updated 02:25 pm EST, Thu December 31, 2009
Apple's tablet group in iPhone-like secrecy
Apple has maintained a level of secrecy surrounding its tablet project not seen since the iPhone about three years ago, John Gruber says. Referencing sources at Apple, the historically accurate technology writer reiterates that a Get Smart-like "cone of silence" exists surrounding those developing the tablet and virtually no information comes from those directly involved. Many of those involved are the same who developed apps like Calendar, Mail and Safari for the iPhone and underwent a similar routine in late 2006.
He also supports the widely spread rumor that CEO Steve Jobs has a personal interest in the project and has given it "undivided attention" for at least the half-year since returning to work. In many cases, employees simply accept the development as a universal truth at the company even if they have no direct knowledge.
"I don't know anyone who works at Apple who doubts these things; nor do I know anyone at Apple who knows a whit more," Gruber writes. "I don't know anyone who's seen the hardware or the software, nor even anyone who knows someone else who has seen the hardware or software."
He does state that sources understand Mac OS X 10.7 is on track for a developer release at WWDC in June. It's implied but not stated that Apple may follow a similar path as it did for Snow Leopard, where the company provides a very early release to developers one year and a near-final release the next.
Gruber goes on to speculate about the tablet's likely role and suggests it may be a full-fledged notebook replacement given its positioning between the iPod touch and the MacBook line. He adds that while the interface may be closer to that of the iPhone OS, it's more probable that the OS will be custom-tailored to a tablet-sized device and may not share some of the iPhone's limitations. As such, it would be treated more as a full computer and less as an oversized version of Apple's existing handhelds.
While this may be the case, at least one alleged leak has hinted that Apple is asking some developers to rework iPhone apps for a demonstration of the technology at the anticipated late January introduction.