The 17-inch iPad: Omigod!

| Editorial

Apple has a history of pulling the rug out from under competitors. Remember the breathtaking pace of iPod development that dashed competitors’ hopes of ever catching up? Now, just as Hewlett Packard, Sony and others, in typical “follow Apple” fashion, are prepping 10-inch tablets to compete the iPad, Apple will move on and dash their hopes once again.

I remember when every woman I knew wanted a pink iPod mini back in 2004. Apple updated it once, and then with breathtaking speed, obsoleted it with the iPod nano. All those companies that wanted to compete with the iPod mini suddenly found themselves behind the power curve, crushed by Apple’s pace of innovation.

iPad

I believe the same thing is going to happen with the iPad.

Our collective consciousness may have somehow settled on the iPhone’s rollout calendar: a new iPhone every summer. Somehow, the community thinking has lazily lapsed into the idea that Apple will also refresh the iPad in a year. That’s a trap Apple will gladly have the competition fall into.

Remember, it’s not realistic to change mobile phones more often than once a year because one pays an expensive monthly fee and is under a two year contract. The iPad data plan, however, requires no contract, and Apple is free to come out with a new iPad model when ever it thinks the time is ripe. There is no reason to believe that Apple will give the competition an entre calendar year to catch up with the iPad 1G.

What’s the next logical step?

First, Apple has some OS ducks to get in a row. We need a better, more transparent file system access, and we need printing. The magnifying glass for editing may have been a nice innovation for editing on the iPhone, for low volume typing, but heavy typing, on a larger iPad keyboard, demands yet another innovation for fixing typos. When these refinements appear in iPhone OS 4 for the iPad “in the fall,” you can bet there will be a larger iPad. I’m guessing 15 to 17 inches.

For starters, an iPad of this size creates even more opportunities:

  • More practical board games, like Monopoly, that were too cramped on smaller screens
  • A full size keyboard that’s more forgiving of finger placement
  • Larger text in Pages that’s easier to edit
  • Larger text in ebooks for the visually handicapped
  • Even more exciting action games
  • A larger bezel around the edges on which one can rest the palm of the hand
  • Architecture and drawing programs become realistic
  • Breathtaking 1080p video

Now that the iPad 1G has shipped, you can be sure that Apple is working on a family of successors that will hit the sweet spots in the market place. I can foresee special polycarbonate stands that lay a 17-inch iPad 2G on a table at a comfortable, reclined angle and include a palm rest. I can foresee 17-inch iPads being used as replacements for TVs in dorms and teenager bedrooms. I can foresee them being used at construction sites for blueprints and by the military for battlefield maps.  The list goes on.

The potential uses will be just as synergistic and exciting as the current iPad is over and above the iPhone. That is, some argued early on that the iPad is merely an iPod touch with a larger screen. We learned quickly that isn’t so. The visual effects and opportunities presented by the larger screen went well beyond a mere scaling of screen size.

Just imagine the even greater visual leverage presented by a 15 to 17-inch iPad 2G. Once again, the competition will have its hopes dashed of ever catching up.

Comments

tyebo

Suppose for a minute that a future version becomes the next-gen MacBook Air—iPad OS, touch screen and a keyboard that doesn’t need to be plugged in. Would that violate the premise of the iPad?

Lee Dronick

Suppose for a minute that a future version becomes the next-gen MacBook Air?iPad OS, touch screen and a keyboard that doesn?t need to be plugged in. Would that violate the premise of the iPad?

That would make the iPad the netbook of tablets smile

cb50dc

I’d still rather have world peace, but this will do meanwhile

serandip

Would not a bigger screen be too heavy and too awkward to carry around?

cb50dc

Suppose for a minute that a future version becomes the next-gen MacBook Air

tyebo, three or four weeks back, in a related discussion, I pointed out that Apple hadn’t been showing the MBAir much love in terms of refreshing the line. I conjectured the same: MBAir sort of fades away, iPad gets a growth spurt, de facto replacing it. Oooh, I felt so smart.

And about a week or two later, Apple came out with the refresh on the MBAir.

So much for my conjecture.

John Martellaro

serandip: It would weigh a lot less than a 17-inch MacBook Pro, that’s for sure.

Lee Dronick

I?d still rather have world peace, but this will do meanwhile

At my age I will settle for whirled peas.

And about a week or two later, Apple came out with the refresh on the MBAir

They could still fade the MBA away, while fading in a larger iPad. This maybe the MBA’s last hurrah.

ibuck

There may be a good market for a larger iPad, but I’m still hoping for the rumored iPad with a 6” screen, that weighs a Kindlesque 10 ounces. That size and weight would be more comfortable for one-handed holding while reading a book, etc. And could be taken along more often. Hopefully next month.

mhikl

I foresee a thumb size iPad and monocle - oops, maybe I should patent the idea; just in case. mmmm

Tiger

And let the name submissions begin….

iPad Ultra
iPad Maxi

Lee Dronick

And let the name submissions begin?.

