Take a trip with me to Fantasy Island”¦
The last Tuesday of the month is come and gone, and yet again my dreams of a Mac Tablet are dashed. I know it’s improper to lust after equipment this much, but perhaps that’s just where I am in life. I’ve reached a point (no matter how sad), that were I to see an attractive member of the opposite sex in a park with a Nikon D3 and Macbook Pro, I’m just as likely to think “Man, nice gear!” as any other potentially litigious thoughts. Now I know Apple doesn’t ask consumers about product design, but if they asked me about my oft-dreamed-of-tablet, here’s what I’d say:
#1. It’s an Accessory, not a Computer.
You could say the same thing about the MacBook Air, but the MBA isn’t priced like an accessory, it’s priced like a computer. The “Dream-Tablet” should be an $800 accessory to my existing collection of Macs.
#2 Because of #1, it doesn’t need to be powerful
We’ve already got “Back to My Mac,“ so if Apple beefed up this service a bit to run better over public networks, the Tablet simply becomes a “Cloud Computing” device; allowing me access back to my primary machine, whose power I can harness (alternatively, Apple if you’re listening: work with VMWare and make a “Mac Cloud” that these Tablets could tap into. You could do it if you wanted to, read Nick Carr if you want to know why you should).
Disconnected, if I’m on an airplane, or a cave in Bosnia, I should still be able to read a book, play music, drive iWork, Aperture or (Lord help me) Office. That said: I don’t need to be able to produce HDR images in CS3 un-tethered.
What I’m saying is: “Dream tablet” doesn’t need the latest lap scorching chipset from Intel.
#3 It doesn’t need a big hard drive.
Really. Solid state, instant-on OS is way better than storage for the sake of storage. If I had 16 Gigs to hold documents or photos that I needed to work on (or books I wanted to read) while contemplating the fate of the kid who keeps kicking the back of my seat, that would be plenty.
But lets make it expandable, here’s a novel idea: give me a slot, where I can “dock” my 160gig iPod classic. Just slide the whole sucker in there like some kind of removable drive, and we’re good to go; storage, music, movies whatever, making 2 accessories work together seamlessly, now that’s something uniquely Apple.
#4 Remember, it’s an Accessory.
Really, so when I’m back home, I don’t want to just put it on the shelf until my next trip (which is all too often). Lets make it into an active accessory I can use in my main computing environment. Watcom digitizing tablet anyone? Apple TV remote Control? Portable media hub? (I can totally see hooking this thing up to my TV and streaming video and audio), even just as an extra monitor, whatever, lets be flexible with it.
#5 It does not need to be:
An iPod, iPhone, iTypewriter, or a super-computer capable of composing a sountrack in Logic Pro and cutting a film short in Final Cut while waiting I’m for the First Class lavatory to become available. Nor does it need to use that goofy fake electronic paper stuff from Sony (which is cool for eBooks, but nothing else). None of that, just world-class “Back to my Mac”, and the ability to run regular OS X applications with a reasonable (say Mac Mini) level of performance. That and simply OUTSTANDING battery life.
Is that too much to ask?
Readers: what would YOU want out of a Mac Tablet?