tablet musings

My mind has been tinkering with speculations about the Apple Tablet for many moons. Everyone is talking about hardware, interfaces/interactions, e-reading, and App Stores. I have my own ideas and contemplations about all of these things. But to me, the real question is what will the tablet bring to the table that’s fresh and exciting to a large audience. There must be something. Apple isn’t just going to sell a big iPhone.

What my logical, Spock-reminiscent brain keeps arriving at as the most likely core, compelling new feature of the Apple Tablet is a touchscreen-centric iLife suite. My brain can’t even begin to conceive how awesome iLife could be as multi-touch based applications: iPhoto, iChat, iMovie, GarageBand! The prospect makes me giggle with delight.

The iPhone has communications down. There isn’t a lot of room for the Tablet to improve upon that (except possibly switching to a cellular data provider other than AT&T). But email, texting, calling, twittering, facebooking, all your favorite communications are handled marvelously on the iPhone. Aside from a “mobile phone, a widescreen iPod with touch controls, and a breakthrough Internet communications device” (Steve Jobs’ initial description of the iPhone), I believe iLife is the most mass-marketable trick up Apple’s sleeve. It’s a huge part of what makes owning a Mac attractive to non-computer-type people. And to bring that into the mobile space in a satisfying new way could be a huge hit.

Also, Apple always likes to set the precedent of what the software will look like on their platforms. They want developers to follow their design cues. On the iPhone that meant making apps like Mail, MobileSafari, and Weather. When you break down software on the iPhone, much of what you have are amazing widgets. But if they’re releasing a new 10-inch device, there needs to be a trendsetting, substantial line of software to go with it. The iLife suite totally fits the bill. As great as their hardware is, software has always been the most compelling reason for playing in Apple’s court. The same will stand for the new tablet. Whatever we see, there are definitely going to be applications that will be compelling to your average everyday person. And to my mind, that’s iLife.

In any case, I’m excited to see what Apple has to offer.

January 12, 2010 at 11:50 am

In MS-land, we would think of iLife as a kind of “killer-app” which really gets peopled excited and motivates them to buy the product (in this case, the Apple Tablet).  I agree that iLife has some really cool scenarios that Apple may be (or rather “should be”) taking advantage of.

If they can wow the world with one killer app, they can wow the development community and inspire them to create the next killer-app on the tablet.

Chris, January 12, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Well, iWork is close to iLife. At second thought, iWork is an easier task to tackle. I’m sure development of touch iLife is on the way.

Chuck, January 27, 2010 at 12:19 pm

@skoda on @technochocolate on