MacPad

Lancashire-Witch

That’s a good story John, but I’ll believe it when we have an iPad that no longer needs to be synced with iTunes (either wired or wireless)

MyRightEye

Oh, someone was waiting for world peace? It’s been in my freezer for several weeks, you should have told me you needed it.

Lee Dronick

Oh, someone was waiting for world peace? It?s been in my freezer for several weeks

Sounds like a journalist’s cliche “Peace talks were frozen”

geri

how about ichat video on the future Ipad wouldn’t it be great!!!!!!

vpndev

Me, myself and I would just *love* a smaller one. Maybe a big bigger than iPod touch but that size would do.

Why not iPhone? Because I don’t want the phone and 2-year contract. But the month-to-month data contract is OK.

Why not iPad? Because it won’t fit in my pocket, and that is what I want. A pocket computer without a phone.

Ashley Grayson

Being a happy user of an iPhone 3GS and an iPad, I’m betting the next model will be the iPad mini; sized somewhere between June’s iPhone revision and the iPad. A “paperback” sized iPad when compared to the “hardcover” format of the first iPad. The next iPod Touch will become the iPad nano.

the apple way

And let the name submissions begin?.

30” iPad Cinema.

If we’re gonna go overboard let’s at least do it right.

Tiger

Wouldn’t that be iPad Deluxe?

I can see the commercials now.

iPad Always.

Tom Hurley

iPad Flex. You can roll it up and put it in your pocket then unfurl it and use it for a tablecloth. Hikers on the trail can use it for a tent. Solar powered. Voice commands. Why think small, people? It’s APPLE, for cryin’ out loud!

Leland

Bigger?  Why?  It’s the perfect size as it is—it’s literally paper-sized.  The iPad’s size, the same as an 8 1/2” x 11” piece of paper, has worked its way into more aspects of society than anyone realizes.  Attach? cases, backpacks, document carriers, school notebooks, magazines (close enough), desk drawers, on and on.  It fits into your world because the world is already built around it.

Printing?  No.  No more printing, please.  You can make the environmental argument against printing, you can argue against overpriced, obsolesced ink, and you can argue that it makes less and less sense to produce man-sized stacks of paper that will never be read again.  The only possible practical reason for printing is to get a signature—and even that’s on its way out.

Camera?  Who wants to hold it so they look good during video chat?  Really, think about it.

It’s fine the way it is.

Khaled

A mbp with detachable screen that turns to an iPad
Like the lenovo

mae west

iPad Flex. You can roll it up and put it in your pocket then unfurl it

“Is that an iPad in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?”

craigf

Why oh why do I keep seeing comments that suggest the iPad has a need to display 1080p video, when most (I believe all) people can’t resolve the difference between 720p and 1080p on an HDTV smaller than 40”? Yes, it would be nice if the iPad could deliver 1080p when connected to a large screen, but there’s no need for that resolution on a small screen. And of course there’s also the issue of file size…

Since we’re in a predicting mood, I fearlessly predict there will never be a 17” iPad. That defeats the casual portability that makes the iPad so useful. And making a tablet that size with sufficient robustness and rigidity would make it much heavier than proportions would suggest and make it disproportionately more expensive.

There’s a law of diminishing returns here, folks, and Steve’s pretty good at positioning his products in their market.

driveup double cheeseburger

There?s a law of diminishing returns here, folks

Yes it does, and the iPad already violates it.  When you’ve gone beyond packet size & have something approaching the size and cost of a notebook, you might as well GET a notebook.

Then again Steve is very well known for being ahead of the curve.  If Americans keep getting fatter, the iPad will fit into an average size pocket in a few years.

WernerPatels.com

Totally disagree. There is no need for a bigger screen, or any of the features you so desperately want to see on the iPad. For what people want to do on it, they don’t need any of your suggested “upgrades”. In fact, they’re quite dumb.

Numpty

“Remember, it?s not realistic to change mobile phones more often than once a year because one pays an expensive monthly fee and is under a two year contract.”

Says who?  Many people pay no monthly fee and have no contract.  I’ve had mobile phones for the past 15 years, including an iPhone, and never had a contract or paid a monthly fee.

ibuck

Numpty:

“Many people pay no monthly fee and have no contract.? I?ve had mobile phones for the past 15 years, including an iPhone, and never had a contract or paid a monthly fee.”

Right. Despite being off-topic, please explain, unless it’s because your employer or someone pays for it.

Lee Dronick

Right. Please explain, unless it?s because your employer or someone pays for it.

Maybe he has no fees and contracts because he doesn’t have service, just the phones. smile

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