Mr Jobs, I’m ready for my Tablet Mac

Now that the dust raised by the Apple/Intel news has settled somewhat, various sites are asking the big question: what does it all mean? If The Register’s readers are typical, a significant chunk of people are going to hold off purchasing new Macs – not just until the Intel-powered versions are out, but until version 2 of the Intel Macs are out. Only the truly fearless would invest in a brand new, version 1.0 machine due to the inevitable teething problems that you find with new kit (the same rule applies to software).

I was gagging for a G5 PowerBook; now I’ll obviously have to wait for Apple to make an Intel-powered one, and that could take some time – so no new Mac for me this year, unless I cave in and decide to make a Mac Mini Media Centre. I’m sure there are plenty of other people in a similar position making similar decisions, and while price cuts could tempt some upgrades I reckon I’ll hang on for the Intel kit.

Of course, there’s been lots of coverage of the Apple/Intel story but from what I’ve seen, it all tends to focus on just one area of Apple’s business: computers. That’s an important part, naturally, but it’s not Apple’s only business. There’s the all-conquering iPod, nifty things like AirTunes and any devices that Apple has sitting in its labs.

A number of pundits have pointed out that Apple can do just fine if people hang on to upgrade their PowerMacs and PowerBooks for a year or two; it’s got billions in the bank, after all. But there’s another possibility, too: that while Apple works on its next-gen Macs, it might also do something interesting in the iPod arena.

A video iPod is still pretty unlikely (but not impossible – when Jobs rules something out, he means “not yet” rather than “no”), but what if Apple were to unveil a Tablet Mac this year? It might not be a fully-fledged computer; even something akin to the rather lovely Nokia 770 Internet Tablet – which, if Apple doesn’t launch a Tablet Mac, is definitely on my shopping list this year – would have Mac users like me auctioning our grannies on eBay. Or it could be part of the iPod ecosystem, some kind of media controller that runs iTunes and works with Airport.

Think of the press coverage. Think of the sour faces of Apple’s competitors. Think of the large sums of cash flowing into Apple’s coffers.

It’s certainly possible and arguably sensible, but does that mean Apple will do it? I’ve no idea – but I hope it does.