Yes, we do not need a tablet.
Yes, some people need a tablet and their needs are mostly being served – whether it’s a niche market or for artists who want to draw with a stylus – they need a tablet but NOT the one Apple is presumably delivering in 2010.
Yes, a flat personal computer with a stylus input is nice but so NOT NECESSARY and that’s why there has been no market for it so far. Prior, the problem was the LED screen was either weak, washed out, heavy in weight and or expensive … also missing was an interface that made sense for a computing experience that is “flat.”
Without mocking the obvious shortcomings of the OS developer from the Pacific Northwest or Scandinavia – the iPhone was clearly the FIRST TOUCHSCREEN interface that was not only appropriately responsive but more importantly – made sense. Now, I’m NOT saying the iPhone OS interface is perfect – just a quantum leap from before.
And only Apple would be gutsy enough to create an interface that essentially had FOUR settings. SWIPE. TAP. SCROLL. HOME-BACK BUTTON.
Unlike other attempts at designing a touch interface, you were not required to decipher a bunch of icons to use the interface or hope you did not lose your stylus. Again, not saying the iPhone is perfect as it would be nice if the double or triple tap were consistent across all apps but comparing it it previous touchscreens? It was amazing. And also importantly, it worked. Previously, many touchscreens would just stop accepting input randomly or more importantly, was simply a front end that was weakly designed that if you went further in, eventually you’d run across its GUI interfaced stacked on top of line commands. In other words, ugh.
Clearly, not a problem with the iPhone OS. But that is also a quandary – clearly on a tablet form, you want additional options. Or do you?
So, is there a need for a giant iPhone-iPod?
For some things, the answer is obviously yes. Presumably storage will start at 32GB to 320 GB? That means renting or buying HD movies makes much more sense on a larger screen.
Of course, most people would also prefer to surf on a larger screen and presumably, tabs are also back.
Certain applications (besides the obvious games) would also make sense on a larger screen such as TRAFFIC MAPS-GPS – especially if you could break off part of the screen and zoom in while keeping the larger view on another side of the screen. And of course, it would be nice to keep multiple apps running in their own window simultaneously – be nice to be able to resize and move them around the screen so you can watch a MLB live game while double checking your flight info in a smaller corner view.
As someone who has over 160 apps, it is time to bring over the FOLDER feature.
The current iPhone screen holds 16 APP ICONS, does this new screen hold 64? Isn’t that a bit too much? Do we want resizeable APP ICONS? So, we can get anywhere from 16 honking HUGE icons to 100?
I think the key here is that the tablet iPhone must delivery an appropriate user experience for a giant iPhone – that it must delivery MORE just as the iPhone delivered more than the iPod scroll wheel experience – that clearly Apple did not just add features to the iPod user experience in making the iPhone but reinvented everything appropriate to an iPhone – same with a “GIANT IPHONE.” That the OS that worked fine as a music player OS was NOT an acceptable one for a phone and Apple took the next step forward on the iPhone and again, must take another step forward.
For instance, on the iPhone, you accept you cannot look at many screens at once, it would be pointless on a 3″ screen but if the screen is 9″-10″, we will expect more. It’s even more than just multiple apps running – it will have to be closer to a the next step forward – that I can “tear” off pages to put in a folder. Or perhaps, travel itinerary info. Yes, I can bookmark multiple locations in MAPS but it has to redraw it everytime, the GIANT IPHONE will have to allow me to either ‘tear off’ that page and store in a folder or something along the use of tabs. Or for instance, one of the real estate apps, I want a personal database that I can access instantly and “offline.”
in other words, I want all the extras that come with a larger footprint and larger screen.
One aspect wanted on this new device will be an e-reader that people actually want. Yes, there are quite a few e-readers already out but much like the Mp3 market or the smartphone market, clearly the devices out there only fulfill a small portion of the real market needs. Monochrome screen is too 20th century and every review of the Kindle, the Nook and the others point out some deadly flaws – slow and/or poor user interface (UI). Two flaws that just beg for the Apple touch.
In one sense, it’s pretty obvious, a magazine or a newspaper page is much like a web browser page but the problem is simply replicating a magazine or newspaper so far has been unsatisfying and until that problem is resolved, a dedicated e-reader is POINTLESS. My magazine and daily newspaper are portable and cheap so unless you deliver me a QUANTUM leap in user experience, then why bother?
