Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A gigantic virtual keyboard in Snow Leopard signals Apple's tablet is imminent

Well, well, well.. will ya look at that.
That's an awful big-sized virtual on-screen keyboard even for a person with low eye sight, and what is it doin' in the new Mac OS X Snow Leopard?

If it's not enough with just rumors about Apple's tablet, then we finally have a solid proof that Apple is indeed have a tablet on the work, or in fact already prepared to launch as we speak. A senior editor at Cult of Mac, Leander Kahney has found what he calls it as virtual keyboard in Snow Leopard. Quoting from Leander himself: It’s a big, bold version of the iPhone’s virtual keyboard with large keys that scream “type me!”

Leander also reminded us how different the virtual keyboard now compared to the older version in previous Mac OS versions, which the old virtual keyboard usually hidden in the “International” tab of System Preferences, and obviously it was not as big as this new one. Snow Leopard's virtual keyboard now can be stretched as wide as your screen, and Apple doesn't even bother to hide it anymore, you can activate it through these steps:

  • Go to System Preferences> Keyboard
  • Click the box “Show Keyboard & Character Viewer in menu bar
  • Go to the menu bar at top right and click “Show Keyboard Viewer

According to Leander; right now the new virtual keyboard just records the keystrokes on your physical keyboard and shows the characters that will be typed when the Option key is held down, and so on.

The huge virtual keyboard is not the only sign that Apple has prepared Snow Leopard to be used in touchscreen device, such as a tablet. Leander shows some good examples like how new features in Snow Leopard are more touch-friendly: "Look at Expose in the Dock — the new feature that reveals all an application’s open windows when you click and hold the application’s icon. It’s tailor-made for fingers. Even more convincing is Stacks in the Dock. Hit a folder icon in the dock, and up pops the folder and all its files."

That's true, lots of Snow Leopard's features have big icons (or windows). Sometimes we easily missed what is obvious in front of our eyes, and rather try too hard to see what is on the other side. Like for examples: Snow Leopard users now can see their files and documents in Cover Flow style, this again is fitting for finger-scrolling on touchscreen. The included new Safari 4 in Snow Leopard also features at-a-glance preview of users' Top sites up to 24 thumbnails on a single page, and making them accessible with just a touch.

Could these all be indicating that the Apple's tablet arrival is imminent?
Have you drool too much already, and enough to fill in a bucket? ;-p

If not, then perhaps the images above can be an assistance for you. Made by Seb_or_Sam (Flickr link), is Apple's tablet mockups of how it would work. Of course, there are some pros and cons, there are some likes and dislikes, but nevertheless the mockups help to make us dream more of the Apple's tablet.

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