Thursday, January 28, 2010

Apple Tablet Predictions: After the Announcement

Okay, the Apple iPad has been announced. How did my predictions fare?
  • Screen of 10–11" — big enough for reading or viewing video, but not any bigger than a regular sized magazine.
    — I hoped for a larger screen, more toward 10.5"
  • Very minimal hardware interface, just an on button and a headphone jack.  No power jack, no USB ports, nothing much to mar the feel of it being an encapsulated item.  Definitely no battery access.
    — Nailed this, but it’s easy to nail: look at the iPhone and extrapolate.  I failed to note the volume buttons from the iPhone, but they were obvious as items to include.
  • Bluetooth and WiFi.  Duh.
    — Duh, but correct.  3G is also an option, for extra cost and extra monthly fee.  Hmm, I wonder if the reason AT&T hasn’t yet turned on tethering is that it was aimed at this device, so you can create a mini-WiFi zone with your iPhone and use its 3G.  That would be cool.
  • Runs a variant of iPhone OS that is geared for the larger screen but still works with the same UI mechanisms familiar to iPhone users.
    — Yup.
  • Apps for the tablet can be obtained from a version of the AppStore.
    — Remains to be seen just how this will work.  I expect the iPad and the iPhone will each connect top the AppStore, and will only see content appropriate to their hardware.
  • Existing iPhone apps will work on the tablet, in iPhone sized windows.
    — Yup.
  • Has all the features of an iPhone: multi-touch, accelerometer, etc.
    — Yup.
And then some more interesting predictions:
  • Induction charging and synching.  As I said, no power jack.
    — Darn.  But understandable: if the existing power/synch attachment hardware is working fine, no need to reinvent the wheel.
  • A netbook-type base which provides the induction charger base and a MacBook keyboard, a la the Lenovo IdeaPad U1 Hybrid.  Tablet body can be inserted into the docking base in each of the four directions (but not backwards!).
    — Sort of yup, although I was expecting something quite a bit more like a laptop base than the keyboard dock they have announced.  But I note that the third-party company could provide exactly what I was anticipating, which would also serve as a protective cover.
  • When docked, can switch from the iPhone-style UI to a Mac OS X-style UI.
    — Darn.  Partially defused due to the creation of iWork for the iPad, but there are certainly major things you won’t be able to do without a full OS.  In particular, no mouse (which is better than finger pointing for some things).
  • The docking base has additional solid-state memory, plus the various ports and such.  Comes with iWork and iLife software pre-installed, and other apps are available via the cloud.
    — Nope for the additional memory, but that was tied into the OS X item above.  Yup on iWork, nope on iLife (although it will be interesting to see if a Brushes app makes its way into the next desktop version of either suite, targeting Adobe apps as well as Microsoft).
  • Has two cameras: decent quality video/still camera on the back (a la iPhone 3GS) and webcam on the front.
    — Darn, and a major puzzling lapse.  Presumably some third-party will make a rotating camera that plugs in to the headphone jack to fill this niche.
Again, this, I would so buy.  Will buy.  It will make a nice birthday present to myself in seven months, don’t you think?  Especially after reviews are in and maybe some OS patches are done to correct early problems.

I’m pleasantly surprised by the pricing structure.  Some will still complain that it’s too expensive, but they are mostly serial complainers ("free" would probably still be too expensive) or Apple haters (anything Apple producers is over-priced because Steve Jobs is a money-grubbing bastard).

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