Apple Tablet or iPhone Accessory?

by Braden Kelley

No Apple TabletThere is a lot of chatter out there focusing on the possibility of a new Apple Tablet being announced at Apple’s next media event on September 9, 2009.

Will Apple launch a tablet computer?

Does it make sense for Apple to do so?

Let’s look at the current state of the market for computing devices:

  1. Many companies and individuals have recently made the switch from desktop computers to laptop computers
    • Yet, still IDC forecasts laptops like the Apple Macbook to represent only 55% of worldwide sales in 2009

  2. People are only now beginning to make the switch from dumb phones to smartphones in earnest
    • Yet in Q4 2008, only 23% of handsets sold in the USA were smartphones like the Apple iPhone (according to NPD group)

  3. Netbooks are currently the hot computing category
  4. Mobile operators in many countries charge by the device for Internet access
    • Adding an Apple Tablet would likely add $60/month to a mobile phone bill in the USA

So, given that a huge majority of individuals don’t even have a smartphone, are starting to keep their hardware longer, and may have just purchased a new laptop or netbook, does it make sense for Apple to launch a tablet or netbook computer?

I may be completely wrong, but personally I think that:

  1. Apple will not announce an Apple Tablet or Apple Netbook on September 9, 2009
    • Even if they wanted to, I don’t think they could make such a launch before January 2010 at the earliest

  2. Apple may never launch an Apple Tablet or an Apple Netbook
    • Experimentation with touch screens of various sizes could also point to a wireless iPhone and iPod Touch accessory

A Shift in How We Compute

Mobile Computing Hub
People’s behavior is changing. As people move to smartphones like the Apple iPhone, these devices are occupying the middle space (around the neighborhood), and the mobility of laptops is shifting to the edges – around the house and around the world.

Personally I believe that as smartphones and cloud computing evolve, these devices will become our primary computing hub and new hardware will be introduced that connects physically, wirelessly or virtually to enhance storage, computing power, screen size, input needs, output needs, etc.

– This would be thinking differently.
– This would be more than introducing a ‘me-too, but a little better’ product.
– This would be innovation.

And this would allow Apple (or someone else), by embracing this concept, to link up with pervasive, mobile, wearable computing efforts like those underway at IBM Research and elsewhere.

What will Apple really do?

What do you think?

See also: “Apple’s Dilemma – Netbook, Tablet or Bigger iPod Touch”


Braden Kelley is the editor of Blogging Innovation and founder of Business Strategy Innovation, a consultancy focusing on innovation and marketing strategy. Braden is also @innovate on Twitter.