Is It Going to be iPad Singular, or iPads Plural?

By  |  Wednesday, April 7, 2010 at 9:57 am

The one place where the JooJoo has an obvious advantage over the iPad–for some people–is in screen real estate. It’s got a 12-inch display, versus the 9.7-incher on the iPad. So much else is so wrong with the JooJoo that a roomy screen can’t begin to compensate. But it got me thinking: Do we need iPads in different sizes and form factors? And could Apple already be thinking about the iPad as the beginning of a line of devices rather than a one-size-fits-all gadget?

It’s not surprising that the iPhone only comes in one form factor. Rumors about an iPhone Mini have been floating out there for eons, but with the iPhone 3G priced at $99, there may not be a slot for it Apple’s lineup. And a larger iPhone might well be too…large.

But the basic ideas behind the iPad are different, and more fungible. Some people might want an iPad that’s a bit smaller. Some might prefer one that’s a lot bigger. You’re going to be able to buy a keyboard dock that turns the iPad into a pseudodesktop, but maybe some folks would buy a real iPad desktop with a big screen. Or one (dare I say it?) in a clamshell case with a physical keyboard. (Okay, I don’t see Apple ever making a clamshell iPad–but if it did, there are people who’d buy one.)

Yes, yes–you don’t want a computer based on the iPad’s version of iPhone OS as your only desktop…or maybe at all just yet. But if the iPhone OS keeps improving at the same rate it has since Apple unveiled it a little over three years ago, there’s no reason why it might not be a plausible general-purpose operating system, capable of powering general-purpose computers. I don’t think it’s completely nuts to wonder if it’ll become Apple’s primary OS, available on devices of all sorts and sizes, while the Mac sticks around as a legacy item.

And even if most of this doesn’t happen, I wonder if Apple will make iPads in another size or two. Me, I might be interested in a JooJoo-sized version.

Here’s a crude, ugly mockup of an iPad Desk:

Does any of this make any sense at all, or am I suffering from a temporary bout of Irrational iPad Exuberance?


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7 Comments For This Post

  1. AlmightyMe Says:

    you mean like this? I’m all for a larger screen though.

  2. Jake Says:

    I don’t think I’m ever going to want to keep reaching up to touch the screen as my main method of interacting with a desktop computer. It sounds tiring and annoying, compared to keeping my elbows on the arms of my chair as I use keyboard and mouse.

  3. Damen Says:

    I think that this idea will probably not come to fruition given the burden on the developer to support multiple screen resolutions. It is already enough work for most devs to go back to their iPhone apps and update them to the screen resolution of the iPad. If devs have to support every resolution imaginable, then we start to end up with the application soup that is WinMo and Android where buttons are poorly laid out, text is inappropriate sizes and other problems that go along with that.

    I also can’t imagine Apple allowing different sized iPads to just have the same boring resolution on all of them as that would make for an inferior product on the hardware side of things.

  4. Evan Says:

    When I buy a computer, I expect a real computer. No product that restricts software to a single capricious source, that allows only a single web browser to be used, should ever be considered anything more than a neat toy, a computing appliance.

  5. Kevin Says:

    I have an iPad and I don’t mind the lack of a wide screen. In fact I would like it. The JooJoo looks kind of odd to me and wouldn’t be a “natural” way for me to read. Movies might good on such a device but I don’t think I would be using my iPad that way all to much. For me the size is just right.

  6. Hamranhansenhansen Says:

    > while the Mac sticks around as a legacy item.

    I don’t think the Mac sticks around as legacy, but rather continues as the development platform. The Web development stack on Mac OS is not available on iPhone. Xcode is not available on iPhone. There’s a long way to go before iPad stands on its own. Right now it replaces your printer, but not your Mac.

    > When I buy a computer, I expect a real computer.

    “Real computer” is meaningless. Utterly meaningless.

    > No product that restricts software to a single capricious source,

    You can get software for iPhone OS devices direct from the publisher if you want. For example, Google Voice gets on your iPhone directly from Google. You can get your Facebook app from Apple or from Facebook. If you don’t want to use App Store, then don’t. It’s optional. It did not even exist during the first year of iPhone. You have thousands of sources, not just one source.

    It’s only the native apps that you have to get through Apple, and that is not capricious at all, it’s what has kept the platform virus and malware-free. Native iPhone malware has been demonstrated at security conferences but there is no possible way to get it onto iPhone.

    What would be capricious would be if Apple just shrugged their shoulders at viruses and malware and pushed that responsibility onto the user as has been done on Windows and Android. Phones have been sold with Android+malware on them, and users have downloaded malware from Android Market. I probably don’t need to tell you that Windows malware is like an ongoing tire fire.

    Part of the reason why App Store has been so successful and users have installed and used so many apps is the complete lack of malware. My roommate has over 50 native apps on his iPhone, and I asked him if he is concerned about malware and he said “what is malware?” If native apps on iPhone were done like they’re done on Windows or Android, there would be less than 100,000 apps in App Store right now, and some of them would be anti-virus scanners. There would be iPhone botnets right now. Users would be peppered with security advisories that would turn them off App Store entirely. People love apps, but they don’t want to risk their phone or their data for them.

    I think the success of App Store speaks for itself. I don’t know how you can say it is capricious when NOBODY has shown a better way.

    > that allows only a single web browser to be used

    There are dozens of Web browsers on iPhone OS. The only difference on iPhone OS from Mac OS and Windows is the HTML5 renderer has moved down a level on iPhone OS and now lives alongside the TCP/IP stack. This is because HTML is now as standardized as TCP/IP, and that is currently rescuing the Web from itself. When I first got on the Internet, I had to choose and install a TCP/IP stack. It’s better for the system vendor to take that responsibility, for both TCP/IP and HTML5.

    There are not even any other ARM-based HTML5 renderers to use, even if Apple pushed the responsibility for that onto you. All the other smartphones are also using Apple’s HTML5 renderer.

    > should ever be considered anything more than a neat toy

    iPhone OS is a toy when you’re running a game, but it morphs into thousands of devices, many of which are not toys at all. You can call it a toy as a kind of he-man insult, but by definition it is not.

    Most of my apps turn my iPhone OS device into a tool that I use in my professional work. I have even sold dedicated devices because I found apps that were not just replacements, but were actually better than the dedicated device. I had a hardware device that you had to press a button repeatedly to rotate through various controls, and then use a single slider to increment or decrement that control, but on the iPhone OS replacement, all the controls were represented by their own sliders, which made it much faster and more intuitive and you could even move them simultaneously. That did not make iPhone look like a toy, it made the dedicated hardware device look like a toy.

    I’m not sure what you thought was going to happen in the future of computing. Did you think we were all going to carry mouses around to use with our phones? Did you think we were going to run virus scanners on our electronic books? Did you think TV’s were going to have Windows desktops on there? Those are very, very odd ideas. What you’re thinking of as “real computers” are simply digital typewriters. There are thousands of other devices to digitize. We’re not going to do it by turning them all into typewriters.

  7. Bill Snyder Says:

    Is Harry suffering from”a temporary bout of Irrational iPad Exuberance?”
    Yes, he is. Strengths and weakness of the iPad aside, there are so many reasons why Apple needs to sell a robust real computer (sorry Hamranhansenhansen there is such a thing; ask anyone in IT) that the thought of Apple essentially trashing OS X development and related hardware actually makes no sense. And don’t forget that having to configure an iPad to do the many things it can’t do now means weakening the features you like so much, Harry, e.g. light weight and extended battery life. Not to mention all the money Apple makes on those mythical “real computers.”

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