I have been fascinated lately as visualizations and paper mock-ups of an assumed tablet computing device forthcoming from the good folks at Apple. I pulled out my first time sketch of the mythical unicorn and fairy device, which I really do want to see, own and develop for and posted here for the record.
The first time I realized Apple might be thinking of a tablet came to me last spring quite by accident. My brother, also a Mac developer, was discussing potentials uses for frameworks and new APIs in iPhone OS 3.0. He brought up the topic of the table rumor point at some point in our dialogue.
I was skeptical of the broad impact of such a device and of hearing new media douche bags prattle on about it. This is my 8th year as a full time Mac developer and you grow thick skin regarding many of the long fantasized devices the MacMacs dream up.
I took issue with a point he made. I reached behind me to grab something flat to illustrate. I happened to grasp a DVD case. I sat and played with for a few minutes, tap typed on it. Then I calculated what the screen size might be vs iPhone OS devices and had a reversal.
Holding an object of that width and height, I realized it felt right. The size and weight is perfect for a thumb typing interface. Try holding your large moleskine, 7.5 by 9.75, 12 inches diagonal in your hand and thumb typing. Doesn’t work. Too big. Think 10 inches… diagonal. Think those little PADs from The Next Generation. As for the screen resolution, perhaps I am just hoping for the death of pixels but hope we see the payout of that long work through Leopard and Snow Leopard for resolution independence. That… would be exciting.
Obviously an operating system based on a mach microkernel with with C, Obj-C and Core Foundation and Cocoa-based frameworks is involved. Absolutely it will be part of the iTMS ecosystem from day. Certainly, it will be beautiful. The questions I have are, “What problem does it solve?” and “What will Apple permit to create markets beyond throwaway applications at slot machine prices. I’ve helped make than enough of them and working on one or two myself.