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Considering the Mythical “iTouch Tablet”

By deans ~ July 29th, 2009. Filed under: Random Thoughts.

Let’s get the formalities out of the way first.  All of this is just rumor, and it could all be the same story getting retold, refined and amplified as it makes the rounds.  If so, shame on me for giving it some time.  For the sake of argument, though, let’s assume that there is something coming this fall, with a 10-inch touch screen, a tablet format and an $800. price tag.

Personally, I completely discount the attraction of sitting around looking at album art (even in an altered state) as the Wired story seemed to suggest.  A Financial Times article, that was the original source for the Wired piece, claims:

“It’s all about re-creating the heyday of the album when you would sit around with your friends looking at the artwork, while you listened to the music,” said one executive familiar with the plans

I guess that I’m not enough of a music lover, but that just sounds like a complete waste of time, compute cycles and bandwidth to me.  Further, I cannot imagine that there are large numbers of people with both $800 to spend and a burning desire to sit around in a circle staring at album art, even interactive album art.

I’m completely in agreement with the always entertaining John Paczkowski (I miss reading Mr. Paczkowski in Good Morning Silicon Valley, back in the days when there were these things called “newspapers.”) when he asks, in his inimitable snarky tone:

“Which begs the question: Can that heyday ever be recreated? Now that we’re accustomed to purchasing only the music we want via the thin-margin, 99-cent-song-by-song downloads that iTunes pioneered, can we ever be convinced to pay a premium for bundled music, cluttered up with a bunch of liner notes, wacky band photos and throw away filler songs?”

Maybe it’s just me, but the ten-inch form factor seems to be a little bit bulky for constant presence.  The beauty of the iPhone / iPod touch is that it’s always with me.  I don’t have to think about whether I want to lug it, and I try to be rational about the risk of scratching the screen.  Let me tell you, if I had an $800 10-inch unprotected screen, I’d worry about it a lot, and I’d constantly be trying to decide whether the benefit of having it with me justified the risk of carrying it.  This is especially the case if the device has enough battery capacity to let it operate with the 802.11 radio on and the screen lit whenever I want to use it through the course of a day.

Fortunately, the FT seems to be less certain about the actual dimensions of the screen:

“The new touch-sensitive device Apple is working on will have a screen that may be up to 10 inches diagonally.”

…but many of the stories that report on the form factor seem to be trying to interpret the chicken bones from the Apple supply chain.

The FT does mention something about books:

“Book publishers have been in talks with Apple and are optimistic about their services being offered with the new computer.”

I’m not sure that I see a “Kindle Killer,” though.  Let’s not forget Walt Mossberg’s smackdown on the Kindle DX:

“Unfortunately, I’ve been testing the Kindle DX and I didn’t like it nearly as much as the Kindle 2, which I own and enjoy using daily. While it performs its promised tasks adequately, I found that its size and weight made it awkward and tiring to hold for long periods of reading.”

For those that are sticklers about such things, the Kindle DX has a 9.7 inch screen.

Lest I venture too far into the forbidden territory of questioning Apple, I have to share Jason Schwarz’s assertion that,

“Apple’s iTouch Tablet Will Become Its Flagship Product”

Mr. Schwarz presents four rational reasons why he sees:

“… this device taking its place at the high end of the iPod family; it will be a larger version of the iPod Touch. This product won’t fall quietly into place however. The iTouch Tablet launch is primed to be the most significant in the history of Apple.”

Giving credit where credit is due, I borrowed the name for the mythical device from Mr. Schwarz.  I do hope that he’s right in his rather bold assertion.  Maybe we’ll see in a couple of months.

I wonder what kind of changes we’ll need to make to our apps to have them run on this thing.  Will we be able to use the same SDK that we use for the iPhone/iPod touch?

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2 Responses to Considering the Mythical “iTouch Tablet”

  1. sri

    Apple Tablet may be launched this Christmas or possibly as early as September and might cost $800.00 with Verizon as the carrier. I hope this will be another great rally for apple earnings. I will buy one of this for sure. The iphone started to be too little to stay all the day looking things. I am a great fan of apple product so started collecting all the information (more than 200 sites) about Apple Tablet(News, Videos, Pics, Pre reviews, Rumors etc.,). If you are interested take a look at the below link

  2. deans

    Hi Sri-

    It’s good to hear that you’re a supporter of the new device. It sounds like the heftier form factor won’t deter you from carrying it with you. I’m not quite that committed. I really like having something pocket sized (or smaller) as my constant companion.