No, no, it isn’t the usual bout of pre–conference tablet–Mac rumors, it’s just a pleasant musing on why a tablet Mac would be super–cool awesome. Sitting at your desk with a bluetooth keyboard, mouse, and a stand of rough equivalence to a vertical iCurve, it’d be oddly reminiscent of Daniel Eran’s footless iMac. On the road, it’d be perfect for quick alterations to documents, iCal appointments, and for surfing the web.
The problem, of course, being the times that you aren’t exactly “on the road”, but you certainly aren’t “at your desk”, either.
If you have serious work to do, the tablet’s unique input methods are cumbersome and (dare I say it) useless. If you’re in a lecture, or at a developer conference, or anywhere where speed–of–input is more important than funkiness–of–input, the tablet falls short of its keyboard–toting notebook cousins. Fantastic as a casual–use item, perfect as a social–use item, and well–positioned as a quick–use item; can it ever be seen as a serious–use professional productivity item? No. No novels or screenplays or even blog posts will be written on it, no video will be edited on it, no music will be composed or recorded on it… it really is just a glorified doodle pad. A doodle pad I’d really love to have, don’t get me wrong, but a doodle pad nonetheless. There are too many times in the day that I go through the “open PowerBook lid, type password, switch to iCal, check where my next class is, close Powerbook” rigmarole when a real paper diary would probably be more efficient, but I digress.
Maybe what we need are some better–designed, more powerful PDAs in the market that are fiendishly compatible with Apple Address Book and iCal… like my hypothetical wet–dream PowerPod, maybe not. I’m thinking “more powerful, feature–rich, pocket–sized PDA” is better than “cut–down, features–absent, notebook–sized tablet”, but this is hardly the time or the place to start Apple PDA rumors, is it?