Apple’s recent announcement of OS X Lion seemingly criticized the concept of a touch-screen interface on a notebook. However, while making it clear that a touch-screen on a standard notebook doesn’t make sense, the possibility of an Apple tablet was never actually excluded.
I believe there was a lot of misdirection presented and Lion seems to be the proof. For a desktop OS the new App Store enhancements, which oddly enough aren’t specific to Lion, don’t really make as much sense unless thrown into a tablet.
So… my guess is that Lion is laying the foundation for an Apple tablet in OS X. I also have a guess how Apple might make it work. The company is known for making elegant solutions, so if it does make a tablet it will be easy to switch between notebook and tablet modes.
My best guess is a notebook design that provides a touch-screen, capacitive display on the opposite side of the LCD. Basically, it would be on the top, outside shell of the notebook. When open the system looks like a notebook.
Imagine a user closing the laptop and then activating the other display, perhaps in a manner similar to waking an iPad.
I don’t know much about LCD technology so the following is a wild guess and could be flat out wrong. Apple might even go one step further and developed a method to use the same LCD from either direction. There are already technologies that allow light from either side to be blocked or show through glass (so you could or could not see what’s behind the screen from either side). In addition, the capacitive aspect would only need to be included on the outside.
Or Apple could just have two different displays that can be activated in various combinations. Imagine being able to watch the same video on one screen while also showing it on the other, without needing a projector to share with a smaller audience?
With such a system in place Apple might even choose to include a stylus, making such a system extremely flexible. Going another step further (though more likely not in the first version) Apple could eventually add additional capabilities similar to Microsoft Surface.