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Apple's tablet interface said to 'surprise,' Jobs pleased


As a rumored Jan. 26 media event approaches, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is said to be "extremely happy" with the company's unannounced tablet device, which is hinted to be more than just a large iPod touch.

Calling 2010 "The Year of the Tablet," Nick Bilton of The New York Times offers some alleged inside information on the device many expect will be announced in just over one month. He and a colleague spoke with a handful of current and former Apple employees, who gave cryptic responses about the rumored device.

One current senior employee at Apple would only say that Jobs is "extremely happy with the new tablet." Someone else who recently left Apple reportedly said that users will be "surprised how you interact with the new tablet."

Bilton also reiterates what sources have told AppleInsider and others: The development of the hardware was reset years ago, as it just wasn't coming together. However, some of the technological breakthroughs accomplished by Apple as it worked on the first iteration of the tablet hardware five years ago made it into other products, like the iPhone.

"If you have an iPhone, for example, you’re carrying around a mini version of an early Apple tablet," the report said. "He also says that one of the barriers to producing the early tablets was the lack of software. The success of the App Store and the eagerness of the publishers show that this won’t be a problem for any new devices."

Bilton goes on to mention other contenders for the tablet crown in 2010, most notably Microsoft's also-rumored concept touchscreen Courier. Microsoft has not confirmed whether the dual-screen device, which would fold out like a book, will ever come to market.

Apple developers were allegedly asked to prepare full-screen demos of their App Store software for an event next month. This has led to speculation that the forthcoming tablet runs a version of the iPhone OS, as it is implied to be compatible with existing iPhone and iPod touch apps at a higher resolution. Developers say they were told that the tablet will not be sold in January, but only demoed.

Reports have said the device could enter into mass production as early as February, with a spring release of the tablet. Analyst Gene Munster with Piper Jaffray has predicted a March launch with an average selling price of $600.