What I want in an Apple Tablet/Netbook

Rumors have been swirling for years that Apple is working on a tablet device. To be honest, the thought of a tablet computer has never really excited me. Sure, it would be nice to have a device to walk around the house with and do internet stuff with. However, I think I would be frustrated the first time I went to go do something and I couldn’t because it wasn’t a real computer.


What about netbooks?

Netbooks are more interesting to me and I’ve been keeping an eye on the category. What’s really interesting is that Apple almost has a netbook, but it’s not priced as one. It’s the MacBook Air. This notebook is the perfect model for designing an Apple Netbook.


It’s thin, lightweight, yet powerful enough to do some work on. It would need to be smaller to be considered a Netbook and the price would have to come way way way down. Also there would have to be an integrated 3G wireless solution too. Wi-Fi is not enough for this kind of product. 


What about a tablet or larger iPod touch?

Like I said earlier, a limited tablet doesn’t appeal to me. However, a device with a larger screen than an iPod touch running either the iPhone/iPod touch OS or Mac OS X does have some appeal. You’re probably saying well isn’t that the same thing? Yes and no. It’s more of a mindset issue. I don’t expect an iPod touch to replace my notebook or to run work applications. I expect it to be a great MP3 player, video player and run some cool touch screen based internet apps. So my level of expectation is way lower. However, the minute you stick OS X on it and give it the ability install Mac apps, then I’m going to want much more. It’s also a given that this device would also be an eBook reader and if done right would definitely give the Kindle a run for its money.

There is also the on screen keyboard issue. While I certainly don’t mind banging out an email or SMS message on my iPhone, if I had to write something really long on a regular basis, I would get tired of the touch keyboard. So a tablet with a touch keyboard would have to be tested before I could really say that I would be able to use it regularly or not. 


What I want

What I want is a 10" MacBook Air for $475-$700. Dream on I know, but how cool would it be to have a device in that form factor that ran Mac OS X and therefore desktop apps? It would definitely be my "in the field" device for shooting tethered and backing up my images. I would of course want it to have an integrated 3G card for wireless internet anywhere. Throw in an SD slot and a Compact Flash slot and I’m even more sold. While the MacBook Air has come down in price, it hasn’t come down enough, nor is there a smaller version. So here’s a chance to really do something cool. For those of you who would point me to the $300-$400 Netbooks already out there, I would have to say that I’m sure they’re nice and all, but I just don’t want to run Windows anymore than I have to.


Want to take it to the next level? Then make it so that the display rotates 180° on a hinge so that it could then be a touch device with the iPhone OS and run iPhone OS apps (yes this has been done before in many notebook products on the PC side, but Apple has the better multi-touch OS to do it right). Now that would really be a killer product. This would be a product that I could see actually standing in line for and you know how much I hate standing in lines. πŸ™‚

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15 Replies to “What I want in an Apple Tablet/Netbook”

  1. This sounds like a great idea.
    I would almost be sold just with those images, it looks awesome. I have been wanting one of these for ages, the whole touch idea really appeals to younger people (i.e. teenagers).

  2. What I want is a tablet which would integrate with ATV and other devices in my home. Something I could have with me while drinking coffee in the morning to control music, lights and the TV….. Oh thats right I already have an iPhone.

  3. When I hear all these rumors I get excited until I see people’s mock-ups.. When I hear tablet I think of your last mock-up. A laptop with a screen that swivels 180.. Now that’s a product I can get behind. I don’t need a giant ipod touch. I have a mac book pro 13 inch and an iPhone. I want it to replace a laptop, I could find many uses.. Like use it with a desktop as a wacom tablet but also standalone as a laptop, and use it as a table for some fun multi touch apps and watching movies.

  4. As a professional photographer and graphic designer, I need the awesome tower of power Mac Pro in my studio. However, I also need a portable solution for out of the office work. I think adding a MacBook Pro is overkill and rather clunky when I travel. I would love a lower cost tablet which I can use for all my on the go situations. I would want something small but powerful enough to handle transferring images, internet use and it would be great if it could handle small adjustments in apps like PHotoshop. However, I don’t expect Photoshop to run on the tablet. I expect the tablet to be the in between of an iPhone and a MacBook Pro. I would purchase a MacBook Air but the price point isn’t right for me. If it was $850-$1000 I would pick one up and use it just for the “basics” when I’m on the go.

    Great post! Very interesting.

    ~ Jarrod

  5. What I want is a Mac with Mac OS X inside that is a light as posssible (400 g would be great) and is as small as possible (pocketable would be great) with video-out and USB for the ultimate Keynote and PowerPoint presentation device.

  6. Terry – I think you’ve nailed it, and I’ll be right there in line with you.
    Cross your fingers and lets “tell the world…”

  7. Through in an SD slot

    Throw in an SD slot

    Interesting – small Air would fit nicely in a camera bag.

  8. I’m totally with Terry. Likewise, tablet pc’s doesn’t tick me. Wacom Cintiq is the choice if when i’m going for a pen on screen tablet for work. But as you have mentioned, portable enough larger ipod touch or something of that sort i could run around with, instead of a heavy laptop when i just want to browse on the move or shooting tethered would be perfect. And the price range you have mentioned seems reasonable to me.

  9. I agree with you Terry!

    Let’s keep dreaming πŸ™‚

    One thing I do have to say….I travel a bit…more internationally though…I live overseas right now, and to be honest, having something in your pocket is a nice thing (for me it is a Touch)…so for me, to keep a low profile and small form factor is important, but add OS X and more functionality — that is my dream!

    I remember seeing awhile back a mock up of a slightly bigger iPhone/Touch screen with OS X….but still small enough to slip in a pocket…with the right storage and speed and a way to bring in files/photos…mmm, just right!

  10. Keep in mind that this’ll be a valuable gadget with a glass screen. An iPhone is easy to hold because it fits in your hand. A 10-inch iPhone form factor won’t fit in anyone’s hand. We need some way to hold it firmly, something that’s stable enough to use while standing or sitting in a moving vehicle.

    I’d vote for something resembling the eMate I once owned, with or without the adjustable angle screen. Folded flat with the screen facing up, it was about the size of a clipboard with a handy handle at the top. Grasp that handle and the eMate sat across your forearm, stable and in no danger of being dropped.

    I think Apple’s designers are smart enough to know that. That’s why most of the flat-plate mockups are probably missing the mark.

  11. just get a dell mini 10v and hackintosh it..

    ive had mine for a few months now and everything works on it and i can’t recommend it highly enough. it takes a bit of chutzpah to setup (and geekdom) but it well worth the work.

    im running lightroom and photoshop on it with no problems… the perfect travel laptop for me.

    vga out, 3 usb ports, sd memory slot, etc etc etc..

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