10 Features That Would Make iPad a Hit

87 Comments

Apple’s (s aapl) 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.

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=8217311&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=ffffff&fullscreen=1

Mag+ from Bonnier on Vimeo.

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.

Mag+ from Bonnier on Vimeo.

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!)

6. Cameras
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.

4. Multitasking
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.

2. Apps
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?

1. Price
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.

87 Comments

MaggieB

“Apps are doomed???” In hindsight… with over 25,000 iPad apps already available in the App Store… I don’t think so.

jeey

aha, now it’s really hot!
there are so many ipad enthusiast all over the world!
Now got the ipad, you can watch movies, enjoy favourite videos, read ebooks, play games, read news and so on. aha, I think enjoy yourself with iPad will need many apps and tools, Here I’d like to share a list of iPad apps and games to all, go to ifunia iPad column and ifunia iPad video tools.
just have fun!

MsJoanne

Let us know when we can watch Flash videos and I’ll go buy one. Until then, iPass.

Lissa

I think they did a horrible job with the ipad. It has so many defects, is it really worth all the trouble?

Kaspian Aaby

Gerard is doing yeoman service here in batting down the more pointless or ill-considered swipes at this new device which — let’s please remember — none of us has actually seen yet.

This flood of negative comments that began immediately after the product announcement reminds me not so much of the negative reaction to the iMac, the iPod or the iPhone (which now look ridiculous in hindsight) but to the almost hysterical wailing of people who absolutely hated the newly announced Macintosh in 1984 (who had also never actually seen one).

In particular, the obsessive ticking off of all the things the new device can’t do or doesn’t have — a real operating system, for example — reads like a bunch of recycled comments from 26 years ago, with a few words and phrases replaced by newer equivalents.

It’s hard now to remember — and I suppose most of the commentators are too young, anyway — but people really were uncomfortable with the idea that with a Mac, you couldn’t type a string of instructions into a command line that looked like this:

|

That’s a blinking cursor there. This is what a real computer looked like. And a real computer had an operating system with a serious-sounding name like MS-DOS or CP/M. The Mac just had all these little pictures and some menus that dropped down from the top of the screen. It had a “mouse”! It had a tiny screen. It was a toy.

It didn’t use industry-standard 5-inch floppy disks. It didn’t have a separate monitor, or a hard drive. It didn’t run industry-standard software. “WYSIWYG” was a gimmick. The mouse wouldn’t work. (Seriously: nobody had even touched this mouse, but they knew it wouldn’t work. It would slow things down. It was awkward and unnatural.) Above all, perhaps, it was just too cute. Everything that a Mac could do (which wasn’t much) you could do more easily, more powerfully, and much more cheaply with a good old IBM PC.

It’s kind of fun, in a perverse way, to hear this stuff all over again, in a new and updated version. How does this happen, I wonder? It almost makes you believe in some form of psychic reincarnation.

laughing at you

the difference between the mac in 84 and the ipad is the fact that with the GUI on the mac it was a step forward and it opened up possibilities. with the ipad the OS is limiting what you can do. you can download only what they have on their site. you can’t use anything but the apps they decide are ok. that is the biggest problem with the OS. i agree it would be worth buying if it had a version of snow leopard, or a different OS that let you actually do more. i just don’t see any point in paying more than double for a larger screen and bad lcd book reader when you can get everything else in an ipod touch.

which brings to mind another thing. everyone keeps saying that this will beat out the kindle. not likely. it can’t be used outdoors like the kindle can. thats its biggest problem. i’m not anti apple just anti paying more than something is worth

MsJoanne

You absolutely can read this outside. I had my Kindle for the iPhone with me for two weeks in Mexico just a couple of weeks ago and read it daily sitting poolside. I still won’t buy an iPad but I think it beats the kindle hands down. I just want more (like a fully functioning Internet browser and multitasking).

Gerard Brennen

I think the Ipad will be a big hit! Not many people see the need for it yet, but when they get their hands on one, they will be surprised to see how well it performs and the reasons for it as a very simple device. Running smaller versions of windows vista, XP and windows 7 is not the answer for a tablet. those operating systems are not designed for tablets and will only make the devices difficult to use. Why would anyone want to do all their work on a tiny tablet. That does not make any sense to me. It seems that having a PC tablet is simply a trend and not a necessity. The Ipad is not a PC tablet. It is another kind of device with a specific purpose. I believe the Ipad has more practical uses than a tiny PC tablet.

