Sunday, August 23, 2009

Why a tablet, Apple?

Tired of hearing the rumored Apple's tablet?
If yes, then you ain't seen nothing yet. We're only half way to the next month Apple's [music] event, as we're nearing the September 9 (if the rumor is to be believed), you'll be seeing / hearing more rumors and topics about Steve Jobs' greatest next invention.

So today is no exception, like yesterday I'll be talking some more about Apple's tablet. Apart from that, what is the better way to tease you guys with those drool worthy images of how the tablet might be, than by keep talkin' about it over and over and over and... ~LOL~
Previously I've talked about what we know so far about the Apple's tablet, and if the deadline to introduce the device has got something to do with how many Steve Jobs' spare lives left, but the biggest question still remain: Why a tablet?*

* Note: the following discussion (ranting is more likely) only assume that Apple is indeed working a tablet computer for the Sep. 9 event

If you watched the latest PATV, Sammy was talking about the Apple's tablet too and his reason on why he much prefer a MacBook Pro rather than a tablet is a spot on. Many of you must've also agree at some point and wondering on why would Steve Jobs pick a tablet as the incarnation of his next idea to change the world, so we to speak. With the big wide blank space left out cold lying somewhere without answer, let's have some fun by trying to assess the posibilities and try to burrow inside the unfeasible mind of Steve Jobs.

The survey says...

According to a new survey conducted by Retrevo (via AppleInsider), an electronics product review search service; 34% of 300 students surveyed said they prefer "small lightweight netbook," while only 17% are planning to buy an Apple MacBook, the rest said they're going to get PC laptop. This is an obvious and clear sign that netbook is gaining popularity in the academic circle, a society which is populated by 20-something crowd, the age of consumers that are most likely to buy an Apple MacBook because of its "coolness".

In the contrast of high-priced MacBooks compared to the low budget netbooks, Apple need to act fast to attract that 20-something crowd back to its embrace. Analysts believe, tablet is Apple's answer, and it will become a very different device (from other similar devices) that will target a very niche market. Something Apple loves to do.

But on the contrary, Apple dislike survey and never did market research (that we know of). “We do no market research. We don’t hire consultants”, said Jobs in an interview with Fortune magazine. "But we never hire consultants, per se. We just want to make great products.”

Because for Steve Jobs, there's only two kinds of product he acknowledge: amazing product or trash. There's no in between, there's no a so-so product for him, it's either a good end result (for him) or simply just trash. That's why he often taunt his engineers to create the impossible, and sent them back to the drawing board again to start from scratch if he sees something he doesn't like. And for that very reason, Jobs believes that the customers are paying Apple's gadgets for the right price.

If the price is right...

With the global economy crisis slowly past us all, yet still leave an unsecure financial feeling behind, and the irresistible price of netbooks looming restlessly on Apple's most potential buyers, I don't think Apple is only planning to sit pretty and do nothing. That is just not right for the company who has won Fortune's Most Admired Companies this year for its innovation, there's got to be something brewing at Apple's kitchen...

But here's one small fact; no matter how good Apple make their Macs, price is still the crucial part on deciding to buy a laptop, especially for students with limited budget. Money talks, but not the way the saying is originally intended. But Apple still won't make a computer under $500 price tag, Steve Jobs even has said something like this when he was asked about netbook's attractive price: "We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk, and our DNA will not let us ship that."

That's why rumor has it the Apple's tablet will costs around $700 or above, even though Apple is going to positioned its tablet against netbooks. The tablet itself along with the price tag will fill in the gap between the iPod Touch and cheapest MacBook, creating another option for users to pick according to their need.

What a tablet can do?

Let's toss aside the "coolness" factor that we know for sure the netbook's can not and will not compete with Apple's tablet, and while we're at it let's also throw away for a moment the price tag predicament that we know for certain Apple's tablet price can not be the same and will never be under netbook's. With those two factors out of the picture, the only remaining left is the features comparison.

The first idea of netbook is as simple as its name; it's only for surfing the web, email, chatting, read/compose documents, and all other light tasks that don't need powerfull hardware. And as long as the users are not using netbook for heavy multi-tasking, it's not designed for that. All because of the netbook's design, it must be small and lightweight so it'll be easy for users to carry netbook.

