Microsoft vs Apple: Keep Taking the Tablets

Some Mac fans seem to think that Microsoft’s CES announcement of an HP built tablet PC is tattyfilarious; some kind of last minute spoiler designed to upset the Apple cart that is the rumoured iSlate/iTablet/iWhatever.

For example, Apple analyst Andy Ihnatko had this to tweet:


But why the surprise? Microsoft have been in the tablet PC business for a loooong time – as can be seen in this 2002 tablet PC report from Inspect-a-Gadget’s own Eric Doyle. On top of that, Microsoft’s commitment to the tablet format goes back to Windows XP which had it’s own tablet specific edition. And, hello? Windows 7 multi-touch? Heck – MS even had its own round of tablet rumour swirlage last year, with persistent expectation that Ballmer’s CES appearance would be used to unveil the Microsoft Courier, a dual screen device first mooted in September last year. 

This seems to have all been forgotten – as though Apple now owns the copyright on the very idea of a PC that looks like a big iPhone. Which, I suppose, it sort of does. But, tablet PCs have been around for much, much longer. Have none of these people seen Star Trek? Of course they have. They’re nerds.

Meanwhile, at the time of writing, Apple has kept a tight lid on its plans to issue a tablet device – refusing to comment either way on the stack of rumours piling up around its slate strategy. And all there have actually been are rumours. Rumours that will most likely come true, of course…

Personally? I’m looking forward to an Apple tablet announcement as much as the next gibbering geek. I think the first half of the 10s (as I will now lovingly call this new decade) will be dominated by high-end tablets, followed swiftly by a slew of mid-range, Atom powered web slates for, you know, ordinary people.  Apple will have a part to play in this – but that’s all. A part.

Let the games begin.

And – have a look above my post to see Faisal’s first report on the specs of the HP Slate.