Monday, January 25, 2010

The Obligatory “Apple Tablet” Post

Admit it. We knew this would happen sooner or later.

As a breathless tech community awaits Steve Jobs' expected announcement of an Apple tablet computer this week [Wednesday?], the online speculation has gone into hyperdrive ...

We have a report from (the online edition of The Detroit Free Press), as well as a clip from's own Brian Tong.

I got a Nook this past Christmas. Well, officially anyway. It arrived last week. (Thanks, Paul. You're really swell!) I've yet to open it, since I want a slipcover for it before I lug it around clumsy people other than myself. Despite some mixed reviews from first users, which has been met by the prospect of a free software patch to enhance performance later this year, I find that the new-and-much-talked-about B&N device is preferable to Amazon's Kindle and Sony's E-Reader. Not only can the Nook read PDF files (and I already have a number of books in that format), but it reads them as is, as opposed to just text, and in a more compact size than the upscale Kindle DX.

I've been a Mac user for over twenty years, mostly at the high end of the product line. In my experience, the new tablet -- will they call it the “iPad” or the “iGotcha”? -- will cost twice as much and perform half as well as it should, and that users with any prudence (and limited financial resources) will wait at least a year for the “improved” and marked-down version.

Eventually, the lines between cell phones, e-readers, and personal computers, will converge either into one device, or a set of interdependent devices -- say a wristwatch that functions as a cell phone, with a Bluetooth-linked micro-netbook small enough to carry on a belt, and a listening peripheral also linked via Bluetooth, and/or an alternate set of eyeglasses with interior visual readout. Then we'll all chuck what we have now and go get the whole set.

My money's on the end of the decade. What sayest thou?


[THIS JUST IN: According to the Christian Science Monitor, Apple may not be alone in rolling out a tablet computer this year.]


RobKPhD said...

There are some things that may merge, but I think that the devices will remain distinct. I still have a radio separate from a TV - dedicated devices are typically better at the task than things that supposedly do everything.

My money is that while there may be some convergence, and there will certainly be networking, we will still have plenty of individual devices. We will have our mobile communication devices, we will have entertainment devices, and we will have productivity devices. And within those, we will still have specialized devices.

David L Alexander said...

You'll notice I mention at least four items which a user carries on his person, two of which might serve as stand-alone devices. I think what to look for here is the symbiotic relationship between devices depending on the needs of the user or the circumstances. Maybe I should paint a scenario for the near future. Stay tuned ...