Apple’s Tablet As Evolution

I’m getting more and more excited as Apple’s keynote event on Wednesday draws nearer, and I’ve been thinking a lot about the implications of a successful large, touch-screen device. First off, there’s the idea of what this means to Apple’s business. If this tablet device proves to be what every wants it to be, somewhere between a Macbook and an iPhone with a touch screen and seamless typing, then they’ll have a hit on their hands. But what I’m curious about is where they go after that?

Take for example the iPod Touch, which is know poaching the sales of all the earlier models of iPods because it offers so much more. Sure, it doesn’t hold as much music, but your old iPod can’t play games or browse the web. So what if we apply that same formula to a touch-screen tablet. If Apple can create a computer that’s in the same ballpark of a Macbook, but is smaller, lighter, keyboard-less, isn’t it possible the same could hold true?

In the most recent issue of Wired magazine Steven Levy writes about the impending doom of the mouse. Apple is increasing touch sensitive technology in al of their products, from the trackpad on their laptops, to the recently unveiled Mighty Mouse, and obviously with the iPhone, which doesn’t even need a stylus. What this really means, and as Mr. Levy says, touch sensitive devices are clearly around the corner, it’s just a matter of time until we apply the technology in the appropriate ways.

Which brings me to my second idea, which concerns the greater computing community. If Apple can create a functional device more on par with a laptop, won’t that be a signal to the big manufacturers that they’ve got to play some serious catch-up? At Microsoft’s most recent keynote they touted everything as slates and tablets, though they were all lackluster. Despite having touch screens they all still ran a standard Windows operating system and I doubt anyone would call any of them innovative.

They’ve also recently showed off a mockup of a new device called Courier, which looked promising. But one major hurdle that I saw was that it used a stylus, which to me seems antiquated, especially in a world of iPhones. Do you really want to hand write messages on your computer? Isn’t that what Sticky and Field Notes are for? Plus there’s always the chance you’ll lose the damn thing.

When Apple release the iPhone it opened the floodgates for a new market of touch-screen phones. If they can yet again be just as successful, I’d predict just about the very same thing happening.


January 25, 2010