January 25, 2010

You only need to have mild interest in technology to have heard about the alleged Apple tablet that may or may not be introduced on Wednesday. Not wanting to be left out of the party, I have to squeeze in a few thoughts of my own.

I’ve seen all sorts of speculation on what the features of this tablet may be. Will it run on an expanded iPhone OS, or a streamlined variation of Snow Leopard? What kind of input will be available? Is it meant to be a laptop replacement, or something else? Will it be the end all device for media content? Will it be the best ebook reader made? Will it write ebooks for me? Can it reverse global warming?

I’m sure of this…it will look really slick. If there is anything I’m confident about it is that. And it will probably have a wow factor that we haven’t anticipated, some kind of feature that will immediately make sense when Steve Jobs utters “and it’s really cool” while demoing it. I also know this…I’ll have a browser window with three different tabs auto-refreshing during the event, so that I don’t miss anything that will be repeated in blogs for days to come.

But here’s what I’m not sure of…why I would want it. I’m far from a luddite. Techonology is a good friend of mine and I find new reasons to use it weekly. But I’ve yet to hear speculation about what this tablet would do that would make me feel the need to rush out and buy one.

I can see the interest for some. If you like to sketch or handwrite notes, maybe it will be appealing — though it most of my sketching and handwriting friends romanticize the simplicity and ease of a good pen and notebook. Some might be excited about the possibility it would offer as an ebook reader. I am content with the crisp e-ink and long battery life of my Kindle. Perhaps it can add levels of interaction to newspapers and magazines that we’ve not yet seen fully realized. But that wouldn’t be enough to have me lining up to buy one.

That said, I’m eager to see it, just for innovation sake. And I’ll go try one out when they hit the stores. But as one who tends toward early adoption of technologies, this one will have do something far beyond what I’m expecting before I will start figuring out how to afford it.

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