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Matt Miller: Can Apple Makes Tablets Viable?



Continuing today’s apparent  theme of “how to revitalize the Tablet PC market,” Matthew Miller, The Mobile Gadgeteer, draws on his experience with Tablet PCs to explain how Apple can do for tablet devices what the iPhone did for smartphones. The focus is on Apple, responding to today’s rumor of their inevitable tablet, but the theme is  quite familiar:

If Apple can launch a tablet form factor device for $800, people may find a way to afford it. Apple is going to have to ““tell the story” (something my buddy Michael Gartenberg likes to say) of why and how this tablet device can improve your life and be an enjoyable product.

The message is, as I heard recently  on a rerun of “Cold Case,” people need a narrative. It’s not enough to say the device can do X, Y, and Z. The message needs to be, you  can do X, Y, and Z and  show us  someone doing it.  It doesn’t quite mirror Michael Gartenberg’s commentary today (though his mention of  MG shows me they’re on the same track), but  I think it builds on those points previously  presented. This type of storytelling is one of Apple’s great strengths, so if and when they introduce a tablet, we can expect this in their marketing.  But when can we expect the same for Tablet PCs?



  1. Ben

    07/13/2009 at 5:54 pm

    as much as i’d like to see tablets become what they ought or need to be, i don’t really want apple to do it. i don’t want any rabid apple drones to have some other thing apple “innovated”, “invented”, “improved”, or “fixed” that they can bash over the rest of our heads.

    so i’d rather have the tablet pc die out than become more food for the asinine “i’m a mac/i’m a pc” war.

  2. JC

    07/13/2009 at 6:23 pm

    Why is it that there aren’t any people who simply like Apple products? They are always characterized as “fanboys” or “rabid apple drones.” I mean, name calling always makes an argument sound more credible.

    The main problem with the Tablet PC ultimately is that most of the software it runs was designed for computers that have a keyboard and mouse (or moral equivalent). If Apple succeeds with a compelling keyboard-less device with a 10″ touchscreen, it will be because it runs software designed specifically for it. e.g., your finger or the stylus isn’t merely a direct substitute for a mouse. The ways of entering text will work quickly and fluently. (Yes, everyone keeps telling me that handwriting recognition in W7 is awesome. I can’t wait to try it. However, the prevailing attitude these days is closer to “why would I write by hand when I type faster?”)

    In other words, the compelling device will be nothing like what we think of as a Tablet PC. The hardware may be similar, but the software will make it a completely different experience. (This is the point that people keep missing. They look at the hardware but, for whatever reason, never admit that the software might be what makes the difference.)

    Of course, if Apple doesn’t come up with a compelling device, then it may, in fact, be very much like the Tablet PCs already in existence. If they’re just going to come up with what already exists though, I don’t see the point.

  3. Enzos

    07/23/2009 at 5:05 am

    A cloud networked high-powered iPod touch with about 9.5″ diag. screen (lab-coat pocket sized) running a multi-touch macOS would sell like hot-cakes in the world of science, medicine, laboratory, education, architecture and technology workers. This is quite a large market (a few million) – though not, of course, in the same league as the iPhone market. It might well cross-over into the consumer market but wouldn’t need to to make it a successful product.

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