Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Thoughts on the Apple Tablet - Part 3, Marketing

What class will be the new Apple tablet? Is it a big iPod Touch or a multi-touch Macbook? What will be its name?
The first question is partly answered via the choice of operating system. If the tablet runs OS X iPhone, it will be considered a big iPod. If it runs OS X Snow Leopard it will be considered a Multi-touch Macbook.
The same goes for the name. It will be either iPod Pro or Macbook Touch.
However, if the Apple tablet features a middles class OS X, then the name is up for grabs.
It still depends on how revolutionary is the new software. If it resembles a Macbook, it can just be called Macpad.
However, if Apple plans to redefine the product class similarity as it did with the iPhone, the new device may as well be called an iBook ( a name Apple has already used for a consumer type of notebook before the Macbook)
Apple switched to Mac in its laptop line when it switched from Power PC to Intel architecture in 2005. However, ever since WWDC 2008 it dropped Mac from its OS name as OS was now running on iPhone as well on Macs. Back in 1998 it used to put Power in front of its Pro products and "i" in front of its consumer products. Ever since 2005 the name iBook has been seeking its new product.
So the logical choices are:iPod ProMacbook TouchiPad (entry level tablet)Macpad (bigger tablet)iBook
If Apple introduces several classes of Tablet products and especially an upper class in the $1000 range, it may as well drop the current Macbook from its product line up as it is Pro in software but consumer in hardware and it is an old design.

Toughts on Apple Tablet - Part 2, Software

As I laid out my arguments in part 1, I believe the iPhone OS will form the backbone of the Apple Tablet. What is more is it will likely be able to run the same apps from the iPhone App store.

That does not mean the 10 inch screen will have 480x320 resolution. Rather that apps made with Interface Builder in the iPhone SDK can work with relative resolution independence. Switching from portrait to landscape mode provides the best proof for that. Most apps like games will need a higher res version but that should be a minor development problem.

The biggest paradigm of the interface will be wether Apple will allow more than one app to launch at any one time. Actually, the current problem with the approach Apple has taken with the iPhone is not that background apps are not allowed. Its the speed of app switching and the fact that most apps do not return to the same position when relaunched. The iPhone 3GS addresses most of the first problem. The tablet hardware will likely eliminate that problem completely. However apple and the developers need to work harder on making an App relaunch in the same state it closes.

Here is how background apps can be easily enabled. The double click home will leave the current app in the background while simultaneously going to the home screen. The running app will be represented with a blue dot. Apple may also move all apps currently running in the dock, so they are not spread out amongst different home-screens.

An alternative is to use the multi touch trackpad gestures on Macbook Pros. Swiping 4 fingers up will leave the current app running while going to the home screen. Swiping 4 fingers down may launch expose for easy app switching.

The second question is what will be the default hand held position: portrait or landscape? Most people assume a tablet to be used in landscape along with a pen. There is one small problem for Apple with that approach: the virtual keyboard. The best way to type on a virtual keyboard is with two thumbs. Holding it sideways will make some buttons unreachable. The tablet is just way to wide for that. However, holding it in portrait mode might feel just right.

Given that both the iPhone and Apple Table will be used with fingers and feature similarly looking OS, most visual elements will likely remain the same size on both devices. So the Apple Tablet will not have 16 icons per home scree plus 4 in the dock but as much as 70 icons per home screen plus 7 in the dock.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Again - a short poem (kind of nice)

by lantinian

Is it fear or is my soul in pain,
have my feelings been in vain,

Have I lost you due to distance,
or did the fate provided the assistance,

All I know is that I terribly miss you,
and all I need now is to kiss you,

You have got inside my heart
and I can't imagine breaking it appart,

I wish we have more nights together,
I wish to feel your need of me forever,

I want to get back to you today,
But fate has decided for another day

So when you read this in the morning, Know this,
My love for you is what keeps me going
Once again

Sent from my iPhone

Thoughts on the Apple Tablet - Part 1 Hardware

The ability to predict the future via educated guess based analisys
can be a satisfying experience especially if it concerns a popular
The whole industry expects Apple to unveil a tablet like device to
compete with the netbook class devices.

