This is our own version of fantasy sports.
With so much anticipation about the tablet, someone has to make one already. I don't know if I need one; and there's a lot of talk about how nobody really needs one, either. Then again, I can't think of Apple being in the business of satisfying needs, except maybe for the very high-order needs like feeling good about oneself and showing off. Need is definitely not why I have five consecutive-generation iPods around the house.
Want, though, is an entirely different story, and the one with the much higher margins, too. And if nothing else, Apple is a master of cultivating the collective desire around its beautiful chunks of plastic and aluminum. See how otherwise reasonable people have whipped themselves into a frenzy over a mythical product without Apple lifting a marketing finger?
So, yes, even if I don't need a tablet, I do want one. And since nobody outside of the Infinite Loop knows what the Apple Tablet will actually look like, I have allowed myself to be very particular about how I want it. Together with my colleagues, we've put together a wish list of ten things that must be in an ideal tablet.
The first thing we would love to see is a dual-screen set-up, similar to Courier or the OLPC2 concept but more seamless, and for several reasons:
1. As Daring Fireball said, thinking of the tablet as a giant iPhone is not very imaginative; it's like thinking iPhone would be a click-wheel iPod that makes phone calls (this last link also illustrates why you can't trust patent drawings to represent the final design).
2. You've got to protect the screen. A Kindlesque cover would be inelegant; a swivel keyboard would make it a touch-screen laptop.
3. When angled, one part of the screen becomes a custom input interface (maybe even like 10/GUI).
4. When spread out, the screen becomes large enough to read ebooks comfortably.
5. The set-up keeps the device pocketable even with a usefully large overall screen size (to get to the rumored 7" combined diagonal, each of the two screens will have to be slightly larger than the current iPhone's. Hey, maybe the tablet is actually the new iPod Touch upgrade?).
Onto the other nine items on our list.