Speculation and guesswork aside, if Apple's got a tablet, we need to know how to handle it, physically. So, with two pieces of cardboard, scotch tape and Photoshop, we crudely mocked one up. It was... unusual.
Tablet PCs have been around for years, but they've got keyboard, ball-jointed necks and all manner of extraneous fixture and features. Smartphones are sort of like this new slate-like variety of tablet, only they're too tiny. Buttonless, slick, slab-like tablets do currently exist, but they're rare, and no one has found the right software pairing to make them particularly versatile. A 10-to-11-inch tablet wouldn't be totally new, but since none of us are really clear on how you're supposed to handle it in real-world situations, we built our own.
Here now, in the darkest, dingiest corner of the tech world's favorite rabbit hole, we've performed a hands-on with our cardboard version of Steve Jobs' mythical product. So, before it exists anywhere outside of our collective imagination, step into Tablet Sutra, the at-times-awkward position-by-position walkthrough of tablet handling:
The hurdles for a tablet like this aren't just technological. This is a device that's going to have to convert its usership to a whole new kind of physical experience. We're used to laptops and smartphones, and we take the things they're good and bad at for granted. The tablet's software may be a wonderful mystery box with massive potential, but the tablet form factor, like any other, won't be for everyone.
If you think we left out any key tablet positions, mention it in comments—feel free to upload photos—or send a note to our tips line with "Tablet Sutra" in the subject line. We'll be on the lookout.