Expected Hardware features.
- various reports suggest the use of a 10 inch touch screen. This
decision will greatly improve the real estate and productivity of its
only other touch screen platform.
- allumuminium unibody enclosure. This is a no brainer. The Apple
tablet will very likely look like a thicker but smaller makbook screen
- there will likely be no moving parts such as stands ot rotating
cameras or build in pen
- VGA isight camera is a sure guess but the device will likely not
include a backward facing camera.
The performance components will greatly depend on the choice of
operating system used. Given the huge popularity of its iPhone OS, I
fully expect the tablet to feature a custom version of OS X based on
the iPhone rather than the full featured Snow Leopard. As usefull a
tablet computer is it cannot utilise many of the powerfull software
bundled with Snow Leopard. On the other hand, many iPhone programs
will blossom if given a bigger screen and more powerfull hardware. The
size and the thickness of the Tablet will not allow for even a Macbook
Air air processor, ram and VGA to be installed. On the other hand, the
iPhone OS will fly even with backgroung Apps on even the most basic
notbook hardware. Apple has a chance to deliver a very unique user
experience at a very low hardware cost and i Think they will take it.
The big contributors to the tablet cost will not be the processor and
RAM but the 10" touch screen and the develepment of a custom Tablet
OS. As there is a hardware device gap between the iPhone and the
Macbook, there is a software gap between the iPhone OS and the OS X
Snow Leopard.
- so we are looking at a Sub 1.6GHz processor and an ION based
platform as the top specs of the device.
- again comparing the ports to the Macbook Air, we will likely see a
1xUSB and a headphone jack. No Mini Display port will be present as
this is not a desk operated device. Some might expect even a SD card
slot but Apple has reserved those for its top Pro products.
- It will be interesting to see what type of charging port the device
will use. It cannot be a macsafe power connector as the device will
likely be too thin for that. The most obvious choice is an iPod
connector which will also provice a syncing solution. The only issue
with the iPod connector might be its charging capability. An apple
Table will have a signigicantly bigger battery than an iPod Touch even
not as large as a Macbook. Apple does not have currently a single
solution to meed those requirements.
- a new for any Apple product might be the integration of a 3G antena
supported by one of the wireless carriers, most probably Verizon.
Since Verizon operate a different 3G network than most other
operators, the Apple tablet might be the first Apple device to support
bothe GSM and CDMA networks. Those capabilities however go strongly
against a alluminium unibody as it will impart reception. We may see
inovation in the matterial used for the unibody or the unibody
enclosure may have openi gs for its anthenaes similar to the one on
the iPod Touch.
- as far as hardware buttons are concerned we may see a configuration
like on the iPod Touch. Home button along with power button and volume

One thing is sure. The Apple table will likely comand a very hight
gross margin given its simple componets list but advanced feature
trough another breaktrough in software.

Part two will look into the basic software concepts likely to be uses
in the device.

Sent from my iPhone

GPS on the 3rd Gen iPod Touch

There is mounting indirect evidence that the 3rd Gen iPod Touch will
have a GPS chip inside in addition to other more widely expected

Before we discuss why it will have lets look into why the 1rst and
second gen iPhones did not have.

The 1st gen iPod Touch was a barebone test platform for Apple to gauge
interest into its touch Interface. It was marketed as a iPod with
internet capabilities. None of its original aps had a need of a GPS.
Google Maps for example could not download maps outside of WiFi
coverage and so fiding your location regardless of internet conection
was not feasible.

While the 2nd gen iPod Touch did allow 3rd party Apps that can make
good use of GPS, accurate positioning was again not yet feasible
outside of Internet coverage and of little use within it.
The most impprtant category of Apps that needed location data outside
of WiFi coverage was Turn by Turn and Apple did not allow those yet.

Here is what was on the table by the time the design of the third gen
iPpd Touch was finalised.
- Apple had 1 year experience running the App Store and had a good
grasp of the need of accurate location data in Apps.
- Apple had 1 year of experience using the iPhone 3G GPS chip to brimg
down cost and optimise power consumption
- Apple was shipping the 3.0 software that allowed developers to write
turn by turn apps
- Apple introduced Places feature in iPhoto '09 which made use of
location data inside photos.
- GPS equiped camera device is the best option for Pictures with
accurate location data.
- Apple has reportedly ordered camera chips for its new iPod Touch
identical to the ones used on the iPhone 3GS.
- The iPod Touc had found a target audience different from the one
buing the iPhone and so making shure the the iPhone OS platform runs
on devices with maximum compatibility is a top priority for Apple.

So the 3rd Gen iPod Touch will not only feature the faster hardware of
the iPhone 3GS but likely also the Magnetometer and GPS chip.

Sent from my iPhone