A tablet's design is pretty much close to the netbook's I've just described above, in fact a tablet has to be better since there's no physical keyboard attached to it. A tablet is smaller and more lightweight than a netbook, thus it's unlikely to be more powerful than a netbook. And let's not forget Apple's multi-tasking policy in iPhone/iPod Touch: there's no multi-tasking allowed. Combining them all, a tablet will have to rely more on the "cloud" to do more tasks.

If the "cloud" is the limit...

The netbook popularity marks a new dawn of how people use their mobile computer, and it's going up onto the cloud computing. Apple realized this very well, that's why the company is building a gigantic new data center in Maiden, North Carolina. So big, that Rich Miller the editor of Data Center Knowledge called it as "a big-ass data center.”

“The companies that are building the biggest data centers tend to also have the biggest cloud ambitions,”says Miller. And that is for a very good, and also for a very BIG reason. Apple is selling more and more iPhone and iPod Touch every year, App Store is growing larger every day, Push Notification needs more power to move around the cloud. And with the coming of a new family member into the products line-up, Apple must think of expanding its cloud services. It's only natural, a family always move to a bigger house when a baby is coming, or expand the house to make room for the new offspring.

We all familiar with how Apple do its business, there's no way Apple is only planning to sell its tablet just like that without any new features in it that will make it more than just an ordinary tablet amongst the existing similar products in the market. For all we can imagine, it's possible that Apple is preparing some kinda cloud services to compete with Google.

The search giant company is the biggest threat to Apple, all of you remember how Apple blocked Google Voice app in App Store, and now the issue is currently being investigated by FCC. The Google Voice app can turn iPod Touch into an iPhone, because of the VoIP service provided by Google. The aforementioned app basically eliminates the main thing that differentiate iPod Touch from iPhone: voice call, no wonder AT&T is so pesky about the app existence.

While on the other hand, there's a theory that Apple blocks Google Voice app because the company wants to have similar service pre-installed within the tablet, avoiding such trouble with AT&T and FCC, since the device is physically different from iPhone/iPod Touch.

Killing two birds with one stone...

But wait, can't the iPod Touch do everything the tablet can do?
To tell you the truth, from what I've talked so far above, all in all if I may say: Apple's tablet will most likely like a giant iPod Touch but with bigger body and larger screen. It can do pretty much the same of what iPod Touch can do already.

So far Apple has keep improving and adding more features into the iPod Touch, blurring even more of its function from an entertainment mobile device or a PDA. But what is the difference of iPod Touch from its siblings, the other iPods? The big wide screen of course, its a better solution for people who wants to watch a movie or read an e-book on iPod but the screen is too small.

And there's also a problem of storage, every iPod line-ups including the Touch have limited storage capacities. The biggest capacity iPod Touch got is max at 32GB, it's barely enough to fit in one or two HD movies. A tablet has more space inside to host bigger storage capacity, along with bigger battery, hopefully. So with a tablet, Apple hopes to give an ultimate entertainment mobile device which can perform as PDA as well. In short, Steve Jobs is going to "kill two birds with one stone."

Love it or hate it?

Then where does that leave us with the Apple's tablet? Like it, or hate it? Or perhaps you don't vote? Hear... hear... If your choice is the latter, maybe it's because you haven't seen the device yet. Same here. Previously, there's a live shot of the purpotedly Apple's tablet circling around the blogosphere, it was coming from a French blog. But I don't believe it's the real deal, since the device is so not Apple-like quality design, it's lacking that "cool" minimalism aesthetic you see in every Apple's products.

Actually, for me the closest live photo shot of the highly rumored Apple's tablet was coming from Pocketables. The gadget blog received two sets of photos from an anonymous tipster showing an unidentified MID that runs Android OS, but when you see it closely (pictured above) it does have some similarity to Apple iPod Touch. Such as the silver/chrome finish of the mysterious device's round bezel, and the dark glossy screen reminds me of the MacBook's screen. Could it be the real deal?

Unfortunately we'll have to wait few more weeks till Apple's rumored September 9 event to see the real tablet... *sigh*

No comments: