processor will be in the tablet, which it is made by Qualcomm, Nvidia, Apple's current ARM partner, Samsung or Apple's subsidiary PA Semi.
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Ingrid Lunden passes the freedom fries:

Bloggers got themselves tongue-tied Monday, when they leaped on comments - given by owner France Telecom’s deputy CEO during a French radio interview - as “confirmation” that the device is indeed launching soon, equipped with webcam, network connectivity for videophone chat and a retail partnership with Orange itself. Stephane Richard acknowledged the tablet in the interview with Europe 1.

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But it was nothing of the sort, the Orange PR machine [said] “A few comments taken out of context, then interpreted into English.” ... Still, this wouldn’t be the first time that an Orange executive spilled the beans about an upcoming Apple device. Back in 2007 ... the CEO Didier Lombard informally told journalists that Orange secured the deal weeks before the official announcement.
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Jared Newman calls it "a classic tale of 'gotcha' journalism":

It's all pretty silly because if you're willing to believe in rumors, there are plenty that have preceded this slip of the tongue. Famously, New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller referred to the device as "the impending Apple slate" at an internal meeting with his digital staff. There have been gobs of speculation from analysts, and on January 27 (or maybe January 26), Apple is reportedly going to hold a media event where all the rumors can be laid to rest.

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In or out of context, they would have been big news a few months ago, but now they're just another twig in the fire.
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  So what's your take?
Get involved: leave a comment.

 
 
And finally...

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him as @richi on Twitter, or richij on FriendFeed, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itblogwatch@richij.com.

 
 
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