A while back I wrote a post What Should a Slate Tablet Look Like Today?. I thought it would be interesting to revisit the post in light of Apple’s iPad launch this week.
Looking back at that post, here is what I listed as my primary requirements:
- A form factor similar to the Kindle DX (maybe a larger screen, but similar thickness);
- A real back-lit screen – maybe with the ability to turn off back light to conserve power. Without backlight, should look as good as Kindle;
- Ink input – and maybe touch;
- Running a full OS – a light version of Windows or a Linux distribution (I do not want just an eBook reader);
- Software support: Reader for PDF and Office, etc., eMail, Browser, OneNote-like app, Media support;
- No extras: no modem, no optical drive, minimal ports, no video out, no web cam;
- No HDD – maybe an SDD, maybe the OS in ROM or something;
- No keyboard except maybe by USB or Bluetooth;
- Maybe assume that most applications I need will be in Browser (cannot believe I said that lol);
- Price point around $500
Lets compare those requirements to the new iPad:
- The iPad does pretty well on this – though it appears to be quite a bit thicker than a Kindle;
- Meets the primary requirement here, but does not satisfy my wish to be able to turn it off and have it look like a Kindle screen (not sure this is even possible);
- Ok – fails on this one completely
- I am not sure if I consider what is on there a “full OS” – seems pretty limited to me, and is incompatible with everything but iPhone apps;
- Fails on this, and even fails on many browser-based apps, given the lack of Flash support (and I am pretty sure it does not support Silverlight;
- Seems to be on same page as me here, though I would probably have included a USB port (Apple’s love of proprietary connections strikes again);
- Right on here – though the $500 model’s drive is too small to be useful;
- Got it right again – though I think Bluetooth would have been a good idea;
- As I said above, support for web apps may be limited since Apple does not seem willing to support plugins like Flash or Silverlight;
- Bottom end model meets this, but as I said, its 16gd SSD is too small to be useful.
So the iPad meets a lot of my requirements, but without ink support, and with its lack of support for applications I need, it is definitely not what I need as an all around slate tablet. It is a cute toy, but it is just that – a toy.