The Unicorn Tablet: My Take

Tomorrow is the big day for Apple, and even though there’s a lot of argument about what’s going to be announced, everyone out there seems to think that it’s the fabled Unicorn Tablet that’s been talked about for months now. Whatever happens on the 27th, it seems that an Apple Tablet may be in the works one way or another, so after the jump are my thoughts on the Unicorn Tablet and the future.

Is It Real?

Well, I think so. There have been too many leaks over the past few months to really question that it exists. Ultimately though, the question really is whether or not it will be released tomorrow.

I’m going to say yes. Whether it’s all fiction or not, I think that Apple knows there is a demand for an Apple Tablet, and assuming that it’s up to Steve’s high standards, I imagine it will be on the shelves by summertime. I’m leaning towards later in the year for a few reasons: Maybe carrier issues need to be worked out, or there are logistics with getting it out to the stores. Either way, we won’t see one on shelves Wednesday, that’s my thought.

Will it Cure Cancer?

Nope. But here’s what I think it will have:

  • 802.11n
  • Bluetooth
  • Beefed up iPhone OS 4.0
  • Super Thin
  • SD Slot
  • Solid-state drive, maybe 128gb
  • Sealed enclosure, no access to battery or ram
  • Innovative new multi-touch

Some of those are gimmies, really. I mean, who couldn’t guess that it would have 802.11N? However, here’s the stuff that I think it should have:

  • Bluetooth integration with the iPhone (tethering, syncing, etc)
  • Unique AppleTV/iTunes interface, different from traditional OSX but closer to the Remote app for the iPhone
  • iPhone-style versions of iLife and iPhoto
  • Hi-Def OLED screen
  • Aluminum body, setting it between the iPhone and MacBook in style and product placement
  • Game-changing OS

None of That is Very Exciting. What About Textbooks? The Kindle Killer? Etc?

I think the tablet is going to have all that and more, but I don’t think it’ll be tablet specific. See, if Apple is going to save the publishing industry, they can’t just put everything on one device. It’s got to be universal among all Apple products, just like music and videos. That’s why I think there will be something added to iLife that works around that premise, or something just integrated into iTunes. It’ll be a way to read textbooks, novels, or your favorite gossip rag, on your iPhone, MacBook Pro, or Tablet.

What About the Name?

John Gruber posted about this first, but I think it’s genius: Canvas. It’s the perfect name for this product. What it won’t be is iPad or iSlate. That’s just retarded.

What’s the Price?

I think the sweet spot for this thing has to be between $400-800, otherwise it gets too close to being a 13-inch MacBook, and too low is infringing on iPhone territory. I’d love for it to be on the lower end of the spectrum, but I just don’t see it happening.

What About the Carrier Angle?

I don’t understand why it’s a requirement for this tablet to have a cell-phone provider onboard, I really don’t. Inexpensive netbooks don’t have then built in standard, and the only real motivation I can see for that is to lower the cost. But if the tablet is the same price as an iPhone but gets used less, is anyone really going to pay for it monthly? I wouldn’t, and I know lots of other people won’t either.

That said, I do think it will have that as an option. If you plan on using your tablet 24/7, then hook it up with Verizon, AT&T or Sprint, but there’s wi-fi built in too, just in case you don’t want it. That way, the most people are happy with the product, and it opens it up to the most markets.

Why an HD-OLED Screen?

OLED is thin and fancy, so it  works with  the small form factor that this thing has to fit into. But HD is almost a standard nowadays, and soon the iPhone will sport an HD-capable monitor as well. With a form factor that suits movies so well, I think the tablet will have an HD screen, which will help to sell more HD movies on iTunes. That said, it’s costly, so I’m probably wrong on this one.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, this device is going to change the way people think about computers. This is meant to be the object that takes us into the Star Trek-esque world of portable communicators and handheld computers, and I think that Apple is going to really shock us. No matter what I write here, I ultimately think that this is going to be a truly revolutionary device and change the game the way that the iPhone changed the smartphone industry. But to do that, it’s got a lot of high marks to hit, and it’s not going to be easy.

But what am I worried about, anyways? Steve’s got it under control.

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