A Mac Tablet This Fall?

So is Apple going to finally produce some form of touchscreen Tablet PC? AppleInsider and MacDailyNews both have some interesting news, one in the form of Apple’s quarterly finance call yesterday, and the other in the form of rumors.

AppleInsider reported that Apple’s CFO, Peter Oppenheimer, was planning an important “product transition” sometime between July and September of this year, a transition that will have ramifications going into next year, at least as far as Apple’s profit margains.

This mysterious product will have “technologies and features that others can’t match,” according to Oppenheimer.

AppleInsider points out that Apple was working on new ways of using multi-touch technology going back to September of last year and beyond. It’s pretty clear (at least to me) that Apple has invested a lot of time and money into touchscreen computing, and it’s paying off right now with the iPhone and with the iPod Touch, and there’s no reason they won’t scale this up to a larger device – after all, they consider the iPhone and iPod Touch to be running a version of OS X, and their development tools should allow for it.

MacDailyNews is calling it the “MacBook Touch”, going by rumors from one of their sources.

Said source mentions a SuperDrive appearing in this device. I don’t agree with that part (everything else is fairly plausible). They’ve just spent a lot of time convincing people that they don’t need internal drives in the Apple MacBook Air, and given that they’ve developed a small USB-powered external optical drive plus the software that lets you basically share the optical drives of other machines, I’d think they’d either work on reducing the size or use that space for more battery.

Keep in mind as well that earlier this year, Apple was filing patents for an interesting dock-like setup for laptops (AppleInsider) that allowed for an ultraportable laptop to be inserted in a dock to form a larger iMac-like device.

We should know something in the next few months.