Om thinks the Mac Tablet is imminent

As my last foray into Apple rumour land states:

I've been "predicting" a Mac Tablet for 4 years now. Today, it would be more like a super iPhone or iPod Touch, with a 7" screen.

Now Om has been reading the tea leaves and finally thinks that a Mac Tablet / Netbook / Super iPhone is something we might see from Apple soon:

First of all, people are looking for a cheap, connected Internet device that is “not a laptop.” I was recently watching an interview with Amazon’s Jeff Bezos on Charlie Rose, in which he talked about the Kindle being flexible enough to encourage new kinds of media consumption, including multimedia books and newspapers with immersive content and interactivity. I think he is spot on — and just from that perspective, Apple has to be thinking really hard about this looming opportunity.

Secondly, I think the emergence of the iPod touch/iPhone is changing how we perceive and interact with computers. My friend Antonio Rodriguez, who founded and sold his startup Tabblo to Hewlett Packard, thinks that a whole generation of kids is now growing up with keyboardless computing as a default way to interact with machines.

I carry around a paper notebook for a couple of reasons. One is that I "think better" when I'm scribbling, and it stays in my brain. Secondly, I can engage someone directly and still take notes, rather than create a barrier with a laptop screen. I can see a tablet-like device being a good fit here.

At home, I've always seen this in between spot where I have a simple controller / browser that gives me a 1 ft interface for the screen that is 10 ft away. A great UI for local browsing / manipulation / editing, and then throw it up on the big screen to share with everyone.

With Apple, I don't think the question has ever been of "if", but rather of "when" the right mix of materials, technology, UI, and the price of these would be at the right point to share with the masses.

Oh, and just for kicks ... it will probably make a great ebook reader, too :P

I think I'd buy one, with a max price point somewhere around $500. Would you buy one? What could you see yourself using it for?