06 January 2010

What I want for my Birthday

The rumors have now multiplied to the point that they no longer seem like rumors, and it thus seems highly likely that at the end of the month Apple will announce some sort of Tablet-like computing device. Right now the rumors have reached rough consensus that the date for that announcement will be my birthday!

Over a month ago, before there were any dates being tossed out or even any surety at all about an announcement, I made my first move toward the new paradigm: I swapped out my notebook for a desktop, going without a portable for the first time in 10 years. I did so for a number of reasons.
  • because I have found over the years, having tried it a number of times, that I can't really be productive in a two CPU paradigm. I need all my data on my computer and I need it on one computer.
  • because life with the iPhone has shown me that 98% of the time, I don't really need a notebook computer.
  • because today's new huge screens are glorious, and I'd like to be looking at the 16x9 1080p 22" LED display on the iMac (on which I'm typing this) than the 13" or 15" screen on a notebook.

Thus, my hope was that Apple would release a tablet, and that it would have the right specs so that my new paradigm can be iMac + iSlate (or whatever). And so now that we know IT, that is, something, is coming, here's what I'd like to hear Steve tell me I'll be getting for my birthday:

Screen Size: doesn't matter all that much to me, but 10-11" sounds about right.
Memory: probably 16GB as a minimum.
Connectivity: I'm sure it will have wifi and cellular connections, but I would like the cellular to be optional (don't force me to pay for unlimited cellular data). I also need it to have a display port so I can hook it up to a big external monitor and so I can use it in class for presentations.
Keyboard: here is my one real MUST HAVE. It must be able to pair with a bluetooth keyboard. Sometimes I have to be able to write a 1000 words quickly, and I can't do that on a virtual keyboard, period.
Software: I would really really love it if it could run (versions of) iWork. This would mean I could deliver Keynote presentations and work on Pages documents (I've been writing in Pages for about 4 years now).

If it has the capacity to use an external keyboard, I'll buy it. If it has iWork capabilities, I'll be thrilled about doing so. If it doesn't have the keyboard, I'll stick with the iPhone until I know more.


Daniel said...

I think you might get your birthday wish! Fun! (Though, not until March).

I've been thinking about the data-input options for the iSlate a lot lately. I'm having trouble imagining how this will be handled. I'm pretty sure that it won't be a bluetooth/external keyboard, however. Such a thing could easily have been enabled for the iPhone, and I think many would have flirted with the idea of replacing their laptop with an iPhone. But while the iPhone/iPod touch is essentially a computer in your pocket, Apple doesn't want you to replace your laptop with it.

Same with the iSlate: I don't think it will be intended as a laptop replacement, which is why I doubt it will work with external input devices, I doubt it will have a display port, and I doubt it will run full versions of Mac software. The idea that it is a "iPod touch plus," making use of the culture of "app computing" while also being the best e-Reader and portable media device on the market will put it in the premium slot of tablet/cloud computing that seems to be happening all over these days.

So I think they will also announce a revised set of MobileMe cloud applications (a la google docs): iWork lite.

But back to the keyboard thing. If it is about 10", then the iPhone-like touch keyboard would fill out the width of it nearly like a regular keyboard -- enough to type using the home keys, I'd think. But then, what amount of the screen would be left? And wouldn't it be strange to peer down from above to word process "on your keyboard"? If there were drivers that allowed an external keyboard, where would the iSlate go? It would need a stand to be propped up or something, and suddenly it's all awkward, like a weird little wannabe desktop set-up.

We'd love this, actually, but I think Apple will discourage it.

Supposedly the way one interacts with/inputs information into the iSlate is one of the most unusual and least expected characteristics of it. I'm *so* curious!

fronesis said...

Yes, I'd love to have the stand for the iSlate and then add the keyboard, but you are probably right: that's not slick enough for Steve. Hell, the iSlate could BECOME the keyboard and I could then plug it into an external monitor.

I think you are exactly right that STeve's approach won't be what I want, but if I think it WILL have a displayport, even though it probably won't have the keyboard pairing that I desire so desperately.