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by Tim Van Damme

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Dreaming of an Apple Tablet

My Mom: Have you heard, Apple’s launching a pill in a couple of weeks!!
Me:
Me: Erm…
Me:
Me: Is it possible you mean a ‘tablet’?
My Mom: Yeah that!
Audience: [hysterical laughter]
The band: [rimshot]

It looks like everyone and their next door neighbor is super excited about whatever Apple will supposable reveal on January 27th. We’re no longer asking ourselves “Will Apple launch a tablet,” or “When will the tablet be available?” No, we’re completely certain Apple will reveal a 10” touchscreen pumped up iPhone/scaled down Mac in the upcoming weeks.

The buzz around this is only comparable with the launch of the first generation iPhone. As far as I can tell, there’ve always been 2 major subjects when it came to rumors about which products Apple could launch: A phone, and a tablet. Which makes me wonder what rumor sites will talk about after Steve pulls a tablet out of his pocket on January 27th. As Spencer Fry said on Twitter: We’ll just go back to bitching about [the] Apple TV.

I had a large draft with predictions ready, but waited too long to publish it. By the time I opened it early this week, multiple bloggers had already written a lot on the subject, and covered about 75% of my ideas. Here’s a list you should check out if you want to catch up on what everyone is guessing the tablet will be:

A couple of these much respected bloggers mention that Apple might try to change the way we see desktops and laptops. Combined with this new Lenovo IdeaPad U1 Hybrid Notebook (what’s in a name…), it sparked my imagination.

I had a dream

What about this: You have a tablet, which stores all your media like music, pictures, movies, contacts, personal documents… It has a touchscreen, wifi, bluetooth, fast SSD storage and a lot more. Everything you can dream of in a tablet, a nice “computer” you could use on the couch, in bed, on the toilet, in the kitchen. Let’s say it looks like this:

The Tablet
Exhibit A: The Tablet

Next, imagine an iMac sans the internal computer, just a screen with some extra storage, extra RAM, a stronger video card, maybe even an extra processor, and a docking bay for the tablet. Sounds familiar? Yes it does. Combine this “shell” with our tablet, and you get a fully functional desktop computer:

The Desktop
Exhibit B: The Desktop

Finally, to come back to our original source of inspiration, we have something that looks like the bottom part of a laptop. Built in you have a keyboard, a trackpad, some extra hardware and most importantly: A large second battery. If the battery life of the tablet would be something between 6 and 8 hours (in my opinion that’s the minimum), this peripheral would extend that to 12-16.

The Laptop
Exhibit C: The Laptop

This would be a perfect solution when you are traveling, when you need to take notes in a long meeting… All your files, with you all the time, and no need to keep multiple devices in sync.

The Complete Package
Exhibit D: The Complete Package

But I’m not an idiot. I’m well aware Apple will never launch something that can slide or click into a peripheral. Too many loose parts that can break, too many separate “devices”. Like I said: a dream.

“Why would I buy a device like that?”

Maybe you love using a laptop, but would like something more powerful for when you’re in your office. Maybe you’re a die-hard fan of desktops, but you miss having all your files with you when on the road. The possibilities are endless, especially when you add the option to install third party applications (like on the iPhone).

If it’s not running Mac OS X, but something more like the iPhone OS, it could be the perfect computer for your parents or grandparents. Or for your kids. Imagine the possibilities when using this device at schools. It could be a notebook, a diary, multiple textbooks…

Don’t expect Apple to advertise the device as an electronic book reader though. Yes, it’ll be used as one a lot, but it’s not catchy enough to sell it under that name. Just like with the iPhone, the software independent developers are going to write for this device will reveal the true power of it. There’s a lot you can do with a 10” touchscreen device.

Conclusion

Nobody (not even the people who say they do) has any idea what Steve will pull out his sleeve on January 27th. Right now, it’s a big blur, but as soon as the keynote is over, it’ll be so clear, so logical, that we’ll all say “Now why didn’t I think of that?!” The only thing I know, is that I’ll take 2.