What you want from an Apple tablet

Yesterday's request for Betanews readers to answer "What would you use an Apple tablet, or any other, for?" has brought plenty of answers, perhaps because the post -- "The world doesn't need an Apple tablet, or any other" -- was so provocative. I wrote that post to bring some sanity to the outrageously loud Apple tablet hype. Instead, the post stirred up geek emotions and several, pointed rebuttal blogs (Marc Flores, Robert Scoble and MG Siegler, among others). I won't defend yesterday's post here. It stands or falls on its merits.

But I do want to call out some readers' responses about what they would do with an Apple tablet. As I write, there are 119 comments, which is enough for some of the best ones to get lost. I want to thank you all for sharing your enthusiasm about the mythical Apple tablet and what you would do with it. Some of the best comments were simply too long to present here; my apologies for omitting them. They could have been separate posts, and maybe they should be. The comments collected here are presented randomly.

JGowan: "Your questions to us...'What would you use an Apple tablet, or any other, for?' The answer I think that best fits here is 'What WON'T I use an Apple tablet for?' If you look at the dedicated tablet devices on the market currently from Amazon, Sony and Barnes & Noble, you see that, while they might do a few things other than reading, Reading is really their trick. They represent the famous 1-Trick pony. I think the iSlate will become the 100,000-Trick Pony. Just as the iPhone is benefitting greatly from the ever-growing App Store, this device will also have an App Store that position the iSlate as the Can-Do-Anything device...As for me, while I'll use it for a myriad of things, the thing that I really can't wait is for magazine subscriptions."

chasuk-2010: "I've been hoping for this product for a long time, and I'll buy it immediately. The Kindle was almost there, and the nook was closer, but neither product offered enough to induce me to me stop reading ebooks on my Touch."

Drewski4747: "I'm about to be going to college, and I imagine that a apple tablet would be a cool easy to use touchscreen-netbook. If Apple does release a tablet computer I can definitely see myself buying one to use in college. I imagine that many other people who don't already have an iphone or itouch who need to get a laptop of some sort would see an Apple tablet computer as a very good option, just as I do."

jim4kos: "Apart from the notepad part of it that students from the age of 14 to 25-26, all people working and needing a notepad and books (including tech companies and journalists especially), which for sure will find it very convenient, its e-magazine/e-book/e-newspaper part of it along with all the movies, browsing and music, as well as all the applications that will come along with it over time, make it useful to such a large number of people that it cannot be considered a niche market."


I would use tablet for the following things I currently do on other devices:

  • Games - better screen than Ipod touch, touch screen and movement sensing way better than laptop which I have never played game on, better graphics than Nin DS, great games at app store, more on the way).
  • Ereading - I wanted a Kindle this year (almost $400) but decided to wait to see what Apple tablet may have to offer, if it is $600 abd has good ereading system, I'd pay the extra for a more pleasant Apple experience. GPS - If tablet is portable like say a netbook, Mac Air, and has mobile phone data connection, I would keep it in car.
  • Phone - might even work for this if I could use dumb phone connection when I'm away from tablet, and blue tooth when I have it with me, I'd pay for a simple phone for times I need most portable. I know this is a stretch, but kid can hope.

pwb: "I could see these tablets replacing the whole consumer notebook market. Fact is, most consumers don't need notebooks and notebooks are too complicated for most consumers. You'll be able to stand it up and connect a bluetooth keyboard to it to get a more traditional desk top experience. It will be interesting to see if Apple can get it below $500 or $600."

[email protected]: "What I want is a tablet that acts as my mobile computing hub. Give me the following in my tablet: GPS, notebook sized touch screen, 3G, and Bluetooth. That's it."


I use both, an iPhone and MacBook Pro. I still really want a tablet (not necessarily Apple one) for:

a) Kindle reader. I use iPhone for that, but bigger screen would help. MacBook is useless here, I need to hold it sitting, standing or lying

b) Twitter, RSS, News, Facebook reader. Consuming the content is for me the main activity comparing to creating one. I want to sit on the sofa in the evening, drink wine and read. iPhone too small, MacBook has to be in one position and has no touch screen (which I think is great for navigation)

c) MacBook (or any other notebook) is just not comfortable enough for evening reading. I want to hold that thing in one hand (in bed, kitchen or sofa) and browse the web. iPhone is great, but not for home, it's too limited because of the screen size.

Paul A. Chapel: "I only need a couple real reasons to have an Apple Tablet. One, I read a lot on my iPod Touch and it hurts my eyes after several minutes. I would like a big size iPhone just so my eyes won't hurt while reading. And also, I like to listen to classical music while reading. If I can do those two things, I'm good to go."

Azure Feast:

I see three compelling applications for an Apple tablet:

  • I want a touchscreen version of Novation's Automap to control my music. It will soon exist on the iPhone or iPod Touch, but this is a good example of an application that begs for a bigger touchscreen.
  • I want a portable device to look at photos. The iPhone is too small to make any justice to good photos.. the larger the screen the better. But I don't want to drag my friends in front of a computer either. By the same token it could make a good digital photo frame.
  • I spend much time surfing on sites like this one.This kind of navigation requires minimal keyboard interaction... but I want two things: a screen that is comfortable enough for my eyes and a connection to my home wireless LAN.

solarexec: "The iSlate is Apple's next step into HOME AUTOMATION - a huge emerging market currently underserved by the likes of companies like Control4. It gives Apple an opportunity to integrate the iTunes / Apple TV home multimedia expertise along with the iphone/app store ecosystem into an entirely new and emerging market. The iSlate -- used as a home automation control center along with its other natural functionality -- suddenly gives it a reason to exist (it attaches to the home dock and controls eerything from lights to thermostats to music and TV while allowing you to browse the web etc when you are on your couch)."

Technofobe: "I can say right away what the Apple tablet will do for the average person. They will be able to surf the web, view media, read e-books in a very convenient format (That's what the average user wants the most with technology). Let's face it, lugging around a laptop is just not cool anymore. Laptops are cumbersome, but the iphone screen is too small. By finding a happy medium between the two, I think Apple is set for another hit."

22 Responses to What you want from an Apple tablet

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