Topics include: programming, Apple, Unix, gadgets, large-scale web sites and other nerdy stuff.

Just for fun: predict the Apple Tablet

2009-12-30 09:40:44

All the professional writers are making their predictions and/or wish lists for what Apple tablet/iSlate/iPad/Magic Muffin will be and do. So here are my amateur guesses: 

1. It will essentially be a larger iPod touch: mostly a large glass multi-touch screen running multi-touch OS, the same OS as the iPod and iPhone. Not Mac OS X, nor something in between that and the iPhone OS. CORRECT 

2. It will have a single camera, mounted on the front/screen side. For video iChat. It will not have a camera on the back of the device. Something that is 4X larger than an iPod would be an awkward camera. WRONG 

 3. It will have Wifi, bluetooth and some kind of 3G support. The 3G vendor will not be ATT. It will be Sprint or Verizon. You'll need to sign up for a contract to get the discounted price. Right on 3G, wrong on ATT 

 4. The discounted price will be $499. The full price with no contract will be $799. NAILED IT 

 5. I wish, wish, wish it would have an OLED screen. But I don't think it will. Update 2010-01-11: so I got a Nexus One. The OLED screen on that is so beautiful, it makes the iPhone screen look very rusty by comparison. Clearly, it's also economically viable since the Nexus One price isn't too far off the iPhone price. So I'm thinking OLED is a real possibility on the table, especially given the battery life benefit. WRONG 

 6. It will be about the thickness of the current iPhone 3gs. WRONG 

 7. It will have a brushed aluminum metal back, like the new iMac. The apple logo on the back will be plastic, and will be the antennae location (like new iMacs). This is a completely random guess, and I'd be just as happy with a black plastic back like the iPhone. YES NAILED IT! 

 8. It will have an integrated speaker, and microphone. The only inputs/outputs will be dual headphone jacks (so you can watch a movie with your friend on a plane) and an iPod dock connector. 1/2 WRONG No dual jacks 

 9. It will have the same physical buttons as the iPod: power/sleep; home button; volume NAILED IT 

10. There will be two models: 64GB and 128GB. The 128GB unit will be $649/$949. WRONG: models are 16/32/64 

11. It will have an ARM processor, not a netbook-style x86 chip. Battery life, people. WRONG: Apple processor 

12. It will have a fixed, non-user-replaceable battery. Of course, duh. EASY 

13. software: will include iChat, so you can video chat with your friends who are on macs or on other apply tablets.WRONG, given lack of camera 

14. software: there will be some kind of Apple ereader with itunes store support for buying content. Amazon will also offer a scaled-up version of kindle reader for the larger screen.CORRECT; amazon kindle app already works on iPhone, so will work on iPad

  1. size: about the same total dimensions as the Kindle, but it will be almost all screen. I guess that makes the screen about 9" to 10". CORRECT 

It took me a long time to figure out why anyone would really want a giant iPod like this. But watching how people consume applications in the App Store, I think I've figured it out. People, normal people, not nerds like me, hate computers. HATE them. They are mystified by basic concepts like files and applications and processes. 

The dead-simple iPhone model is this: your magic candy bar does one thing at a time, whatever it is you want it to do. You can add more things to it for one or two dollars, sometimes more. You don't have to install backup software, anti-virus. You don't have to decide which mail program to use. It does what you want it to do, and you don't need any of that nerdy computer bullshit to use it. 

A large iPod, then, does all those 'computer' tasks that work better on a larger screen, but don't require a mouse and keyboard. Essentially, many small information and entertainment 'tasks' that you don't do all day long. Computers as we use them and think of them today are destined to be work devices, used by programmers, scientists, financial workers, artists, designers, architects, doctors, accountants, lawyers to do their actual work. When they go home, when they want to check the weather, watch a movie, read a book, play a game, they will pull out their little magic mirror. The conventional computer as an entertainment platform, as a budding replacement for TV, as a mass-market consumer electronics item will have been a short-lived phenomenon, from the 1990s to the 2010s. 

I'll update this post later with my score. If I get over 50%, I should be a professional. 

Update: here is what John Gruber thinks, and John Siracusa. They are both very clever fellows, and it seems to me that their predictions mostly match mine. Which makes me say: woo hoo! yeah, baby, we're on to something! 

Update: more rumours that support my guessing: 

Update (Jan 11, 2010): Orange exec giving more weight to my front-video camera prediction

Update (Jan 21, 2010)): More intelligent analysis that totally supports my ideas. From Gizmodo.