Whenever there is a discussion about Apple lately, the discourse has turned to the Tablet.
When will it be released? How much will it cost? What size screen will it have? Will it be like a big iPhone? All of these questions have, so far, been left unanswered. And there’s little likelihood that they can be answered until Apple makes its official announcement.
Regardless, some folks are still making broad predictions. One of the more prevalent predictions is that the Apple Tablet will be a solid, worthwhile device that just about anyone would want.
I’m not so quick to agree.
Will the product be nice looking? Of course. Will it have neat features? Sure. But it’s still a tablet. And by their very nature, tablets just aren’t ideal for many users, especially more sophisticated users. Realizing that, it might be time to take a step back, consider for a moment the impact a tablet computer can really have on the marketplace, and take a look at why, for many people, an Apple Tablet won’t be a worthwhile purchase.
Let’s do it.
1. Tablets aren’t replacements
Tablets are by no means a viable replacement for a notebook or a desktop. And although we have no idea what the Apple Tablet will look like, there’s little indication that it can replace those more powerful devices. Realizing that, the Apple Tablet could become yet another computer that people lug around when they don’t want to use other computers. It’s an add-on, not a replacement.
2. They tend to be expensive
Apple Tablet pricing speculation has run the gamut. Some folks have said that they expect Apple to price the machine in the sub-$1,000 range, while others have said that it could be even pricier. Since we only have history to reference, it’s safe to say that an Apple tablet will be expensive. Screens aren’t cheap. Hardware is pricey, too. If the iPhone went for $600 on its original launch day, is there any doubt that the Apple Tablet will be more expensive than that?
3. Touchscreens aren’t so wonderful
Touchscreens might be all the rage today, but they’re really not the best way to work on a computer. Typing is extremely difficult. And moving around the screen with a finger is not nearly as easy as using a mouse. Touchscreens are cool and all, but they just don’t provide the kind of usability most users are looking for.
4. What about productivity?
Following that, we need to consider productivity when buying the Apple Tablet. If it’s just a big iPhone with a few extra capabilities, there’s no way corporate users will be more productive using the Apple Tablet. We can point to the touchscreen for productivity loss. Plus, users will have a difficult time editing and producing documents with the virtual keyboard. If productivity is desired, the Apple Tablet won’t be the right product.
5. The bigger the screen size, the more difficult the experience
The iPhone is great because its screen size is small. Users don’t need to exert too much energy to zoom in on portions of a page, type out a message, or play around with apps. But an Apple Tablet will feature a much larger screen. That means more fingers will need to be used, responsiveness might be reduced, and worst of all, typing will require every finger, rather than a few. A larger touchscreen might look nice, but it won’t improve the experience.
Do iPhone Owners Really Need It?
6. Do iPhone owners really need it?
There’s currently no indication that someone using an iPhone will need an Apple Tablet. In the end, Apple’s phantom device is just a big iPhone that won’t be able to place calls over a cellular network. Why do iPhone owners need both?
7. Tablets aren’t better than netbooks
Tablets are meant to be portable. So are netbooks. A netbook mimics what people are used to on their notebooks. Plus, with a real, physical keyboard, users can be more productive than they would using a touchscreen. Given the fact that netbooks have been so successful, I’m not convinced that there’s a real need for an Apple tablet.
8. The middle road isn’t the best road
In computing, being a “middle-of-the-road” product usually leads to serious trouble for the vendor. Isn’t that what the Apple Tablet is? It’s not as useful or portable as a netbook, it doesn’t have the capabilities of the iPhone, and it lacks the power and productivity of a notebook or desktop. It’s an extra device — an afterthought.
9. What is its purpose?
What does Apple really gain by releasing an Apple Tablet? Sure, it will likely be a cool device, but it won’t help it sell more Macs. The Apple Tablet is a novelty product at best. It appeals to our inner geek, but unless Apple comes up with something revolutionary, it won’t appeal to our desire for a new and improved computing experience.
10. The world won’t change for a tablet
One of the biggest problems facing Apple is that the Web and software won’t change because the company has released a tablet computer. The tech world is designed for a keyboard, a mouse, and a monitor. It isn’t optimized for users to make an Apple Tablet their day-to-day computer. That will likely hinder the Tablet’s growth. And it might make some think twice about picking one up.
Is the Apple Tablet concept cool? Sure. But whether it’s worth buying is very much up for debate.