Apple’s iTablet is About Mobile Productivity

Jan 19 10

Apple’s iTablet is About Mobile Productivity

Paul Weinstein

Now that Apple has officially sent out
to various members of the media to “Come see our latest
creation” next week, January 27th, at the Yerba Buena
Center for the Arts
in San Francisco, let us consider what exactly
that creation will be.


Apple’s Invite


iTablet, iSlate, uSlate, whatever the
name affixed to the device will be Apple will most certainly be rolling
out a tablet-sized mobile computing device. For the most part I agree
with tech-writer Andy Ihnatko in terms of the devices hardware
, will have data access via WiFi and cellular, 10”
multitouch screen, a solid state drive (SSD) – but I think it will
be of a larger capacity than 32 GB), et al.

I also agree, for the most part, on
Andy’s comments about functionality. The UI will be designed for the
issues of carrying and working with a 10” slab of computing hardware
– on the go – “Think about how a user interface would have to
incorporate those observations. Now imagine that you’ve been doing
this experiment for four years and not four minutes. That’s a very
long list of observations. If you didn’t come up with a workable
solution, don’t worry: I think Apple has”, after all Apple has
been applying for a number of patents over the years on this very issue.


From Patently Apple’s Apple: The Tablet Prophecies

Ok fine, but what exactly will it do?
What will you need it for?

Well, I’m glad you asked, because those
are very important questions, as AppleInsider recently noted. In the
long history of hand-held sized computing, there is a very short list
of market-wins, PDAs, such as the Palm Pilot, MP3 devices such as the
iPod and smartphones, such as the Blackberry.

That is it.

Apple’s Newton was an amazing
technology for the time, but was oversized and overpriced as a
personal organizer. Microsoft‘s Tablet PC never really got the
third-party software support it need for the form factor to find a
and as AppleInsider recounts history’s trash-bin is littered with
companies and devices that never even made it that far into the
public conciseness.

So as history as our guide, for it to
make its way in the world, Apple’s iTablet will need to definitely
answer the question, what can I use it for?

Well let us consider the key feature of
Apple’s other hand-held devices:

  • iPod is for Entertainment – First
    for music on the go, followed by video on the go (watching video first, now watching and shooting video) and games (with the iPod Touch)

  • iPhone is for Communication –
    Yes of course there is an App for that, but even before the App
    store the iPhone was about communication: Voice, Text (Email, SMS)
    and Web

So the iTablet will be about …

But wait, I hear, what about those
rumors about print publication and eReaders? And, I hear you say you already have a
mobile device for productivity, your laptop?

Why yes, a laptop is for
productivity on the go, and Apple is looking to redefine what a mobile
productivity device is. 

Consider, what are the problems with using
a laptop? It’s heavy and cumbersome to carry, doesn’t have access to
cellular networks by default and it takes a long time to start up and
be, well productive.

An iPhone on the only hand is always
on, not just always turned on, but always connected. Your on the
road, you get an important email and presto, your at work. 

But wait,
that email has an attachment, and 10 sheet spreadsheet and oh,
bother this graph is completely wrong and oh, look the formula is off
and, well guess you’ll have to boot up your latptop now while you
wait for your airplane. Good luck finding a power outlet that hasn’t
already be staked out by some other traveler.

But if you take the strengths of the
laptop with that of the iPhone, well you get one hell of a productive device.

This is nothing short of revolution!
This is, after all, Steve Jobs’ Apple!

Oh and that eReader stuff, that will
just be some App available in the App store. After all the iPhone was
not only built on the success of the iPod, but incorporated the iPod’s key functionality as a secondary feature. The iTablet’s secondary
feature, you’ll be able to purchase and run third-party iPhone and
iTablet-specific apps too.

In The Pudding

Granted this is speculation, my
interpenetration of the various rumors that have been circulating
over the years.

If your looking for proof of this
interpretation, I can’t offer you any, at the moment. I can however
point to two interesting side rumors, that Apple has been working on
a new, web-based version of their productivity suite iWork and that
they recently contracted to build a new data center in North Carolina to support growing web-based “cloud computing”.

Oh, and recall that Apple has recently reduce the number of laptops it sells.

That and of course Google’s netbook
running Chrome
and their web-based Google Docs suite and well, if
Apple announces a new, distributed version of iWorks next
week alongside their shinny new tablet, I say, there is your proof that things are about to get very interesting…

1 Not
wishing to give up on anything, Microsoft, at CES, released
alongside HP their “Slate PC”, which represents – I suppose on
how and what your counting – Microsoft’s third attempt at
tablet-like computing. Once upon a time the knock on Microsoft was
they needed three revision to get something right – think Windows
3.1 – for marketplace success. So I suppose one should keep an eye on their
Microsoft now…