Kingy

Apple needs to incorporate flash into their ipods, iphones and this ipad. i hate going to sites and not being able to use them because they’re flash

Gerard Brennen

I dont think apple needs to incorporate flash. The Iphone and Ipad is a big hit without it already. flash is a waste of time! flash will not make the product more appealing!

laughing at you

You don’t think it needs flash? flash is a must have for any internet device. why spend more for something that can do less? you can find a decent netbook that can do everything this will and more for less. its a ipod touch with a larger screen. it doesn’t even have more memory than a touch. i bet you think its cool that every apple product is restricted in its expandability. what you get when you buy it is what you’ll have forever

Charlie Schaefer

The ipad is a waste of money. Mosst of the qualities it has is what we have in our house. Also if your on the go it will only last 10 hours out of the day. Wide screen movies will suck. and why pay for books and read it on an ipad when you can get a real book in your hands. And you can only do one thing at a time. if your on the internet you cant listen to music while browsing. If your writing a document you cant minimize it and go do something else you have to close it. you cant even listen to music while typing it. Also it doesnt have a camera. we have everything that the ipod has. a regular computer is better than the ipad. we have tv’s we also have ipods or mp3s. The ipad is a waste of money. if someone is going to buy it its just going to be for showing off.

Gerard Brennen

Initially I understood your argument and agreed with you, but I can see where the product is going. You said, “why pay for books and read it on an ipad when you can get a real book in your hands?” I believe the Ipad will be a great study tool for students and professionals that do not want to lug around many text books that are cumbersome and weighty. There will be many study tools you will be able to use when reading a book, which you will not be able to do with a hand held book.
“If your writing a document you cant minimize it and go do something else you have to close it. you cant even listen to music while typing it.” The Ipod touch is so simple and it runs so quickly that you can close one application and open another in a matter of seconds. You will be able to move from one app to another as if it was multi-tasking. And you can listen to music while you are typing. I have an Ipod touch and I can listen to music while running all kinds of applications. And the Ipad will have a camera developed for it. I rather have a desktop computer for all of my work and have an Ipad for portable purposes, such as watching moves, reading books, and playing games.

Chris

Since the ipad has been put on display I think it will sell but in the long run? I wonder if the Ipad will be more of a niche product or will it have larger appeal.

I currently have a kindle and enjoy but the down side is the grey scale that all of books come in. Adding color to the images would be a big enhancement and it looks like the ipad has that covered.

Fretboard

Yeah I know, no Flash and no camera…I still think it’s a great product that will only get better. Price will come down, memory will go up within a year or two.

But what about the fight over the iPad name with Fujitsu? It’s going to be real interesting to see where this story goes. Will Apple actually have to give up the name iPad at this stage in the game?

Gerard Brennen

I agree! The Ipad is a great product that will only get better.

Sarah

I can’t believe people were waiting on an enlarged iTouch. Not only that but are willing to pay over $400 for it!

Place a magnifying glass over your iTouch and you will have the iPad and by gosh it will be free!

Gerard Brennen

I think if anyone buys a pc tablet will be wasting their money. tablets are simply a trend and why would anyone want to do all of their work on a tiny screen that will be difficult to use. On the other hand, the Ipad is a different kind of product. Its not designed for work you would do at the desk. It is designed for the things you want to do away from the desk, such as reading books, playing games, reading magazines. the Ipad will bring all of your media into one device, making it convenient easily accessible. You will be able to purchase all of your media from one spot. I see this as a big hit.

MsJoanne

I would buy a tablet in a minute if it had more functionality than this iPad. That there is no Flash makes it not fully web usable. That it can’t multi-task makes it a PITA if I want to listen to my satellite radio while reading email. That it has a limited Safari interface (my work email doesn’t function on my iPhone) makes it a no way possible device.

Google is supposed to be coming out with something soon. I hope it’s more functional than the iPad.

