Apple’s mythical tablet may or may not be here, but let’s indulge in last-minute conjecture on what Apple may have in store. So let’s try a thought experiment: a rundown of the 10 things that would guarantee that the tablet is an enduring success.
To begin with, I assume we all know what a tablet device is and what it does. Imagine an iPod touch with a 10-inch screen. I assume, too, that the tablet will run something similar to the touch-flavored OS at the heart of the iPhone — probably iPhone OS 4.0 (which has already been spotted in the wild).
Other lessons will be learned from the iPhone. Sleek industrial design, precious few hardware buttons and oleophobic coatings will feature in the spec sheet. So, too, will accelerometers, magnetometers and flux capacitors.
A cautionary note; despite assertions from unnamed Apple execs that we’re going to be “very surprised” by how we interact with the tablet, take it from an old cynic: It will be nothing like Apple’s 1987 Knowledge Navigator concept device (seen below). It might be similar in form factor, but I guarantee the Tablet has more in common with Apple’s venerable Newton than it does the crazily ambitious platonic paradigm that was the Navigator.
So with that out of the way, let’s get started with the 10 prescriptions for guaranteed tablet success for Apple, in reverse order:
10. OLED Display
I’m sure we won’t get this, and that’s a shame. Sure, we’ll still get HD resolution with an LCD, but the battery will suffer.
9. High-Definition Prowess
HD is crucial — 720p natively, 1080p via external screen. It has to manage at least three hours of continuous HD playback on a single battery charge.
8. eMagazine Reader
E-book readers are greyscale and dull. An eMagazine Reader offers colors, animations and adventure. (Plus, you can get automatic content delivery via iTunes subscriptions.) The concept below is by Bonnier R&D.
7. Ubiquitous Connectivity
Sounds fancy, but it’s just a 3G radio for connecting to the Net. For an added awesome factor, let’s do it WhisperNet style, with no monthly 3G fees. (Never gonna happen, but what a wonderful dream!)
That’s right, cameras is deliberately plural. One on the back and one embedded up-front for video iChat. Anything less than 5 megapixels, by the way, is criminal.
5. Touch Media
You know what we want here — multimedia creation, editing and consumption, all touch-friendly. The retrofitted iPhone’s iPod app just won’t cut it — what we need is a touch-based iTunes. And a touch-friendly iMovie would be very welcome.
We need real background processes, Apple. No excuses this time.
3. Awesome Battery
My dream in terms of battery life would be five days between full charges. But, realistically, this being a first-generation device, the battery will probably be weak.
Actually, apps are doomed. HTML5 will see to that, eventually. Until then, Apple’s tablet needs to run all the apps already in the iTunes Store. Even the fart apps.
So, from an HD screen, Internet connectivity, incredible battery life and support for software to more factors, many things are needed to make the iTablet a success. What’s the one killer feature that will guarantee Apple’s tablet huge and sustainable success?
It comes down to this. Most sane people will not buy a tablet if they can get a notebook (or an iPod touch!) that does all the same stuff at a lower price.
Of course, Apple may have already considered these things, and there are many other aspects of the iTablet that people are hoping for. While I’m sure we won’t get even half of these wish list (though perfectly reasonable) features, when Steve Jobs eventually makes the much-anticipated tablet announcement, he may convince many people that they need a tablet. If that happens, just check this list again for a brief reality check before reaching for your credit card.
Photo courtesy of Gizmodo. Photo rendering by Jesus Diaz.
Check out related research on the iPad from GigaOM Pro.