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My thoughts on the iTablet
It's a few hours before Apple reveals.... something, this afternoon, and I've got to say, it doesn't look good for Apple to me.

There has been a tremendous, enormous, amount of hype concerning a rumored Apple iTablet/iSlate/iPad 10-inch diagonal touchscreen tablet as the big announcement. Apple, as is their habit, has been completely silent, neither confirming nor denying the rumors. Rumors of an Apple tablet have been running around for years, but this is the biggest hype storm I've seen, ever.

Apple is in a lose-lose situation here. Nothing they could announce, but a tablet, can live up to the hype. But announcing a tablet puts an enormous amount of pressure for them to succeed with the tablet -- a task which is formidably difficult, considering no tablet has succeeded in the marketplace yet. They can't just say "we've a tablet", they have to say "we've an insanely great tablet", and be able to pull it off. And it would have to be insanely great even by Apple standards.

The press invitation, splashed with 8 colors and saying "come see what we've created", doesn't say "iTablet" to me. There's too much color involved, especially splashed around. An iTablet doesn't splash colors around in an appropriately new way.

To me, it's much more suggestive of a new suite of tools to help people be creative -- a new version of iLife, for instance. Minimally, it would have to be something which involves the splashes of color, and no one is going to be satisfied with 8 new colors of iPhone. That wouldn't be a creation, that would just be styling.

It sounds like something new, something colorful, and something creative. I don't see this as an incremental development on existing products (not the next gen of iPhone, for instance).

I can see it as a tablet if what they were introducing was a touchscreen tablet peripheral that was designed to work well with a new iLife suite, allowing you to edit sounds, images, movies, etc, in a more intuitive and faster way than using keyboard and mouse on a screen, but that's not what people are expecting.

Given Jobs and his track record, I expect it to be something that'll make me go "Ooh, I want that!". That's also a point against the iTablet (and always has been). I don't see what will make me want to carry around a device too big to put in my pocket, yet too underpowered to work as a laptop, especially without a keyboard. It's possible Jobs can convince me, but it'll be a tough sell.

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How about a primarily visual device? A camera, or a tablet with such a high-quality camera that's so well integrated for such things as video chatting that it becomes much of the point of the device?

How about an iPhone with two cameras, one on each face so that you can do the "augmented reality" bit of looking "through" the phone at things, as well as being able to do video chat (impossible now due to the camera being on the wrong side)?

The tablet form-factor is the really hard-sell for me.

I saw the press release yesterday. This looks to be nothing more then a direct competitor for the Amazon Kindle and other such e-readers, with the added bonus of Wi-Fi to stream and extra storage for movies and televisions.

I see this appealing to two specific crowds. Uber Star Trek Geeks that now have their very own datapad like one saw Captain Picard working on in his office in various TNG episodes, and those environmentalists who don't want trees to be destroyed to make regular books.

Wait, I thought of a third crowd. Those who don't want or need a laptop when traveling. This I-Tablet won't interfere with air traffic control, when one's not online, and it's much slimmer and easier to carry then regular books.

I admit, it is a temptation to me, if I honestly thought my entire library could be condensed into this one device, thus freeing several square inches of space in my dining room. But I suspect my current library hasn't been converted to e-book status.

Maybe in a few years, I'll consider it.

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