Monday, August 24, 2009

Apple's next device? iPad?

Today the Wall Street Journal has an article about Steve Jobs and his focus on the new tablet. Following the article was a link to a discussion group addressing the question, "Would you buy Apple's tablet device?" The following is my posted response to the question:

Yes I would, however, I would try to wait for second or third version. Apple has a history of creating new paradigms - Macintosh, iPods, iTunes, iPhone. The question I keep asking myself is what would be the new paradigm for a successful tablet? I can only speculate that it would be a wifi internet device that would use "cloud computing", i.e., internet based applications. An existing example would be Google Docs. The goal would be to move the storage of apps and data out to the cloud. The primary cloud destination would be Apple's MobileMe subscription service. The next question is whether or the device would access data via a cellular network. Perhaps it would connect via a tether to an iPhone thereby eliminating the need for a second data plan. I don't see the tablet having voice telephony. The keyboard would be a larger implementation of the virtual keyboard, however, hard core typists could purchase an external bluetooth keyboard. The real hook, however, is ebooks. This device would be a Kindle killer. The ebook market would be broken into four segments - fiction/non-fiction books; newspapers, textbooks (college and grad students); professional references such as a law library (court cases), an accounting library (GAAP), a tax library (IRS code and Regulations) and a complete medical library (PDR, etc.). The fiction/non-fiction segment obviously competes with Kindle. The newspaper segment would now have a media pad the could resemble a newspaper metaphor. The textbook segment would be a hit with today's high tech device savvy students who are more comfortable with a browser than a pen or pencil. Finally, you would have the professional segment would be more than happy to pay for a portable casebook/reference book metaphor. Once again, I'm just speculating, but doesn't it sound like the next paradigm change would be the printed page?

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