With the Apple event kicking off in a matter of hours and – all things expected – the iPad tablet issue finally put to rest, do we have time for a few more quick rumors? Jason Calacanis, a guy with a pretty solid tech reputation, has been tweeting about his hands-on experience as an Apple tablet beta-tester; Calacanis claims to have been playing with the tablet for two weeks now, that it has an integrated HDTV tuner and PVR, wireless keyboard and monitor connectivity, front and rear camera functionality and integrated 3G with support for both Verizon and AT&T. Unfortunately there’s also a sting in the tail: the apparent battery life of the tablet.
He claims the tablet has an OLED touchscreen and “thumpads” on either side for mouse gestures, while gaming is Wii-level; fingerprint biometrics (with up to five profiles supported, catering for family use) and a solar panel on the rear are also mentioned. Calacanis dismisses the latter as more of a gimmick than anything else.
That’s a disappointment, as the most damning thing Calacanis suggests is that while the Apple tablet manages “great” battery life in ebook mode, when gaming or using WiFi he managed just two to three hours of runtime. As for pricing, he says $599, $699 or $799 depending on size and memory.
Whether or not all this is true – and we wouldn’t put it past Jason to be stringing the Twitter world along, what with the amount of hype and speculation we’ve seen recently – it does highlight a real danger point for whatever tablet-style device Apple may produce. Battery life has long been the significant shortcoming in tablets, capacity hamstrung by a desire to make such models thin and light enough to be readily portable. iPhone 3GS owners still aren’t satisfied with the runtime their smartphones manage, and while a 10-inch tablet would have more room for a bigger battery, it’ll also have a bigger display – still pretty much the most hungry of all the components, even when OLED – to power.
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