That Apple Tablet thingie…

Dan Ackerman has a post over at the CNET Crave blog, discussing <a href="http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10422140-1.html?tag=mostDis;dis
“>whether or not any future Apple tablet device will be an open platform (like the Mac) or a closed one (like the iPhone)?

I think the answer is pretty obvious. Just take a look at the hundreds of millions (some reports claim billions) of dollars Apple has raked in from its 30% share of every App Store sale.

Many of the comments below Ackerman’s piece claim they’ll only buy a tablet if it’s open – running a full version of OSX. One even claims any tablet running a closed iPhone-like OS will be a “dud”. Nonsense.

The truth is, any Apple tablet will be the most desirable and hyped consumer electronic device of 2010. It will do some things brilliantly, but will fall short of some users needs… just like every iteration of the iPhone.

It will be a glorious PMP (personal media player), playing iTunes movies, TV shows and video podcasts.

Browsing the web (even, probably, without flash) will be a joy using a refined version of Safari – using the devices perfectly realised multi-touch interface.

Other Apps will be developed to simulate many of the core functions of a PC. There will eventually be a stripped down version of Photoshop etc. But don’t expect Steve Jobs to allow any new Apple product to be seen coughing and spluttering, trying to run a full Mac version of these applications on limited-power, low-voltage hardware. Not going to happen.

The tablet will have to have more power than the iPhone, even if it’s just to render higher-resolution video. But will the device allow for multiple applications running at the same time?

I don’t know. The snappiness (and okayish battery-life) of the iPhone is down to limiting the number of processes it handles at any time. Closing one app and launching another on the iPhone is swift – possibly even as quick as switching between concurrent apps with a struggling CPU (of course this all depends on the apps in question).

People do want to run multiple apps, and it really should be the users’ choice as to whether to compromise performance and battery life for convenience. Jobs could afford the Apple tablet to be a bit more open, without sacrificing total control over the user experience.

So yeah, Apple will create a closed environment for the tablet. The App Store will continue to be a revenue generating phenomenon, and the tablet will sell very well (even if nowhere nearly as many units as the pocket-friendly iPhone).

I think a more important question will be whether the device will have a GSM/CDMA chip inside?

Surely it has to if Apple expects the tablet to be a must-have product for consumers out-and-about. And that would mean contract-based subsidies, which will inevitably drive sales and put the product within the grasp of more consumers. Win-win for Apple.

So will you buy an Apple tablet?

No-one needs a PMP or a tablet internet device. If they did, Archos would be shifting millions and millions of units. But then I guess no-one needed an iPhone until they enjoyed the delicious brilliance of mobile Safari, or a netbook before ASUS revolutionised the computer market with the EeePC.

I certainly don’t need an Apple Tablet. It’ll be expensive and do nothing that my current combination of mobile devices (BlackBerry, iPod Touch, netbook) can’t do.

I fully expect to get an iPhone in the coming year now they’ve gone multi-network in the UK (meaning the BlackBerry and Touch can stay at home). But no touch-screen keyboard will offer me a comparable experience to the one on my Samsung NC10 netbook. I’m a writer. A good keyboard is my primary concern.

Yeah, the tablet might allow for a Bluetooth keyboard, but any tablet is going to be in region of £500-700. That’s a hell of a lot of money for something a lot less powerful than my MacBook Pro.

The Apple tablet will sell millions of units. It will be subject to an awesome level of media coverage and hyperbole. And it will do some tasks brilliantly. But for me, I don’t see any place for an expensive media tablet in my digital life, which will please my long-suffering wife no end.

Laters, creepers.

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2 thoughts on “That Apple Tablet thingie…

  1. Did I not comment on this already? I was thinking of holding out for an Apple mini-laptop type thing but latest news seems bleak for what I want. I really want an Air, but can’t afford it – more likely I’ll get an Acer for under €300

  2. You did and I replied.I think you need to hold fire. The latest rumour I heard, which might contradict a lot of the above, is that the price point for the “iSlate” whatsit is “surprisingly low”.The Air is a lot of money for not much computer – the white MacBook makes so much more sense. The Acer’s are fine. Personally I find the linux builds better for the netbook size/power. That said, I haven’t really played with Win 7.

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