Cameron Dean

The iPad will eventually take the place of laptop computers. Okay you snicker at that now, but just wait. As this technology and device matures in the next few years, people with laptops will be old school. This one screen device, this iPad, is much like what Apple did with the iMac. The CPU box was eliminated and the whole computer is the screen. This is the beginning of the transition from laptops that do no have to flip open or have a hard keyboard to be useful. Most people do not have to type long documents on the go anyway. Save that for the home, office or hotel room where the hard keyboard dock is. The software keyboard will improve and as people use it more it will become familiar, comfortable and easy. We will no longer miss a hard keyboard as much as we thought we would. The iPad ushers in a new era where ultra portability and convenience is combined with simplicity and power. A device should disappear in your hand and the content should be the dominant factor. A bulky, clam-shell laptop does not accomplish that but the iPad does, and it does it very eloquently. Say goodbye to your laptop because it had it’s time. Now it’s time for a new way of thinking and living. New technology. Remember, there once was a Sony Walkman cassette tape player with a door, with buttons with a cassette, all replaced by the iPod. It’s not hard to see the writing on the wall for laptops. The question is, are you ready for a new way? Or will you be stuck in the past clinging on to the last breath of your ancient laptop?

Kenn

HAHAHAHAHAHAhahahaha.

Are you serious? I mean, the thing doesn’t have a real OS, its a giant iPod Touch. Most people DO want to multitask. Most people DO want ALL the internet content out there. Most people DO want to load their own software.

Not to mention that fact that you can play a bu-ray, nor can you store more than 2 copies on on, so HD playback is out unless you buy another copy of the movie from iTunes. You cant hook this thing up to your TV to watch what you have.

Its basically junk.

UMPCs have been out for a decade and none of them have caught on because of their limitations. This is a giant iPhone and the iPhone does it better because its smaller and can make phone calls.

iPad = Fail

Gerard Brennen

You can hook it up to your tv! The Ipad will simply develop over time and get better.

Gerard Brennen

I agree with you completely. Not many understand that the majority of the time, they do not do work on the go. Those that use laptops eventually find themselves sitting at their home desk doing the work, which seems to be the majority of the time. Having and Ipad that you can use away from the desk with simple functions, such as reading books, playing games, and watching movies sounds like a natural idea. I believe people will find the ipad fits into their daily routine naturally and will wander how they lived without one.

Moot

Looking forward to the 3D version to play Avatar DVD. I heard they really will call it iMaxiPad.

Bob

Summary of the iPad:

-It doesn’t have an SD card slot or USB slot. You want to load all your photos on it? You need to buy a special dongle and attach it to the iPad. Ah yes, that’s convenient and cost-effective.

-You need to lay it flat and look straight down at it to type on it. It’s not like a netbook or laptop where the keyboard is flat and the screen is in front of your face.

-You can buy a keyboard accessory — you can spend extra money to turn a low-power netbook-type tablet into a non-portable desktop computer. Meanwhile there are products like Lenovo U1 Hybrid where you can slip the tablet into a netbook shell and turn it into a portable, foldable laptop.

-Apple wants to say it will be great for reading books and magazines, but it has a bright, glossy LCD screen. Meanwhile, electronic book reader devices use an electronic ink technology that doesn’t strain the eyes and can be used in the sun.

-You cannot multitask. You can only do one task at a time. If you want to surf the web and type into a document, you can’t. You need to exit one and then open the other.

-No flash support. Enjoy the web without much of its content!

-Doesn’t use a real operating system, like Windows or Mac OSX. It runs like an iPhone, not a laptop.

-It costs $500, minimum, and has a 1 ghz processor. You’re paying $500 for something that has about the same capabilities as an iPod Touch, but is huge. Products with similar specs and abilities as the iPad cost less than that. If you want the model with enough disk space and 3G to make it worth your while, it’s $800.

My netbook has a 1.6 ghz Atom processor and cost me $200. And my netbook has an SD slot so I can make the hard drive space as large as I want. And my netbook has USB ports. And I can do multiple tasks on my netbook. Fact is, tablets have been around forever and the mainstream market didn’t want them. Just because they’ve slapped an Apple logo on it, should people suddenly want it?

hotr0d

Ipad would never make it big. I’d rather spend my money on a netbook than this big Ipod touch.

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