Apple's Next Best Thing
August 25, 2009
updated: 09/03/09, 11/16/09
Although SnowLeopard - which will be let out of its cage at Infinite Loop in Cupertino later this week - the evolutionary OS upgrade that focuses not on different looks but significant performance increases, will be released to stores August 28, it's not what we call Apple's "next best thing."
The next best thing will "finally kill the current type of netbook, start an entire new category of computing devices, expand the touchscreen GUI from small to large, from touch to multi-touch, and end the recession!" Well - it could all happen - IF - the rumors turn out to be real - that Apple, Inc. would release a multi-touch tablet - an iPad.
Nothing is real - photoshopping is a commonly used verb now - see the above image from GizModo, but the rumor mill goes wild, just as Apple want's it. So I decided to "jump into the pool" as well and add our 2-cents. Couldn't resist anymore. However, I want to talk about it using a slightly different approach. Not to regurgitate just what it is but what it could be used for. I want "to put things into perspective".
The technical baseline seems to be a 10" multi-touch screen (maybe OLED) built into a case similar to the iPhone. It might have an iPod/iPhone connector, and it has Bluetooth (to talk to a keyboard) and Wifi - no question. A cell radio? Maybe something similar to what the Kindle from Amazon has - but it might be with Verizon as a carrier.
Here is where the "iPad" would come in.
It would probably sit on its wireless charging pad (see ecoupled link in the side bar) in the family room. I would be disappointed if the tablet would have to be plugged-in - meaning somebody in Apple engineering would have been asleep at the wheel. And - when it is not used (charging) - it would act as a digital picture frame displaying the latest photos, weather, and news flashes on its screen.
Here is what I would use it for: (the list is random and is not representing any preference)
- controlling the AppleTV (which seems to be getting a major overhaul),
- key control of iTunes playlists from everywhere in the house - say parties,
- browse news AND read books - now with a bigger screen,
- watch movies (anywhere in or around the house),
- recipe "support" in the kitchen (epicurious.com),
- quickly check pictures or movie clips from the last trip without having to turn on the AppleTV, who knows...
I am sure that this list will continue to grow as I find additional uses once the iPad is released and we see what Apple has put into it. It's use depends on the individual user's profile. Some people would never even consider it. Others - like me - see it as another piece in the puzzle to complete the digital home. A tablet would give us that additional level of convenience - making things (life !) easier. Maybe we won't have to buy the Harmony One remote after all.
Is there any "Proof" ? Are there any Signs ?
- The iPad is a hot discussion item in the Tech Media.
- Other companies are holding back their panel introductions. Update 9/2/09: Toshiba released a panel in Europe, see here at Gizmodo.
- Apple Give-Away 1: The new Mac OS release - Snow Leopard - takes about 7 to 10 GB less disk space to install. Why would Apple care (disk space is cheap), unless they plan to install the OS on more expensive media - a solid-state-disk (SSD). An iPad sure needs an Instant-On feature.
A SSD can do that and has other benefits:
a) less power used, longer run time of the device,
b) no spinning hard drive means no disk crashes when "men handling" the device. All things you need for an ultra-portable piece of consumer electronics.
- Apple Give-Away 2: Check out the on-screen keyboard layout in Snow Leopard. Got to System Prefs: Keyboard and Mouse are now separated. Click Keyboard and then "Show Keyboard & Character Viewer in Menu Bar". Now select "Show Keyboard Viewer" from the menu bar. You will see a keyboard on the screen that just begs to be touched.
- 10" touch screen, though there are thoughts of having larger screen models as well
- OLED display technology
- iPhone-like case design
- Running OS X
- iPod connector for charging and synching, maybe a micro-USB connector
- Wireless charging via optional pad or slanted stand
- WiFi, Bluetooth and maybe an option that will have a cell carrier connection
- Web cam - and another "shooter" on the back (11/16/09).