Web Personalities Stretch Their Apple Tablet Conjecture Legs

Techie people who've been right about Apple rumors in the past have been busy this past week. While there's nothing concrete in either of these posts, their track records speak for themselves, and Apple conjecture is always fun, for some.

John Gruber of Daring Fireball takes the prize for most dedicated. While I was out saying things I could never take back during an uproarious Boston waterfront New Year's Eve party, he was pounding out a thousand or so words about the Tablet, Apple, and why this thing won't be something you just take into the shitter to pass the time with a few graphic novels and TIME Magazine with movies.


Again, conjecture abound, but at the end of it Gruber opines grandly, "I say they're swinging big - redefining the experience of personal computing." I'm forced to agree, not because of some deep, primal urge to support anything and everything Apple does, but because I'm still having a hard time envisioning what a tablet will do that demands people's attention like the iPhone did. Gruber seems to think it's the apps, stupid, and on that point I agree wholeheartedly: Software will define this thing, just as it did the iPhone.

It's on the software front that a far more grounded wave of tablet predictions arrive from ars technica and John Siracusa. Calling his column "cold water" he bats down haptic touchscreens, folding dual screens, and 3D goggles, preferring the software route. And why not? There are already 100 million iTunes customers in place that prove the model works, and they in turn are fed by more than 125,000 App Store developers who currently sell more than 100,000 apps. It's a proven model, and one Siracusa says Apple will rely heavily upon when this thing arrives. For his part, Gruber says "don't bet against" anything Siracusa says. We have an accord!

Siracusa also calls his column an "antacid tablet." As I am unable to traverse the Internet these days without stepping on, consuming, or producing a steaming pile of Apple Tablet news, I am inclined to agree with him. [Daring Fireball, ars technica]



While Apple obviously has a history of making stuff like this work, I'm just not convinced that third party software is the way to make a tablet work. It seems to me that the more functional overlap it has with smartphones, the smaller the potential market will be.

I think Microsoft has really hit the nail on the head with their Courier concept, a tablet should focus on things that a smartphone just can't do because of its formfactor. Namely, stylus input and handwriting recognition for personal notetaking and content creation.

If Apple tries to sell me a tablet whose main claim to fame is iPhone applications, I'd say why even bother? Just use an iPhone, it fits in your pocket and has an always-on internet connection that you're already paying for.

Apple has long taken the stance that desktop computers are for content creation and handheld computers are for content consumption, so I'm afraid that they might just turn their tablet into a dumb window you use to play games and watch movies, which is not something that I think a lot of people will be interested in when they can do the same things on a handheld that fits in your pocket.