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Dr. Touch #011 – "Waiting for iSlate"

Now in the final days before the next big Apple event there are no real news. The contest seems to currently be who can come up with the coolest iSlate rumors.

Play

The show notes aka my script you find after the break.

News

On January 27th Steve Jobs is expected to unveil the fabled iSlate tablet computer. The only concrete information had been the time and date and an invitation to see Apple’s latest creation. It is unlikely however to be something in an existing product line. The artsy look of the invitation suggests something colorful and not sticking with a pre-existing frame of reference.

So far we can guess that the iSlate will be a 10 inch tablet with two dock connectors so that it can be used in portrait and landscape mode. It will use an advanced multitouch metaphor like we know it from the iPhone and sources tell us that there will be a steep learning curve for the brand new interface as multitouch gestures will be the main source of navigation.

The iSlate will run apps made with iPhone SDK 4.0. For this purpose you get second simulator with the SDK, one for iPhone and one for the tablet. When building your app you will not have any difference between building for tablet or iPhone, only when submitting it for review you will have to specify which platforms you can support.

The iSlate has media consumption as primary focus, but Apple is also considering vertical market applications, like in hospitals to replace traditional clipboard and paper. Since the app store has been one of Apple’s most lucrative inventions we can be rather certain that this will also be the preferred mode of getting apps onto the device. This restrictive policy has long been said to be the major drawback for using the iPhone for corporate applications but at the same time rumors tell us that iPhone OS 4.0 will make the mobile devices more like PCs. One immediate effect we can think of is that we will finally be getting bluetooth keyboard support for all iPhone OS-based devices as well as a possibility to use the iPhone or iSlate as multi-touch input for your desktop Mac. Possible also as additional wireless display.

The consensus is that the iSlate will have to have between 5 and 8 hours of battery life to be a useful mobile device which you could carry around meetings without having to recharge it all the time. Having GPS was one rumor, but in the very least we are going to see Core Location via WiFi so that you can use cool mapping applications on the slate.

Finally about price: the sweet spot for which there currently exists no device in Apple’s product line is between 500 and 800 Dollars. Since Apple has a history of putting the price towards the absolute upwards pain threshold it could be as high as 1000 Dollars initially. Though since Apple has learned from the mistake of having an exclusivity deal with AT&T it is likely that mobile providers will offer deals where you get the tablet for maybe $700 with 2 year contract.

Well we could be totally wrong, rumors about the tablet exist for over 10 years now, ever since Apple made these two famous concept videos “Future Shock” and “Knowledge Navigator”. I have links to these on my blog. I am convinced that these portray the vision that Apple has been working towards feverishly. Though we still won’t be getting an AI as digital personal assistant wearing a bow tie who is able to usefully answer our calls and do our bidding. Or will we?

In any case you can bet that I’ll be glued to the meta blogs of all the major sites as the announcement is taking place. Judging from what we saw on 2010 many people seem to think that this year will be the year of the tablet. We would be astonished if Apple won’t try to do with this market what they already did with the iPhone or iPod.

Interview

Today I am having Lee Armstrong of pinkfroot as guest, maker of the first commercial app using DTAugmentedRealityController: Ships Ahoy!


Categories: Podcast

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