Apple iPad: Would you buy a tablet-sized iPhone?
When Apple introduced the iPhone, it hit my personal sweet spot of a device so perfectly that I knew I’d have it with me all the time. As my lifestyle has increasingly become an always-on, always-connected one, having the ability to communicate in a variety of ways (voice, SMS, Twitter, moblogging), instantly look up a phone number, address or some obscure fact (the latter which always receives that “not again!” look from my wife), use the new Google Maps features (which I now prefer to my in-car navigation) means that this device has woven its way into my psyche and you’ll now have to pry it from my cold, dead hands.
In my eight months of iPhone ownership, I’ve discovered that anything besides casual use (even when connected to Wifi) is less than optimal and heavy Wifi use sucks the juice from the battery at an alarming rate. Sometimes when waiting or bored, I’ll break it out and surf sites, but pinching-n-zooming gets old real fast. The tradeoff for having the internet-in-my-pocket with my phone (and always available) is gazing at it through a tiny screen and for now, I’m more than willing to make that compromise with this delightful device.
When Apple introduced the Macbook Air, I thought that finally, here was the perfect computing device for both my bride and I to augment our main computing boxes (she a 24″ iMac, me a Mac Pro with Apple 23″ display). Especially her, someone who travels globally and where every ounce she packs matters, is someone I thought would leap at this device. For me, someone who strongly desires a “more portable, portable” that is a step-up from the iPhone, chances were good I’d be buying one.
Not gonna happen for either of us.
The two of us — who also own the latest Macbook Pro’s — the Air’s compromises for amazing portability is it’s just too far under the threshold for power and storage. My bride travels to tradeshows where she’ll take 1,000 photos per day (meaning storage and speed is an imperative) and upon her return she’ll connect it at home to a big Apple display (and the MBPro can drive such a display nicely while the Air cannot) to sort images for her reports.
With my MBPro, I have a box that can nicely run InDesign, Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, Screenflow, and Final Cut Express. It has expansion ports allowing me to connect up all sorts of external devices. For all but my most power hungry requirements (e.g., video editing or transcoding a video into Flash which I do on the Mac Pro), my MBPro is perfect.
What I find, however, is that I’m walking all over the place with my laptop and so is my bride. We watch TV with them since we’re always looking stuff up (which was fun during the Academy Awards) and often pause our DVR to have conversations about some fact one of us has discovered (and we even fact-check when something doesn’t smell right on a news show).
John Markoff of the New York Times had this post today called Reading Steve Jobs. In it, he reads the tea leaves as it’s clear he has a sense that an “iPad” (or some such tablet-type form factor) is in the offing.
I’d concur and think they will. It makes no sense that Apple would hit a home run with the iPhone and iTouch to not accelerate down the “touch” road with other form factors. If you read my post on MSNBC’s primary coverage which started off, “This, my friends, is the future of television” you’ll understand how I’m seeing the need for Internet-connected computing devices to augment (or maybe replace) some of the activities we’re doing today like TV watching, reading books and newspapers and so forth. (Note: the last debate streamed by MSNBC was, by all accounts, horrible).
Yes, I believe Apple will unveil an “iPad” in the near term and it will be an under $1,000 device sized somewhere between a journal and a tablet (8.5″ x 11″). My questions are, “Will I feel about it like I do the Macbook Air? Underpowered and too compromised?”
Knowing Apple, they’ve asked them all (and many others) and will come out with the best possible feature set to hit the broadest market segment possible.