There’s been an inordinate amount of buzz surrounding the (potential) release of a new Apple tablet computer, which prompts me to ask, why is Apple building a tablet? PC manufacturers have been making tablets in one form or another for years, and they don’t sell. Is it because no one with the design ability and skill for marketing has created one until now? No, it’s because the concept is fundamentally flawed when deployed in the real world, and therefore has been rejected by consumers who, universally, live in that same world. Here’s why.
- Tablets are kind of like laptops, except that you either a) flip open the screen and lay it flat or b) the screen is exposed all the time. With the first option, you basically get a laptop with a weak point, i.e. the swivel where the screen goes from laptop to tablet mode. With the second option, you get scratches on your screen unless you are very, very careful.
- We buy desktops because they are fast. We buy laptops because they are portable. We buy phones because we can carry them with us and get access to information quickly and easily. Why would we buy an oversized phone that won’t fit in our pocket, can’t make calls, and lacks the horsepower of a laptop or desktop?
- Except on Star Trek, people who carry a device in one hand and attempt to move their other hand around on it will drop that device. Repeatedly. That’s another reason the phone makes sense — you can hold it in your hand and use gestures with the other hand.
If you don’t agree, consider this: many experts predict smartphone sales will surpass laptop sales by 2012. Why? Because smartphones can do all that stuff we need to do on the fly, without weighing us down. If you just need to read an email or surf the Web, why take out your laptop/tablet when your pocket-sized device will do?