Monday, January 25, 2010

My final prediction on the Apple slate

In August, I wrote a post with some predictions on the Apple slate or tablet. Now that it is finally about to be unveiled (on Wednesday), I wanted to add a few final thoughts.

First of all, I still believe what I wrote on that post:
  1. I still think it will mainly be an e-book reader, doubling as a video player, gaming machine, browsing tool and more. But the reason to buy it will be to read books, newspapers and magazines
  2. I still think it will have a camera for videochats (therefore, it will be on the front, not on the back)
  3. I still believe it will be built on the iPhone OS, vs. a full Mac OS X. Actually, I now believe it is going to be built on the iPhone OS 4, and they will unveil the new OS version on Wednesday for developers. While you port your iPhone app to OS 4, just make sure to take into consideration a bigger screen. That's it.
I believe the UI is going to be easy and simple, with one button. You do not realize how important is the "Go Home" button until you watch one of your older relatives use an iPhone: it is the safety net, what you click when you are lost. Something that relieves you from any anxiety in using an electronic device. For non-skilled users, you just wish they had one in any PC (hint: your older relatives might not need a PC anymore, this might suffice).

I feel they will position it as an add-on device, not as a laptop replacement. I am expecting 10" and a price point around $599, maybe even less. I just do not see how they can go to market with something at a $1,000 price, honestly. But I have been wrong before.

I think it will have a holder/charger as the iPhone, but on the wide side (because you want to watch something when it is on the charger: try to do it on an iPhone turning your head...).

I believe it will have both wi-fi and 3G. However, 3G will be available only to access iTunes. Therefore, you won't need a data plan. It will be free and the carriers will take a cut of the downloads (books, music, video, apps) and, therefore, they might even subsidize it. You will be able to sync video and stuff on the device when you have wi-fi coverage, so you will be able to watch it on the go. I just do not see how they can ask people to buy another data plan, even if it is added on an existing smartphone plan. I do not believe they will.

I am convinced they will announce Verizon as a partner, probably also selling the iPhone. The AT&T dumb-pipe-in-the-making process will be completed.

Lastly, I am not sure they will call it iPad as I originally thought. The idea of the retired Conan O'Brien joking about the max version of it (maxi-pad) has made me totally change perspective. iSlate sounds like a good name at this point...

Whatever they show, it is going to be the start of a new revolution. Yet another must-have device, one I will be in line to buy in March when it will be available.

And with all these predictions, I have a good probability to get one right :-)