Joe Maller.com

About that tablet…

Posting this before the big announcement tomorrow.

It feels somewhat obvious at this point, but I feel certain Apple with continue the iPhone’s conceptual move towards subordinate computing devices. The original iPod was a deliberate appliance, the iPhone is a computer limited by design. The biggest conceptual leap of the iPhone was that it couldn’t be used to create another iPhone. Even a years-old, bottom-end Mac or PC can still run software capable of designing microchips, programming an OS or running the CNC machines which fabricate the computer’s physical components. The iPhone and forthcoming tablet are more like electronic familiars. Without their master device, they’re forever limited in what they can do and become.

Jason Snell feels right on about resurrecting the iBook name and brand. “Canvas” sounds more like an app.

The price will either be $799 or $1199. $899 psychologically goes right to $1000 and if you’re over $1000, might as well go a little higher.

Hardware

There are several obvious components which will be present. GPS, accelerometer and vibration. I still don’t understand why my laptop doesn’t know where it is. It’s 2010, every moderately connected electronic device should have basic location awareness.

Size-wise, I’ll be surprised if the screen is much larger than 9 inches diagonal. I base that figure on an expectation that the short dimension of the tablet will not be much wider than an iPhone is tall, so overall dimensions around 4.25 x 7.5 inches. However, all size-predictions go out the window if Apple introduces some radical new input method.

The idea that it might not have a text-input interface is just dumb, it has to have some means of text input. The bigger question is what that interface will look or feel like. Simplest answer is the iPhone’s horizontal keyboard.

I don’t expect a user-facing camera, no one looks good photographed looking up from their own lap.

Dock connecter and headphone jack will the the only ports. Power, home button and volume will be the only physical interfaces.

Mostly though, I really hope Apple does something completely shoot-the-moon crazy. Word-keyboards instead of letters, or no keyboard at all. Make it round. Linked physical-virtual application rotation, screens with holes in them. Just something completely wild and new.

Connectivity:

Apple has no reason to abandon AT&T, they’re the perfect scapegoat. Should AT&T botch this too, then Apple opens up to other carriers. Should AT&T admit their networks are overwhelmed, then Apple opens up to other carriers. Either way, Apple puts the final nail in AT&T’s coffin. That’s good chess.

Apps and OS

iTunes App store only. All iPhone apps will work. There will be no windowing model like OS X, everything will be iPhone-style full screen apps. There won’t be a separate OS or SDK. iPhone OS 4 will be announced, but tablet development will be a checkbox in Xcode. Apple won’t have an SDK available on day one. As long as iPhone apps display well on the tablet, we’ll probably have to wait for WWDC to get the updated SDK. There’s no way developers are going to get a software tablet simulator before Apple ships the product. One other loosely connected thought; WWDC will see a unified SDK for iPhone, tablet and OS X. “All for one and one for all.”

No new iPhone will be announced, as that would detract from the main focus of the event. Whenever the new iPhone does appear, which I’m confident will be sometime before Summer, it will have a higher resolution display. The Android phones raised the bar on screen quality, Apple will match or beat them. There’s an outside chance for new iLife/iWork suites, but unless they’re somehow integrated with the new device, those aren’t happening either.

Flash

No chance in hell.

Post-mortem

Apple has posted the full announcement video.(Tech Specs)

Initially I was somewhat disappointed, but that’s starting to wear off as the reality sets in. Not just the reality of what the iPad is, but the universe it will live in.

Apple’s new A4 CPU is a very big deal, but the price was a biggest surprise. And it wasn’t just me, look at what Steve Jobs did to the S&P today:

S&P reversal after iPad price announced

The red line is the price trend before Apple’s price announcement, the green line is the trend after the announcement. Moments before the price was revealed, something caused the market to start tanking, that was stopped cold as soon as the numbers hit the screen.

Predicton-wise, I think I did fairly well. I was right about Apps, but not SDK availability. Very happily wrong about price but right about AT&T. Right about the camera and inputs, but wrong about the dimensions. I am really surprised it’s 4:3, that ratio feels so quaint.

There are some radical changes to the Cocoa Touch Human Interface Guidelines. I’m very curious to see how these changes transition to iPhone, and whether or not those changes will only possible on an iPhone screen with an increased pixel density.

One nice little thing I noticed at around 17 minutes into the video was a two-word contextual correction — haven’t seen that mentioned.

I really hope some of the UI stuff happening with Calendar and Mail find their way into 10.7.

I think my mom might be ditching her Kindle.


  • http://lynda.com Bruce Heavin

    Joe, I was about to ask you for your yearly prediction; low and behold… I see you have already done so. Im not sure myself what is to be announced, but I am always fascinated by these presentations in and of themselves. Maybe because Steve is just flat out one of the best presenters I know and find him inspiring. Also because whatever he announces, I more than likely will end up with at the end of the day either in hand or on order. Good luck.

  • http://lynda.com Bruce Heavin

    I will stake a claim to iPhone 4.0 software and perhaps a new iPhone for a June release.

  • pat

    This tablet will revolutionize goofing-off. But it’s just a big iPhone (with no phone).

    I remember seeing my first Newton in the cafeteria at ACCD. Some instructor had one. I can visualize that same guy sitting there fiddling with this useless device.