What TiPb Really Wants from the iTablet -- No More Tech Support Calls from Mom


TiPb's iTablet hopes and dreams are fairly simple -- Apple, please make us a device we can give to our moms and never get another tech support call back from them in our lives.

Okay, maybe never is dreaming in AMOLED color, but we'd settle for seldom at this point. And we don't mean to pick on mom -- feel free to substitute or add dad, siblings, neighbors, and everyone else to the list.

Now, almost no one outside of Steve Jobs knows exactly what Apple will be releasing at "Come see our latest creation", yet everyone and their blog is speculating, including TiPb. Doing for print media what they did for music? Sure. Great. Nice. Text books, subscription TV, iWork touch? Fine. Fine. Fine. Content and apps you will bring we have no doubt. We expect no less. But we want that one more thing, and we want it pretty much to be what Daring Fireball, Ars, and Marco Armant suggested almost a month ago -- a modern, highly abstracted re-conception of the personal computer meant for mainstream users.

Apple helped bring the CLI (command line interface) to the masses with the Apple II, the GUI (graphical user interface) with the Mac, and the multitouch interface with the iPhone and iPod touch. Each has been easier for more people to use than the one before, but the iPhone and iPod touch traded mobility for functionality to the extent that while great devices, they can't fully replace netbooks or laptops, which is the sweet spot for consumers.

An iTablet could. An iTablet that removes any care or concern about right vs. left mouse clicking, saving files within hierarchical directories, icons disappearing from docks, files littered across the desktop, disk and other maintenance, complex software installations, windows getting lost, drivers causing disasters, and all the headaches that come with a regular person trying to manage a monstrous modern computer system like Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux.

Google is trying to do a lot of that with Chrome OS, but that will still be a WIMP (windows, interface, mouse, pointer) GUI that's basically a browser and subject to the greatest terrors WebApp interfaces can bring.

If Apple can bring an iPhone level of usability to a tablet sized device and give it just enough productivity to let regular people edit what documents they need to while enjoying incredibly easy access to their magazines, newspapers, books, videos, music, games, and apps... If Apple can make a device that "just works" for 80% of mainstream users... If Apple can make a computing product that I can give to my mom and not have to worry about getting a call saying "where did my internet go?" or "I swear it's clicking on things by itself"...

If Apple can do for the personal computer once again what they did with the Apple II and Mac -- make it more usable for more users -- then that's all TiPb really wants.

Will we get it? Shrug. Apple's track record is fairly good, and a lot of people smarter than we are seem to think it's the next logical step, so all that's left is to cross our fingers, throw away our tech support hotlines, and wait for Wednesday's "Come see our latest creation".

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

What TiPb Really Wants from the iTablet -- No More Tech Support Calls from Mom


No iPhone news will be coming out of this event, since i'll see apple wanting to give the Tablet all the spotlight. We will however be foaming at the mouth as to the possible iPhone 4.0 software in the Tablet.

What if now bare with me, apple doesn't come out with a tablet. Maybe their just using it as a decoy for a bigger project they have been working on. Because let's say you have an iphone now do you really need to carry around an iphone and a tablet ? Probably not. Let's say you have just a cheap phone and have a laptop or macbook do you need a tablet ? Maybe a couple of people will bite but not a lot. Now I could see a tablet in a school good for books and internet. But I don't see this thing taking off like an iPOD.
And if this tablet uses a data plan even less people are gonna want it who needs two data plans (phone and tablet). I see a touchscreen Mac coming not a tablet.
Sorry for my long post bored at work. Just my opinions.

I just can't see it. The delusions of grandeur are out of control right now.
Are you really going to type on a virtual keyboard on a 10" screen that you have to look down at, and the keyboard takes up half the screen?
If there is voice input or a brain implant where it reads your thoughts maybe. Bluetooth keyboard?
The iPhone is different entirely I think. Before it was released everyone I know knew what it was and that it was coming. I ask around now and no body outside of internet tech blogs seem to care about this thing. And the price, that could put the masses out of the game entirely. How many $500/600 iPhones did Apple sell?
I won't believe anything until I see it, let me put it that way.

