Oh, Joe Wilcox sure knows how to get bloggers going when he wrote about how the hype over Tablet PCs is just way overdone. His headline? The world doesn’t need an Apple tablet, or any other.
I’ll focus on the “or any other” part of the discussion first.
For some fun, I took pictures of devices that didn’t exist 10 years ago but are part of our everyday life, just to prove that Joe’s wrong about the “or any other” part of his post.
First, a device that looks like a tablet computer ran the restaurant we were in tonight. Here’s a picture:
In my car (the 2010 Prius) is a device that looks and acts like a tablet. Here’s a picture:
In my favorite gas station are devices on top of each pump that look like tablet computers. Here’s a picture:
When I was in China taxis have screens in them that look like tablet computers. I have a video of that over here.
I could keep going all night long on this. Tablets and devices that look like tablets are all around. If that’s a “niche market” it’s fine with me. Niche markets can be quite profitable.
But someone has already made quite a few of the other arguments I’d make about Joe’s post. That someone is MG Siegler who wrote at Techcrunch tonight “the World Doesn’t Need Someone Telling Us What We Don’t Need In Tech.” MG Siegler ripped Joe a good one, and I agree with MG that Apple is a great company because they are willing to take risks, even some that don’t seem to work out very well. Apple TV anyone?
But I think even MG missed that something else is going on here: devices, even really cool ones, are coming down in cost and coming down quickly. Five years ago a $400 netbook looked pretty lame. Today? They are VERY usable devices with great screens, processors, and quite a bit of memory.
Look five years out and the device that is $1,000 today will probably be $200 or less.
And, what if AT&T got a clue and gave those of us who already pay huge fees for our iPhone connectivity (I pay more for my family’s connectivity than many people pay for a car payment) a huge break?
If these devices got cheap enough I might buy one or two for our cars. Why? You forget I have two young children, don’t you? And that I drive about 30,000 miles a year so need access to the best maps and traffic info (which is why I play with things like Waze, which just aren’t ready for widespread usage yet).
I want more screens in my life, not fewer, and laptops just are NOT appropriate for use in cars (whether in the back seat, while showing Thomas the Tank Engine to the kids) or in the front seat showing data from maps.
Laptops are NOT appropriate for using on the couch while watching TV, either. They force a bad posture and a tablet would be a lot better as a controller for an audio-video system. What would Joe think if Apple came out with an audio video system at the end of the year that the tablet would control? I would buy the whole system. I +hate+ our remote controls and lame ass DirectTV UI. I +wish+ Steve Jobs would take that on.
Laptops are NOT a great way to read magazines. I have the entire National Geographic on one hard drive, here’s a video. It looks pretty cool on an iMac, but how often do you read a magazine like that? I usually like magazines when I’m in places that bringing a laptop into would just not be practical. On the deck of the Ritz. In a bathroom. On a bus. You know, places that people read paper magazines.
Steve Jobs imagines a world where slates get even more popular than they are today.
And then that’s assuming that the world tomorrow won’t be different from the world yesterday. I know Apple is talking with Level 26, for instance. What’s that? It’s a new kind of entertainment property that just was NOT possible 10 years ago. Who developed it? Anthony Zuiker. Don’t know him? Well he was the guy behind the CSI series of TV shows.
Now, what else is Steve Jobs up to? Oh, yeah, that little movie house called Pixar that got him a nice share of Disney.
Oh, Disney. Yeah, Disney.
Think about how your experience around Walt Disney World will change if they hand you an Apple Tablet the moment you arrive at Disney.
Yeah, Walt Disney World.
Wouldn’t it be cool if Lou could give you a video and audio tour around Walt Disney World? Damn straight it would.
We all are gonna live in Steve Jobs’s tablet world soon.
Give it up Joe. You need to see a bigger world.