Despite the iPad, tablet adoption will be limited until we decide WHERE we’re going to use them — as we did LAPtops, DESKtops, and MOBILE phones
“I don’t know what I’d do with it.”
That is one of the big criticisms of the iPad. Some say that it’s still searching for its “killer app.” I totally agree with this sentiment. But here’s another way to look at it.
Desktop, laptop, and mobile all speak to where you use it. But what about tablet? That’s a form factor — and we don’t call a laptop a “hinged screen with keyboard.” The tablet doesn’t yet have a context of use baked in. What’s the use scenario? Where are you going to use it? How are you going to position it relative to your body? Until we resolve these questions, tablets, pads, slates — whatever — will just be a cool technology. It’s something app developers and would-be iPad slayers should keep in mind as they develop their products.
Now, it’s clear what Apple’s take is:
So, is it the “couch computer”? The “reclining PC”? Or my favorite, the “kneetop”? I guess time will tell. Remember, at some point we used the terms “laptop” and “notebook” computer interchangeably before we largely settled on “laptop.”
To be honest, I think things will turn out a bit differently. My take is that “tablets” as a term will hang around, but that they’ll usher in the era of “casual computing.” Put another way, to be successful, tablets will have to be a transition point when we stop thinking about “using a computer” when we grab one. To me, that’s what people havein mind when they talk of having several tablets just lying around.
There is an alternative worth considering. Tablets may turn out to be a meaningless category. We may decide that there are actually several distinct, more purpose-driven categories — think eBooks/eReaders. This would be akin to Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) and Digital Video Recorders (DVRs).
But my heart still votes for the “kneetop.”