How Big Should a Tablet Be?

By  |  Wednesday, December 23, 2009 at 12:04 pm

The Boy Genius Report has a post up with the title “Apple tablet definitely coming in 7″ size?” Seems to me that the uses of “definitely” and a question mark in the same headline cancel each other out. Either Apple is doing a 7-inch tablet or it isn’t. We just don’t know yet. (Boy Genius says the source of the rumor has been amazingly accurate; oddly enough, nobody ever publishes an Apple rumor and says that it comes from a source that’s erratic and unreliable.)

But the “news” does present an opportunity to ponder what size an Apple tablet–or any tablet–should be. I think we can definitively say that it needs to be enough larger than the iPhone and iPod Touch (which have 3.5-inch screens) to be a distinct beast, and that it needs enough resolution to handle modern Web pages without excessive zooming (let’s say 1024 pixels of resolution, at least on its longer side). E-readers like the Kindle are in the right ballpark, but their displays are a tad on the cramped side if you’re going to be using an on-screen keyboard much. So yes, seven inches sounds logical enough.

But you can feel free to disagree with me:



6 Comments For This Post

  1. Joe Says:

    “Boy Genius says the source of the rumor has been amazingly accurate; oddly enough, nobody ever publishes an Apple rumor and says that it comes from a source that’s erratic and unreliable.”

    Unless you read TechCrunch LOL!

  2. Mike Cerm Says:

    A tablet should be more portable than a notebook, not less. Personally, I would never buy a laptop larger than 12-13″, and I actually love my netbook. The 9″ screen is perfect for web-consumption, so there’s certainly no need for a tablet any larger than 10″.

  3. Bouke Timbermont Says:

    I think it should be like an A4-paper, I guess that’s 14″? But it really does depend on the purpose and applications for it. I see 2 tablet segemnts, just like the netbooks and laptop segemnts: 14-15″ and 10″. 5″ or under is imo ridiculous: that’s and iPhone 😉

  4. David Hamilton Says:

    I answered 9″ for a very simple reason – that is the size of the paper notebook that I carry to all meetings. Similarly the ideal notebook would be A4/Letter sized.

    Technology that tries to ignore our traditional (non-technological) formats and sizes are either wilful or stupid – and usually fail. There are good reasons why the existing form-factors are the sizes that they are – they meet a certain set of needs. Additionally, bags and clothing are all built around the need to store/carry those existing items.

  5. Dave Carley Says:

    We should remember the Dynabook prototype that Alan Kay envisioned in 1968. Our next step for mobile computing should be to make the computer portable (1 kg and able to be used with a free hand for a separate task). These platforms will enable both developers and users to achieve the realization that was nearly in a complete vision over 40 years ago.

  6. IcyFog Says:

    The seven-inch form factor is fine with me. The downside to that is typing on it. That’s a pretty small surface on which to type. However if a keyboard could be connected to it, and it has handwriting software on it, that would more than make up for it.

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