Yes, I know some of you rolled your eyes at that but I am now going to remind you all of a prediction I made when the first iPhone was announced three years ago.
2. Apple will release a tablet device that will be a large version of the iPhone designed to accommodate easy web and email viewing as opposed to pocketable portability. It will probably include a camera the other way for video conferencing and integrate with Apple TV (anyway you might figure). I wonder if it will slot into a fridge but there is a chance that it may be part of a new iMac with separating screen.
3. All MacBooks will migrate to a touch screen option and will have a GSM or Edge integrated option.
4. There will be a GPS navigation version with iPod included specifically for cars.
5. And, finally, for my big hope: an ebook reader that will do to books what the iPod has done to music.
OK we are not quite there but there is something quite natural in the evolution of these devices. But here is why the iPad will be a revolution.
- eReading will now take off. The iPad will offer Apple’s store but also the Kindle and probably many others as well through applications. Apple may end up controlling the hardware but that is far from a given as eInk still has the quality that it has long battery life and you can use it on planes during take off and landing.
- eMedicine will now work. The idea is that doctors should be able to enter reports and get access to data at the hospital bed rather than transcribing back to computers. This will change the way health is practiced.
- eEducation will get a big lift. The iPad is the natural education device for the classroom. Children as young as one can understand a touch screen but the key has been having a larger screen that did not require as much dexterity. This is now solved. All they need now is flash so that sites such as starfall.com will work. Think also about the drawing apps.
- The end of DVDs: this is it for DVDs. The only thing holding back their destruction is that the iTunes store is so proprietary. Once that goes, there is no need for a portable DVD player and the iPad will simply plug into televisions as a substitute.
- Presentation computers. We will have no computer in the classroom for lectures. This will be the device we use for PowerPoint and other demonstrations. If we need a computer application, we can use logmein to access one elsewhere.
- The newspapers may be saved. OK this is harder to think about but my speculation is that the format for reading will be comfortable and will be a paid subscription. Moreover, the newspaper will be browsed again so advertising will come back as being more effective.
- New games: iPhone games are impressive but only a few really work on a small screen. The larger screen will open up more games — especially board games and games like Air Hockey among others.
I could go on but you get the point. This device creates options that have not been there before and given the price point, the potential to become widespread. What I don’t think will happen is a camera and that whole videoconferencing angle. The camera on a computer is never flattering and I just don’t think it will work for people on a handheld device. Apple’s camera ambitions will grow off the iPod and iPhone.