Let’s look back slightly – what was portable music like prior to the iPod. Before ANY mp3 player, you were restricted to audio cassettes or a portable CD-R player – nice but you had to expend time to create your own or of course, listen to a few tracks and then switch AND if you did not carry that disc or cassette, you couldn’t switch to another kind of music.
Same with the cell phone – we wanted GPS directions, to look up info on the web, to jot notes or to store info … and of course, play games … but with a 1″ screen as one option or to buy some super expensive phone with a larger screen BUT with a some super expensive data plan and a crappy UI interface – what was the point UNTIL the iPhone delivered exactly what we wanted.
The e-reader needs are much more vague. Yes, we want portable & complete information an there is an appeal to have access to that info without having to guess what issue it’s in or remember having to carry it with us BUT since I can buy the paper equivalent for a dollar to $5 dollar for mags & newspapers, it’s not exactly like not having my 100 CD’s with me … OR even a book. Most books costs $10-$25 dollars and after reading it, if I do not like it, I can still shelve it to look smart if I buy a book like THE SOCIAL HISTORY OF ROMAN ART or give it away or better yet, re-sell it. Printed matter is fairly portable and mostly disposable. I have read novels and left them on planes – not caring to carry them back with me if I deem it unworthy to sell or giveaway. I lose that option with an e-reader and you can argue that in many public transportation choices, you do not want to be waving around a $1,000 tablet – versus a $10 book that is most likely not going to warrant anyone’s attention.
Bottom line, an e-reader has to deliver MORE than what I’m getting now.
Another point to newspapers and magazines is that I can tear out the pages I want to scan them … are the publishers willing to give that to us in electronic form?
There are many mags being offered on the iPhone that look nice if you are going in a page-by-page chronological order but in 99.9% of the cases, they offer me no more interactive elements than a printed version – can I save the article? can I save it as printable-PDF version and store it elsewhere – can I drag off a quote and/or more importantly, can I drag off or copy a photo? If they are scared to offer me that feature, why not just go to web version or even scan my printed version?
But that is only the beginning. They need to take advantage that the e-reader should offer us virtually unlimited space – that articles do not need to be edited to fit the costs of printing but also, maybe some people do not want to read 40,000 words on the topic so every feature should be offered in summary, print & expanded versions. We need more photos and more illustrations and perhaps even video … and or access to more indepth information. And it has to be SMART linkages and not the current web version where random words like PERSONAL COMPUTER are underlined with rollover definitions of what a personal computer is and CLICK on the BING link to learn more about this ‘personal computer’ thing – how stupid do you presume we are?
Yes, I know some publishers are offering this online but it is so poorly designed and basically just an excuse to shoehorn in more ads.
And speaking of which, we do not mind ads but it’s going to scary from here on in because we really only want ads for things we are interested in. One of the brilliance with Google is their AdSense links are much more precise – if I type in Greece, I do not get ads for cooking grease as prior to Google … but these new e-reader ads have to take another step forward. We understand that print ads have to be vague to capture a broad swath of the audience as it’s impossible to target specific interests within the broader male 18-49 high income audience and you don’t want to be so exclusionary that we never see ads for things we “say” we’re not interested in because as with most new technology, people cannot conceptually grasp it, they say no. (surveys in the late 1990′s had ‘most’ people saying that talking on a cell phone was stupid and pointless and that would never be something they want to do EVER).
But basically advertising has to take a giant step forward to maintain it relevance. The last thing I want to do is flip through STATIC ads on an e-magazine/newspaper. As noted, print advertisers have done or have attempted to create a web link but so far, it’s NOT ENOUGH. Interactive ads that just point to the front page of the advertiser is STUPID. I can do that.
Advertisers have to be flexible to deliver that ad to the way people want to absorb the ad online and on an e-reader. Whether that’s a boring coupon link, a local link, a detailed & specific link or more multimedia features or better implementation of that ‘augmented reality,” that’s what makes advertising interesting and useful. Yes, on the surface, people will say they want no ads but they understand the need for ads AND really, like ads – such as the Super Bowl ads, people don’t mind ads if THEY ARE ENTERTAINING and USEFUL … such as shopping apps or ordering pizza apps, etc, etc … but print advertising must step forward to the 21st century … it’s NOT EASY and there’s no obvious answers but repeating and copying a technology from 300-400 years when the first newspaper ads rolled off the press is NOT AN ANSWER … just as the first ads were chieseled on a wall somewhere … times change, let’s look around and make that leap forward instead of just repeating the past.
