The Case Against the iTablet at WWDC 2008

I’ve written before about my hopes for an iTablet. I’ve received several emails from readers asking my opinion as to whether or not I expect to see the fabled device on Monday. I know Apple is unpredictable, but I’m thinking about snowballs in very hot places when I say, “no.”
I believe there is such a product in development but I don’t see it making its public debut at the developer’s conveference. There are a few reasons for this:

1. It is a “Developer’s conference”

This is the event for the code jockies. This is where the people who make their living making Apple software get help and a peek at things to come. This is not a consumer event. If there is an iTablet cooking, release at MacWorld makes much more sense than WWDC.

2. The time is not right for an iTablet

Apple has made huge strides towards the mobile platform with the iPhone and iPod touch. Still, they are are just getting out of the gate. I don’t see them giving the iPhone programmers an entirely new platform right out of the gate. Also, Apple needs to get all our money for those fancy new 3g iPhones* before they start tempting us with the iTablet. Part of the magic of Apple is the very careful way in which they build the consumer experience. I think they have a very clear idea of what products they will release and when they release them. And, in my guts, it just doesn’t seem time for the iTablet, yet.
So I’d love to be wrong but I just don’t see the iTablet making its appearance until later, maybe MacWorld 2009.
*Although this probably merits a separate post, I’m also a bit skeptical about WWDC being focused on the 3g iPhone. I could see them talking plenty about the new software and virtually ignoring new hardware. The new iPhone could easily get its own it

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MacSparky’s Macworld Wish – iTablet

I’m not going to call this article “predictions” because I really have no basis in fact to make any predictions. There is, however, no shortage of predictions out there. In fact, if you go to you will probably find a list of Macworld predictions. Instead I’d like to talk about the one gadget I’d love to see Apple release even if there is little or no chance of it actually doing so.
An Apple Tablet

tablet 1.jpg

I actually used a PC tablet for a year and a half. It was a Gateway and while it wouldn’t win any beauty contests it had a vivid glass screen that swiveled to cover up the keyboard. I thought I’d use it as a sort of ebook reader and research device but that didn’t end up happening. The problem with that computer was largely its size. It was too big and too heavy. I couldn’t sit and casually read on it. I had to have a desk to lean it on, preferably at an angle. Likewise it was not convenient using it in tablet mode during client meetings. The other problem was the digitizer. The ink was too thick and I couldn’t take precise notes and the software was clunky. It was just too hard to use in my daily routine and before long I was back to paper pads.
In short, it was heavy as a brick and the UI felt it was designed for monkeys. I wonder what company could get the form factor right and fix the UI? Hmmmm.
Well, although there has been speculation of an Apple tablet, a lot of people “in the know” seem to think the iTablet will only exist in the land where Elvis still lives and Unicorns roam. Maybe they are right but I sure would like to see what the Apple wizards could do with a Tablet and some of the iPhone UI technology.


Just maybe they could make a device that allows me to do legal research on pdf versions of cases or straight off the web easily.
Maybe they could allow me to sit on the couch without a laptop and review email, rss, twitter and other things necessary for an information junky.
Maybe I could actually read a book and annotate it electronically.
As I write this, it occurs to me that what I really want is that pad they used to carry around on Star Trek.


The ubiquitous device that people carry around to get work done. Something that gets out of my way and allows me to do research, or interview clients, or conduct a deposition while giving me easy access to whatever information I need. It would also need bluetooth keyboard support for added functionality (and please for the love of Pete, turn on bluetooth keyboard support on the iPhone while you are at it). It doesn’t have to be particularly fast, or have oodles of storage.
So there is my Macworld wish. An Apple tablet with the right UI and the right form factor could just change the world … again.

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