Apple said to be targeting hospitals with Mac tablet

In recent months, Apple has been rumored to be developing a tablet-style computer that would marry the sleek functionality of the iPhone with, well, the sleek functionality of a MacBook. Now we get word via the blogosphere--unconfirmed, but worthy of repeating--that longtime tablet skeptic Steve ("What are they good for besides surfing the web in the bathroom?") Jobs and his minions have been sending prototypes to doctors at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

"Apple has been going around targeting their first major paying customer for the device, which is not the average consumer, but the Healthcare industry (sorry fan bois, you're not first priority here). This is a move widely overlooked by the media, since Apple has generally tried to own the consumer arena, and besides the film industry, hasn't dominated enterprise," Jason Wilk writes at the tinyComb blog. Wilk claims that he got this tip from his father, who golfs with Cedars executives.

Wilk reports that the Apple tablet will cost about $1,000, far less than the $2,199 retail price for the Motion Computing C5 Mobile Clinical Assistant, which already is more than two years old, and thus should break the market wide open. There are some flaws in this reasoning, since Intel's Mobile Clinical Assistant platform is designed specifically for the healthcare industry, with bacteria-resistant casing that's easily sanitized, among other features. But never underestimate the power of Apple's design. When's the last time someone ditched an iPod for a Zune?

For more information:
- read Wilk's post on the tinyComb blog
- check out this analysis on the 9 to 5 Mac blog

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