For publishers, it is scary because elements are out of their immediate control and require MORE WORK – do they open up the archives, does my subscription entitle me to read EVERY article that publication has ever posted and is that scary? Or should it be? How much control do they have now?
And that applies to publishers of books – scared that Amazon has priced e-books at $9.99 but like the music industry, they don’t think of their savings – there’s no guessing how many to “print.” And of course, any that are not sold have to either be marked down (if it’s a disaster) or returned if it just sell not as well as hoped – ALL monies that comes out of their pocket AND there is no used book market to affect new sales … and that’s a consideration also but of course, it’s easier just to claim that every ebook sold is X dollars difference from a copy sold via the traditional method but no printing costs, no shipping costs and no returns. And of course, the current situation is that every additional page costs money to print but additional pages for an eBook? Negligible. It’s difficult to insert photos or illustrations into a typical printing plates but electronically, no problem or as I read a lot of historical books, I would GLADLY pay extra for interactive features. For instance, maybe after reading a book on Columbus voyage, I can simply click on an interactive map of his voyage and by tapping on the line showing his ships progress, a page pops up leading me back to that page so I can re-read that or something … but again, that requires more work but the opportunity is there.
And to apply the social network opportunities, why not online book clubs? I’m sure it will have a built in microphone and maybe even a webcam?
As is with the graphic novel-anime-comic book industry. It has in some senses been marginalized because you require specialty knowledge to sell it or your retailers are unable or unwilling to carry the entire spectrum of releases … and adding to that, it’s intimidating for a newbie to step into one of these stores or even a Barnes & Noble to know here to begin. The audience is out there and now is an opportunity. DON’T BLOW IT! Now, instead of trying to decide which ones are worth “publishing,” – as long as you can create an “eBook” version of it, why not? And as with other offerings, why not add sound effects (as some versions already have) and again, NO paper printing costs, no distribution and no returns. Face it – comic books, anime & graphic novels are spendy at $3+ per volume/issue – part of that is its limited printing & associated costs but there are many I am interested in reading but not necessarily interested in owning so this is the perfect opportunity. Right now, this portion of publishing is marginalized because it’s intimidating for newbies to try out but this is the perfect opportunity – why not read Volume 1 for $.99 and decide whether to continue without leaving the house.
And to continue while we have heard from major magazine publishers, there are dozens of minor magazine publishers with specialized content that is limited by distribution or a reluctance to subscribe because you don’t know how long they will keep publishing. Or international publications?
In the beginning, beyond the gadget freaks (like me) who will want one – the next part is really up to the publishing industry to finally realize that they have to stop marginalizing THEMSELVES because of printing costs, postage costs, distribution issues and the LAST CENTURY of looking at the marketplace. Just as the first guy who put color in a magazine or the first guy who created regional issues … the world is changing … hurry up and change with us!
And back to the hardware. I have no worries it will be interesting and cool from Apple. It will be nice if 3G was available at a reasonable price … and speaking of which, my feeling is there will be a really low end model that sells for $799 and the one you want for $999. , with a subsidized internet access (presumably), it’ll be like $649 and $849 … this will be priced far enough from the monochrome Kindle (@$489) – why price it any less when you’ll have all these extra features for “only” a hundred dollars + some?
But of course, the $649/$799 version might only have like 32 GB of storage but the $849/$999 will have like 128GB so you will easily justify the higher cost as the better value but for the first 6 months, Apple gets to say – as little as $649 (before discontinuing it).
And of course, the pricing will be that it won’t affect sales of the MacBook or the low end MacBook Pro – sure, the “Tablet iPhone” will be a few hundred less but no full size keyboard and no DVD, etc, etc … um, Apple knows what they are doing when it comes to pricing.
As with the iPod, the iPhone & the Mac – yes, you can buy an ultracheap “thing” in its-this category but then it’s not from Apple and it’s not an iPod™, not an iPhone™ and not a Mac™.
But of course, expectations are at an ultra high level. It will have to be QUANTUM leap as the iPod, the iPhone and the original Mac from its predecessor … so we shall see but see you on the 27th.