The Apple Tablet

Unless you’ve been living on another planet for the last month or so, you’ll know that Apple has a special press event planned for sometime later this month (the 26th or 27th).

Although nobody knows for sure, the best bet is that they will be announcing some sort of new hardware – the much rumoured, long awaited MacTablet, iSlate, iPad, iGuide or whatever it’s going to be called. The web is awash with feverish speculation as to exactly what it will be called, what it will look like and what it will do. Which is all quite interesting because Apple, as per usual, are saying nothing on the subject. I’m never quite sure about this approach as it builds expectations up to unrealistic levels and then disappoints people when the final product doesn’t do everything that was promised by John Smith of Texas…

However, most people have been speculating on the hardware rather than the software, so we at Chilli X thought we’d join in the fun and imagine what we could do with all these extra pixels. So we’ve used some of our existing apps as a starting point and mocked up these images showing the type of app we’d like to build. Imagine a combination of PhotoFrame, DeskClock and PlaySafe – what do you think?

Predictions

At the moment nobody even knows what operating system it will run but here’s what we think. It won’t be running Snow Leopard – there’s no point putting the same operating system that people use to do high end rendering and print ready artwork on a small, less powerful device. If it was to run Snow Leopard then Apple would have to figure out a way of stopping you installing certain types of application and that’s just messy.

It won’t run the current iPhone operating system either, although it will run most existing iPhone apps in smaller windows (almost like OS X dashboard widgets). My guess is that they’ll use the event to announce iPhone OS 4.0 with lots of cool new features including support for larger screen sizes. It makes perfect sense – everyone loves the iPhone OS. Users because it’s slick, fun and easy to use and Apple because of all the money they make from the App Store – why would they want to use Snow Leopard and not be able to control what software goes on there (and get a cut of it).

If you believe the rumours the new device will revolutionise the way we interact with our media. We’ll be reading the morning paper on it bed, watching TV programmes, reading digital comic and ebooks. Personally I want it to be my ultimate remote control as well. Expectations are running pretty high for this one so I hope they get it right, although even if it’s nothing more than a giant iPod touch that would still be pretty cool! Let’s face it most of the iPod touch’s weakness would be fixed by a bigger screen. Yes, you can browse the web but it’s not ideal – I still find that I email myself links to look at on my real Mac with a big screen far too often. Yes, you can read digital comics but a panel at a time doesn’t quite do it for me either…

Disclaimer: although we’re Apple developers we have absolutely no prior knowledge and this whole article is based around speculation and fantasy and the images are just mockups.

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5 Responses to “The Apple Tablet”

  1. Jon C Says:

    I quite like the idea of using it to carry my latte and croissant upstairs in Caffe Nero. The iPod Touch just isn’t big enough, so a bigger screen size and sell me the iTray please Mr Jobs.

  2. Andrew Davies Says:

    Like the rest of the geek world – I am intrigued by what this device can actually be.

    a) something extra to carry around (doubt it – why would I want to carry either two phones or two computers with me? Why would I want a big phone ? Why would I want a smaller computer?)
    or (and I imagine more likely)
    b) a replacement computer. It could have a virtual, on screen keyboard. Or a way of attaching a portable keyboard (maybe it flips out – or you plug in a USB keyboard when you need).

    The thing is – I don’t think either would work (I will almost definately be proved wrong tomorrow!)

    Point (a) for obvious reasons. Why have a third device to carry around.
    Point (b) – also for obvious reasons. I’ve got a nice big screen on my laptop – but I wouldn’t want to go to someones office and work off a smaller screen and I also can’t see how an iPhone style ‘soft’ keyboard would work on a tablet. It just wouldn’t be comfortable to type on for more than a minute. Would I have to carry a separate USB keyboard with me?

    The iPhone has been a phenomenal success and I would never take away any of the wow factor that it has generated. But when it was launched 2 years ago – it was the first phone Apple had released. A rare moment when Apple could release a device with a unique function that none of it’s other products could do (make calls). The iSlate / iPad whatever it will be called doesn’t have that luxury. If it’s good for reading eBooks – you can do that on any Mac. Same goes for watching movies, writing letters, browsing the web, reading emails – etc. The challenge Apple have is launching a product that does ALL of those tasks – BETTER.

    Can they do it? Of course they can. I’m very much looking forward to being proved wrong tomorrow.

  3. Curtis Olmo Says:

    Well, the post is really a worthw hile contribution about the ipad. Although I dot fit in with some minor points in general Im fully on your way. Im looking forward to your upcoming updates. Just saying thanks for your De lightful work and writing is an important thing nowadays. Lets watch what Steve Jobs will present in the next step. I will at once come back to stay informed of any updates, and let us both realize what the ipad will change.

  4. Andrew Davies Says:

    Well I’m a bit underwhelmed. Maybe I’m not looking at it from the right point of view, but I just don’t really see the point of a large iPod Touch.

    Don’t get me wrong – looks like a great piece of engineering – and I bet it is fab to use. But after that initial “Wow!”, what am I supposed to do with it?

    Do I leave it on the coffee table to impress my friends ? Do I take it to meetings to work on? Does it replace my iPhone (no) or my laptop (no).

    Do I carry it when I go down the road or take it on an aeroplane?

    I just don’t see the point of carrying three devices around.

  5. fred Says:

    Hello,

    I agree with Andrew Davies. I already have an iphone and there is not enough improvement from a “classic” tablet

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