My Apple Tablet Prediction

CUPERTINO, CA - OCTOBER 14:  (FILE PHOTO) Appl...
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On the 27th of the first month, Steve Jobs will come down from the mountain forge of the gods, and bestow upon the waiting masses his tablet(s). Thus sayeth the prophets.

But what will the Apple Tablet be? Well, I predicted the following in two tweets here and here on January 5th, but let me elaborate.

Prediction: The Tablet will run a different version of OS X than a Macbook or an iPhone.

Why? Steve and co. have a good thing going with the Mac market right now. They don’t want to cannibalize their existing sales.  In fact, to them it’s crucial they don’t.

I also predict, while the code from OS X will be there, there’s going to be a different interface layer. So, developers will be able to modify their existing (updated to clarify: DESKTOP) apps for the tablet, but, they won’t be able to just release them.

Why? Because Apple isn’t going to just release another Netbook. That’s just not their style. Putting a touch screen keyboard or a slide out or even a laser powered desktop touch keyboard on a 10″ screen and calling it an Apple Product is not something that will make Steve smile. In my vision I see lots of Apple Usability folks hidden away in some lab making a set of touch gestures, figure pinch gestures, and slides that are going to let us use our tablets in ways that, like the iPod, we didn’t know we knew how to do but now that we see them, it’s obvious.

App Store
Image via Wikipedia

Why else? Because of the App Store, stupid. Look how well that worked for the iPhone. If they can create a developer App Store for Tablet apps, that creates a new ecosystem, and another cash cow.

But wait, you say you still love your (Insert iPhone App here)? No problem. Because the tablet is going to emulate an iPod Touch in a window, right on the tablet screen. Therefore, you’ll be able to do all that iPhone/Touch cool stuff on your tablet too, giving Apple and their Developer community another market for apps. Will they let you use your tablet as a phone too? My money is on no – but with built in 3G, perhaps Skype will be a good partner and let Apple beat back the Google monster. It all depends on the carrier they partnered with. I’m hoping they didn’t do an exclusive AT&T deal again.

Emulation is key because the tablet isn’t going to run the processor the iPhone does. Specs? Well, having seen a Netbook with an Atom 270 processor and 1.5 GB of Ram running OS X in a very speedy, quite acceptable way, I’m predicting this tablet will be built off the latest Intel Atom chip. My rationale for this is simple. It is dead stupid easy to run OS X on a Netbook right now, if you know how to Google search for “Hackintosh.” That’s not a coincidence. If Apple wanted to, they could make it really hard for hackers to do this. But it’s been easy to find hacks, and easy to get updates whenever the OS is updated.

I believe this is a market test they’re running to see how people respond to the smaller screen. And the response, from me is this: “Wow, OSX runs really well on a Lenovo S10-e, but a lot of the Mac interface isn’t designed to work on a 10″ screen.” They need new interface elements, new design, and a few speed improvements.

Well, that’s what I predict on Jan 27th. Your comments are welcome.

(Thanks to Tristan Louis and Mark Stahlman for thinking this through a little with me. But if I’m wrong, the blame is my own. For goodness sake, don’t trade on my info – none of this is sourced.)

UPDATE: Tristan has his own prediction.

UPDATE: Of course, Doc Searls predicted this in 1997 (via Dave Winer’s old blog).

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CES wrapup news – The ELSE is Cool!

I didn’t got to CES this year, and I’ve been looking for the most forward thinking and interesting devices from people’s wrap up reports. Buried in Fast Company’s report was this link to ELSE.
What to Take Away From CES | TechWatch | Fast Company

Even relative smartphone newcomers are expounding upon the trend that Apple and Android spawned, as evidenced by the ELSE Intuition, an Access Linux-based device being hawked in an unused conference room off the show floor.

Into Mobile has more complete coverage, including an embeded video, below. What is most striking to me here is the “intuition” OS that tries to anticipate what you want. The phone speed dial is made up of the people you call the most. The Calendar drop down shows today’s free busy if you want. And, it is designed to be run mostly on your thumb – so that you can hold the phone and operate it with one hand, without being awkward.

None of these things are ‘revolutionary’ but they do speak to people paying attention to the way customers actually use their devices. And hopefully points towards ways the devices pay attention to the way we use them.

ELSE First Linux Smartphone Demo from CES 2010

Some coverage of me from Blog World Expo

I truly enjoyed my trip to Blog World. There was value in the panels of course, but huge value in networking with others in the industry, getting their perspectives, and creating new relationships. We can read each other’s blogs, or follow each other on twitter, but meeting in person really makes a difference.

I was interviewed by Scott Parent of MediaTrust’s Relevantly Speaking program about my views on building online community. This interview was in High def, so it may look funny on this blog page.

From Jennifer Kushell of Your Success Network, comes a fun article and video from Huffington post called
What People Were Packing at BlogWorld Expo ’09 (Technology, You Dirty Buggers!) all about the different tech we blogger types include in our packing for a show.

Then there were the hard core journalists and bloggers like Howard Greenstein from Inc.com , and Don Lemon, social media savoir from CNN who, god bless him, spent an exhausting day working the expo to promote a big breakthrough Twitter campaign called #beatcancer, which is a new model for charities to leverage social media to raise money. (Click here to learn more.)

Admittedly, I’m not as “hard core” as CNN anchor Don Lemon, but I think I did ok so far as tech was concerned.

Hope you enjoy these videos.

(*Disclosure, I was a guest of the show’s agency, Porter Novelli, for whom I consult, but I paid my own airfare and expenses for the week. I was also covering this for my Inc.com Startup Toolkit column).