Monday, January 4, 2010

John Gruber's Take On The Tablet

John Gruber of Daring Fireball published a post on December 31st about Apple's rumored upcoming tablet-like device where he presents ideas that are very different from the ones circulating currently, but which are also very similar to the ones in my November 30th post about the evolution of computer interfaces. I think that it's interesting (and a bit of an accomplishment) that the ideas are so similar. Feel free to compare them for yourself, or I've excerpted certain parts below.

I wrote that the tablet will neither run a scaled-up iPhone OS nor a scaled-down Mac OS- that it will be the bridge between the iPhone and the Mac that brings the much more elegant multi-touch interface to the Mac. The current Mac's user interface has remained much the same- keyboard, mouse, drop-down menus- for 25 years now- eons in computing:
It seems just about certain that at some point Apple will come out with a tablet-like device, which is the exact in-between device between the iPhone and the Mac. This interface will likely be a lot like the iPhone- and from there Macs could turn into tablets- with touch-oriented intuitive user interfaces.
It's no secret that multi-touch will make its way to the computer. The iPhone has the most beautiful input method around- the screen is the input device, instead of having a screen and then separate input devices like the keyboard and mouse. The screen can change and adjust to fit exactly what you are doing. When this spills over into computers, they will be much easier to use and beginner-friendly, but will also enable a better experience for the rest of computer users. The interface won't just be a case of eliminating the mouse and keyboard and then tapping File with your finger, then tapping Save and bringing up an onscreen keyboard at the appropriate times, the whole interface will be redesigned (I think).
In Gruber's article:
But so while I think The Tablet’s OS will be like the iPhone OS, I don’t think it will be the iPhone OS. Carved from the same OS X core, yes, but with a new bespoke UI designed to be just right for The Tablet’s form factor, whatever that form factor will be.
We both agree that the tablet will be a much bigger thing than currently circulating rumors suggest- I'm pretty sure Apple wouldn't put something out that wasn't a big deal and would underwhelm everyone- that's obvious. Gruber:

If you’re thinking The Tablet is just a big iPhone, or just Apple’s take on the e-reader, or just a media player, or just anything, I say you’re thinking too small — the equivalent of thinking that the iPhone was going to be just a click wheel iPod that made phone calls. I think The Tablet is nothing short of Apple’s reconception of personal computing.
The idea that the tablet is a big iPod touch probably stems from someone seeing the device (which probably looks like a big iPod touch in terms of form factor) in Asia, and people have extrapolated that it also has the same functionality of the iPod touch or iPhone. It seems obvious that Apple wouldn't put out a device that is only a dedicated e-reader.

He writes: I say they’re swinging big — redefining the experience of personal computing.

My closing line was: a new wave of computing may be upon us.

Of course, we both clearly state in our posts that our ideas are simply conjecture, so we'll have to wait and see what actually happens.

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