If Apple did make an iTablet – who would use it?

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It’s been a while since we’ve had any ridiculous Apple rumors, but Loop Rumors fixed that for us last Thursday with their post about a top secret Apple project called “iTablet”.

You can see an “artists rendering” of the device above, but really there’s not much to “render” with this particular rumored device. It’s described in their article as a “Mac Communicator” that will feature Multi-touch 2.0.

There are a myriad of reasons why this device is never going to happen – despite what any “insider sources” may say…but the primary question I have to keep keep asking is, who’s going to use this thing?

There are no specifics on the dimensions of it, but we can assume that its significantly larger than an iPhone. I would assume, if they’re going to keep costs down in any way, shape or form, that it would have to be a smaller screen than a Macbook. So let’s assume it’s in that ballpark. What’s it going to be good for? Surfing the web? Watching movies on the go?

We already have that device in the iPhone and iPod Touch. Why on earth would we need it in a slightly larger, much harder to carry around form?

Then there’s the talk in the article of a “mini-dvd” drive. Let me get this straight, Apple, the company that almost completely ignored iDVD in the latest iLife update. The same company run by Steve Jobs, who dismissed DVDs all together by talking about “some customers who still use DVDs” during his iLife 08 presentation – THAT company is going to create a device that essentially has a proprietary disk drive on it?

Are you kidding me?

I can’t think of one reason why I would buy this device. The concept of an Internet tablet is long gone. It makes no sense. You can buy a notebook and have a full blown computer in your lap that’s light weight and easily portable. If you want even more portability Apple has two products you may have seen an advertisement or two about called iPhone and iPod Touch. They deliver a fantastic mobile web experience that is one Flash download away from being perfect.

There is no need for a device like this. If Apple did make a device like this I think its safe to assume that it would go down as one of the stupidest moves in the company’s history (not THE stupidest mind you – but in the Top 10). It’s a device that doesn’t solve a problem. There is no market for it, and I can’t imagine there being even a 10% chance that this is real.

Now, having said that – if this was a device that was a 13 or 15 inch screen, that could dock onto a stand and be used like a desktop, but also had multi-touch – I’d be right there with you. That, to me, is a great evolution of the iMac line, and a home computer that is the most mobile desktop you’ll ever have. Sadly, that’s not what this rumor is talking about. What this rumor is talking about is a device that just plain doesn’t make sense.

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Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo is a stalwart in the tech journalism community, has been chronicling the ever-evolving world of Apple products and innovations for over a decade. As a Senior Author at Apple Gazette, Kokou combines a deep passion for technology with an innate ability to translate complex tech jargon into relatable insights for everyday users.

13 thoughts on “If Apple did make an iTablet – who would use it?

  1. A few years ago, Apple had a meeting with several consultants in the medical profession; they wanted Apple to produce a wireless portable high res. image viewer. The reasoning was that, why should medics be carrying around bundles of notes, test data and X-ray images for each patient? The problems were reaching crisis point in that notes got mislaid, filed wrongly and thus applied to the wrong patient, X-rays were unwieldy and difficult to view critically at the bedside.
    Steve Jobs is reputed to have said ‘Sorry guys, we’d love to do it but it just ain’t possible with todays technology’.
    Move on a few years and everything has changed.
    I can see such a device being produced very easily now with Apple’s technology – especially multitouch. In fact they could offer a turnkey solution with Xserves and iTablets that would revolutionise bedside consultation with far less room for mistakes and making life much easier for the medical and administrative professions.
    That’s just one area looking for a solution and there are many more where laptops are not appropriate.
    My 2cents

  2. @flint

    That’s a good point – but would this be that device? Would Apple create a new disk standard for it (or adopt one that almost on one uses)?

    I hope Apple does make a Tablet…but I think in that situation it should be a device that is more like a tablet notebook, don’t you?

  3. There were quite a few disabled kids when I was in school who used tablet computers to work and talk to others. Medical doctors would get a really good use out of it too. Plus if you watch Stargate Atlantis, one of the characters always bigs up Macs.

  4. One thing I wanted to add, is if they made an iMac that was undockable, that you could pick it up, undock it from the power source, go sit on the couch and use it instead of sitting at ur desk. or a laptop thats screen could bend backwards and snap shut, then use that in ur lap without the keyboard and mouse. But as standalone device I think it would be dumb, iPhone already does all that.

  5. And some of the same people said that Apple were stupid when they made the iPod…

    Just because YOU won’t use it, doesn’t mean that others won’t.

  6. @nimbus

    Yeah, I completely understand that just because I might not use something, that doesn’t mean others won’t – but your argument is missing the point of the post.

    The iPod filled a need. People needed and wanted a way to play mp3s that was well designed and thought out.

    Can you tell me what mainstream need this device would fill?

    I get the medical argument – but I would counter that those medical people would want something at least the size of a sheet of paper – which is not how this device is described.

    If you look at the picture, that disk is supposed to be a min-dvd – which puts the size of the device at something around the size of a paperback book.

    That doesn’t make sense.

    It’s only slightly larger than an iPhone, but not near large enough to function as a computer.

    I am ALL FOR a Tablet Mac – but the device being described here is NOT a tablet Mac, it’s a small tablet with its own version of Leopard and a disk drive that no one ever uses.

    The rumor doesn’t make sense. The idea of a Tablet Mac is a great one – but this device being described would be a terrible move on Apple’s part that would not make sense for the company.

    What need does this device fill for a mainstream user base?

  7. Tablets seem to be gaining ground in Education. Tablets connected wirelessly to projectors while running a class.

  8. iMac mini sounds cool. where you can just pick up the screen and go. Couple it with the new bluetooth keyboard. I don’t believe the mini DVD disc though. Seems a bit useless i would rather have no optical drive if it would have USB or firewire to connect one when needed.

  9. As a student, I can’t tell you how cumbersome a laptop is to carry around to all your classes. When you have to setup, shut-down and move every 50 minutes or so, a laptop becomes a burden. I’ve gone back to pen and paper to take notes because there are too many steps to take to use a laptop and quite frankly I retain hardly any knowledge while typing.

    I hope Apple comes out with a multi-touch tablet so that the only step to use, is taking it out of my bag.
    – I could write notes, draw sketches on it and file them all away.
    – I could read my course books (which by the way, 75% of my classes now distribute the book via powerpoints and pdfs instead of physical copies)
    – Lightweight construction, high resolution screen.
    – And I can watch a movie, play games, surf the internet, and chat with friends all at the same time.

    The screens on the iPhone/iPod touch are too small for reading text books.

    As for the mini-CD, that will not be integrated. It is obvious Loop Rumors capitalized on that patent filing to increase their page views for the day.

  10. @ Chris-

    I’m on board with you on this one. I’m a pharmacy student and the paper load we have been given is really out of control. I would guess that each student has a ream or two of paper in their possession at any given time. I also prefer to physically write something vs typing it in, which never seems to work as far as retention goes. Nearly all of our notes are delivered and accessible online, so we could go almost paperless, which would be a HUGE reduction in clutter and waste. We could achieve the same form of notes- with powerpoint slides and notes written on the tablet. I would buy a mac tablet in a nanosecond if they come out with one…The iphone is cool, but won’t work for serious school duties!

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