Ah, the great "Geek Plea" Rene.
This is so true. And its true of the iPhone as well. The iPhone is the first phone I ever had which you simply could not own without also owning a computer and knowing how to use it.
If the iWhatever is going to replace newspapers and magazines it better be drop dead simple to use, and no fighting routers and such.
However, unless apple is going to spring for the total cost of the dataplan like Kindle/Nook, I suspect there will be a fairly substantial technical requirement to get it set up, keep it paid for, apply updates, etc.
Its not likely in other words.

Your post is 5 days away from becoming Famous Last Words.
I mean really, being "doubting Thomas" this time last year was reasonable. But at this late date with the entire press community knowing about bits and pieces which when taken together approximate a whole? Come on!
We already know the color the share the size and the capabilities. In fact we have several candidates for EACH of those. Nobody has shown the charger yet...
But NOBODY is suggesting something like a tablet is NOT coming out.

Never get a tech support call from Mom (or Dad) - yeah, that will be the day. I'd say that this would happen when my kids become adults, but my wife is a technophobe so maybe when my still unborn grandchildren become adults.

The iTablet will not be shown at this event nor do I think one will ever be shown. I just do not see a use for an iTablet. The iPhone is marketed as a bridge between a cellphone and a PC, where does a suspected iTablet fall in line? An enlarged iPhone would be pointless. A Macbook without the keyboard would also be pointless as a virtual keyboard will take up half of the screen.
I am sorry, as much as I would like tablets to succeed I just don't think I will ever see it. Whether its HP, Dell, Apple, whoever making one the thought of this is stupid.

When the iPod Touch came out they asked who would want an iPhone without the phone. Not until the apps came out did we realize what people would be doing with them. This month the biggest convention of neurosurgeons is going paperless by distributing iPod Touches at their event. Imagine what they could do with something that isn't a toy.

This thing will take off. The newspaper and magazine industry will jump on this because they know their readerships are tanking. I'm guessing there will be subsidies, say you order a tablet, with it you attach it to your already active AT&T dataplan, you opt for several magazine subscriptions for at least a year and all tied together they subsidize the cost of the device. In a year or two at the rate technology is advancing just like the 3G you will be able to get a low cost tablet

This "article" is word by word taken from Gizmodo from a few days back...god you guys suck !!!

Didn't read anything like this on Giz, though I did link several sources where I did see the concept mentioned. If I missed it on Giz, my bad.
It can't be word for word, however, as they write much better than I do.

@sting7k: ..."Before it was released everyone I know knew what it was and that it was coming."...
That's because Steve Jobs announced it, at MacWorld, FIVE MONTHS before it was released. Plenty of time for even the slow kids to catch on. I expect Jobs to announce the new tablet device, the allow for 3rd party developers and content providers to create apps and content for the thing.
"I just can’t see it. The delusions of grandeur are out of control right now."
Can you see the HP Slate? The Dell Slate? The Kindle? The Nook? Well get a good look now, because they're about to get tossed into e-waste bins around the world.

I have played with the e-ink devices. I would NEVER buy one.
@sting7K "are you really going to type on a 10' inch flat screen?" In short, Yes!:)

What I want to see is for this blog something new. I'm tired of reading this boring article. Update!

For some people technology comes easy, for others what seem simple to us are difficult concepts.
Many people pay me get them started on PCs, Macs and iPhones. They often have difficulty just getting past square one.
I bet the new device will be great, but that won't keep many people from being stuck.

I would love to see Apples take on a tablet. But my concerns would be the implementing of the keyboard. It has to have total ease of use and loaded with functionality. And then my other mind-struggle is: what about all those in-browser gestures we use on PCs/macs? Like scrolling within a webpage. Or panning in a flash game (if there will even be a flash onboard!) like in games on facebook for example where you zoom in within the game and move the surface in the game around to view other things. It's going to be very very interesting. And maybe it could simply be a tablet mac altogether. A mac without physical keyboard.