Steve Jobs Return to Apple and What It Means for the Tablet

The Wall Street Journal yesterday reported that Steve Jobs has returned from his medical leave to Apple.  This isn’t even the exciting part of the announcement.  They also claim that he will be putting all his focus into the long rumored netbook/tablet like device.

So here are my thoughts on the rumor mill going on about the new tablet.  First, its not going to be called the iTablet, or have tablet anywhere in the name.  Apple marketing is too good for that.  Apple likes to try to break the mold and market themselves as innovators and being different.  They are going to stay away from tablet and all the stereotypes of the old Windows tablets that were plagued with problems and not ready for mainstream consumers.

What name is available for them than? MacBook.  Apple recently moved the uni-body/aluminum MacBook to the MacBook Pro line.  The only thing remaining as a MacBook is the old white one that every college kid seemed to have.  The design is old and outdated by Apple standards, and I don’t think Apple is going to just kill of their MacBook line.  What the point of having a Pro line if there isn’t anything under it.  So they need something to fill this gap.  In comes the netbook/tablet device.  It should be priced cheaper than the Pro line as well.  Going out on a limb and guessing around $800 - $1000.

Next, there is the software.  This device is going to be connected like crazy to Apples mobile service.  Expect Mobile Me to be a big part of it.  Apple recently built a server farm out in NC that rivals among one of the largest in the world.  I don’t think that whole place is just for the iPhone.  The device isn’t going to be your main computer in most cases, so expect it to be marketed as a companion to your current desktop computer.  It should be able to access your main computer from pretty much anywhere and sync on the go.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see a 3G or broadband access as well, even though apple has seemed to avoid this on their laptops in the past.

The last thing I can’t really decide on is the App Store.  It seems logical that the thing will have an App Store since it has been such a big success for Apple, decpite all the bad press lately.  But if the device is running OSX there doesn’t seem much of a point.  People can just download the same apps they use on their desktop or home computer.

Anyways, those are my thoughts on the whole rumor mill going around about the mysterious device.  Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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