There will be no MacTouch at Macworld 2008

As many of you know, I like to try and bring the hype machine down a notch here at Apple Gazette. I’m excited about Macworld – we all are – but there are times when our excitement and imagination get the better of us. I know, I’m guilty of it too. I’ve fallen victim to the interweb hype machine on more than one occasion – but if there is one thing I have learned in the year and a half i’ve been doing this, it’s that the Internet rumors WILL ALWAYS let you down.

For example, we’ve all heard about the iTablet, or MacTouch, or whatever the hell you want to call it. It’s coming, it’s coming, it’s coming….but there’s just one problem with that.

It’s not coming.

Here’s why.

It’s just plain not the right time for it. The MacTouch concept is an interesting one, to be sure, but now is not the right time for a variety of reasons.

1. Flash Memory is too expensive – The price on solid state hard drives just isn’t there yet. It’s too expensive to get a decent sized hard drive in one of these things, and if Apple is truly going to make it a Powerbook Duo styled docking device, it’s going to have to have a very large hard drive to be useful for people as a desktop and mobile system. You simply cannot expect someone to invest the kind of money this type of device will cost into a system with a 30Gb or less hard drive.

2. The device is too Niche at this point - Apple is not looking to develop products that only fill a small niche right now. They already have iPhone users, they already have iPod Touch users, and they already have Macbook users. The person that is in-between these two is just too small a market right now for Apple to spread their resources into developing.

3. The Modbook is available now – If Apple truly planned on a touch screen UMPC right now, I have very, very serious doubts that they would be allowing the creation and distribution of the Modbook. The Modbook is direct competition to the proposed MacTouch market, and Steve Jobs is just flat out not the type of guy to allow someone to create a competing product out of his own hardware.

The MacTouch, I’m afraid, is going to be like the long rumored ‘true’ video ipod. We read about it for months, if not years, before it ever became a reality. I think, at some point in the future, we might see a device kind of like the MacTouch that’s been rumored – but it isn’t happening at Macworld 2008.

The image above is a fan created mock-up. You can see more of it here.

Comments

  1. I was thinking (still am) that Apple is jumping on the eBook reader bandwagon.

    How about Apple’s version of the Kindle? Much more slick and really user friendly. Distribution would be very simple. Itunes!

    And if it was up to me, I would use the famous old name again.
    The iBook!

  2. Some thoughts in reply…

    1) Apple has shown a willingness to release products with a mini HD (iPod for example) knowing that in the near future a solid state version would be released. Maybe… Maybe not?

    2) The iPod Touch is an even more niche player the a “MacTouch” would be. It’s only for people that don’t need the functionality of an iPhone but want the video and WiFi aspects of the iPhone. This is a very small market compared to the MacTouch, depending on the dimensions. I have an iPod touch and really like it! I did not need the iPhone because I get a great deal on cell service from my nephew who works for sprint! I would love the iPod touch even more if it was about 100% bigger, i.e. a MacTouch?

    3) The Modbook would be irrelevant! Its still a laptop size and would not compete much with a small MacTouch…

    I really don’t have any idea if there will be a MacTouch or not, but it sure would be nice!

    Just My $.02

    TBM

  3. @ByrdMan

    Here’s my response to your responses. :P

    1) If anything like the MacTouch is released at Macworld 08, it would almost certainly have to have a mini HD in it. I think that the new, slimmer, Macbook that people had been saying will be SSD, will actually have a mini HD in it.

    2) I disagree that the iPod Touch is that much more niche for one reason – the iPod Touch is designed not only for people that don’t need the phone functionality of the iPhone – but also for those that simply don’t have AT&T service in their area in the US, or who can’t get out of their current contracts…but mainly, I think it’s for countries that flat out don’t have iPhones and aren’t going to have them anytime soon.

    I think the market is bigger than it seems – for example, the entire countries of Canada, China, and Japan are currently without the ability to have a legal iPhone. The iPod touch is a great alternative.

    3) Irrelevant or not, I simply do not believe that Steve Jobs would allow its creation and release with his hardware if he was going to be releasing a competing product.

    I do agree that it would be nice – I just don’t see it happening…yet.

    :)

  4. Combining points (1) and (2), it makes perfect sense that apple won’t release a Macbook Touch. There’s no market for expensive UMPCs, even if they come from Apple. It makes more sense for Apple to make their already ferociously popular Macbook, thinner, cheaper, and faster. And when the price is right, they’ll replace the HDDs with SDDs to make them even thinner and faster (probably not cheaper).

    (3) It is irrelevant. It’s a hack and the general public won’t trust a hack. It isn’t competition. As soon as Apple releases its much thinner, sexier, and innovative Macbook Touch, we’ll all forget about the Modbook, if we haven’t already.

    The Modbook is for people who simply can’t wait for the Macbook Touch, for people who can’t imagine life without being about to manipulate Leopard with their finger stylus.

  5. Agreed. Especially about #2.

    I wrote an article about all the various laptop rumors for Macworld (UMPC, tablet/touch, sub-notebook). A relevant quote from that article to this post is:

    “I believe Apple needs to make those kinds of day to day apps [email, etc.] practical for use on a touch device before any tablet PC has a shot at general success outside of a small niche, and I don’t think Apple wants to reside in niches.”

  6. The Werewolf says:

    (3) There’s actually not much Apple can do to stop ModBook.

    There’s nothing illegal in buying a product, rearranging it, adding on some stuff and then reselling it. It’s done all the time in the car industry. Nothing in the license stops you either. Remember, every ModBook starts as a MacBook – that’s one reason they’re so expensive.

    It’s not like they’re building a Mac from scratch.

  7. Well. You all seem covinced that there won’t be a Modbook.
    So why no reply on my idea? The iBook?

  8. @Michael

    Hey man – I missed that. Sorry :P

    I would love, love, LOVE, and Apple ebook reader – but I don’t think it’ll happen just yet.

    Right now its another one of those extremely niche markets that already has two major players in it. I’m not convinced that Apple will jump in there just yet.

  9. Well, Amazon is doing great business with the Kindle and I’ve heard and read quite good critics about that device.

    Over here in Europe these devices like the Kindle, iRex, iLiad and Sony are “must haves” so the time is right.

    And about major players? There were also major players on the MP3 market when the iPod came out. :-)

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