Apple Tablet possibilities. I had a Dream.

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    Posted: 09 January 2010 12:23 PM

    I had a dream last night. This was unusual in that I don’t usually remember my dreams but occasionally I’ll have a very vivid one that sticks with me. Such was the case last night. This dream was about Steve Jobs announcing the Apple tablet computer. (Yeah I know, I can hear you saying ‘get a life’.)

    The dream opened with a wide shot showing the stage. Black backdrop, a little desk and spotlights illuminating the centre. Over the stage is a banner that reads “It’s a Wonderful Life” and the usual giant screen. Steve walks on stage and says “I present Clarence” and shows off a tablet that looks very much like an iPhone with a script HELLO (just like the one on the original Macintosh) on the 10 inch screen. He walks over and sets it on clear plastic cradle that holds it at an angle. As soon as the camera recognizes Steve’s face the screen comes on. At first it shows what the camera sees, Steve’s face. Then a big yellow smiley face appears and then it switches to the home screen.

    “I want to tell someone about this” says Steve. “Clarence e-mail”. The familiar Mail.app window appears on the screen, and of course all of this is shown on the huge screen over the stage as well. “New Message, To Bill, Subject New Apple Product, Message Hey Bill you won’t believe what our tablet can do” as Steve gives each command the e-mail is filled out. On the screen the mouse cursor uses the built in camera to follow where Steve is looking.  He pauses and the tablet knows to stop recording. “Hmmm I want to change that slightly” says Steve. He looks at the first word and the cursor obediently points at the word. “Select, Delete” says Steve and the word Hey obediently disappears from the screen. “Clarence Send” and the message disappears accompanied by the familiar Mail.app ‘whoosh’ sound.

    As the applause dies down Bill Gates appears on the stage. “Hey Steve I got your message”. Steve turns and says I have got to show you this new tablet we came up with. He hands the tablet to Bill. For a second on the giant screen we see Bill’s face as the tablet’s camera sees it. Then a red devils face appears and then the screen goes blank both on the tablet and the one over the stage.

    “Oh that’s right, you’re not authorized yet” says Steve. He takes the tablet as soon as it sees Steve’s face the screen wakes up and there is a short flash of the Yellow Smiley face. “Clarence Authorize Bill” says Steve and hands it back to Bill. Bill takes the tablet, his face appears on the screen with a question mark over it. “Hello Clarence I am Bill” The question mark is replaced by a smiley face and then the Home Screen.

    “How would this be for business” asks Bill. Steve smiles and says “Clarence Excel”. Nothing happens because Bill is still holding the tablet and so he’s the authorized user. The tablet knows who’s commands to listen to. Bill says “Clarence Excel” and instantly a spreadsheet appears on the screen. Once again the cursor is following Bills eyes as he looks around. Bill stops on a cell “1 2 3 plus 4 5 6 equals” in the cell appears each of the numbers as they are spoken but when he says equals they are replaced with the total. Bill looks at the next cell “2 4 6 divided by 5 7 9 equals”  the result fills this cell. Then Bill looks at a third cell “Summation” he looks at the first cell “select” then he looks at the second cell “select” then he says “total” and the result appears in the third cell. He turns to Steve and says “Well I’m impressed.This could be very useful for Point of Sale or other environments”.

    Steve takes the tablet, for a second his face appears on the screen along with the yellow smiley face. Then it goes back to Mail.app because that was the last thing Steve was using “We’ve worked with the Microsoft Mac Business Group to integrate this functionality throughout the Office suite. You can access Word, Excel or Powerpoint on Clarence.” “But how do you manipulate elements in PowerPoint” asks Bill. Steve smiles “Clarence Sales Presentation” a pre-made PowerPoint file opens. When Steve touches the screen the element hi-light and he drags it to a new location. Steve taps twice on a Text block and the text is selected. Steve then taps out new text to replace the old using the touch screen keyboard that unfolds from the bottom of the screen. When done Steve taps on the screen, the text is saved and they keyboard slides out of sight.

    After Bill leaves the stage Steve continues. “All work and no play as the old saying goes.” Steve turns back to the tablet “Clarence Read Moby Dick” the e-book appears on the screen. “Enlarge” says Steve and the text gets larger. He then starts reading the first few lines aloud followed along by the cursor which is following where his eyes are looking. When he gets to the bottom of the page the tablet knows to slide the text up 2/3 of a page so he can keep reading without interruption. If he wants to go back Steve looks to the top of the page and the text slides down a full page. It’s totally hands free.

    Just then there is a ring. Steve is getting a call from Ives on Skype. “Accept” the book stays in place but a window appears in the corner. The big screen above the stage shifts to a split screen view adding the the camera from Ives’ tablet from where he’s sitting in the front row of the auditorium. “So Steve, hows the presentation going?” “Pretty good so far. I’m actually in the middle of it so I’ll have to get back to you.” Ives hangs up and the window disappears leaving the book on the screen.

    At that point I woke up. The thing is that unlike some other dreams, such as the one where I’m driving across the Moon in a Ferrari 275, there is nothing here that is technically impossible. Getting Bill Gates to take part is unlikely for other reasons, but not technical.

    So what do you think of this functionality? How would you use Clarence? What else would you like to see in an Apple Tablet?

    [ Edited: 12 January 2010 12:05 PM by geoduck ]

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    Posted: 12 January 2010 03:21 PM #1

    geoduck - 09 January 2010 04:23 PM

    So what do you think of this functionality? How would you use Clarence? What else would you like to see in an Apple Tablet?

    Your posts are always an interesting read Geoduck, and this was no exception! You might have to concede the the part with Bill stepping on stage to get owned is a bit of fantasy; though if you had a dream where you car pooled on the moon with Gates and Jobs in your Ferrari, that’d be something. smile

    I’ve heard someone else suggest a spoken word UI (maybe one the MO editors?), but I seriously doubt that’s in the cards. Technically feasible yes, but I keep thinking back to M$’ disastrous demo when the computer responded to a command by typing “kill all mothers” or something like that. And, voice interaction just isn’t sexy (in the UI sense). Multitouch is the hot ticket these days, so I really think that’ll be the focus.

    I think the supposed (assumed?) Apple Tablet will amount to an enhancement of existing features, in a device that is designed to maximize those functions. While not just a bigger iPod Touch, it will certainly take advantage of the success of the App Store. Not just a color e-reader, it will offer subscriptions/purchase to interactive e-zines, books, etc. It will be a great device for multimedia consumption: video and music on the go, and on your lap. I have some modest rumblings that there might be a data subscription plan (possibly through Verizon)... while it would seem to most likely be suited for the “internet communicator” function of the iPhone, video conferencing seems like a very strong possibility. Facial recognition? Why not… at the least, that would save from typing in a password every time you log in. And of course, since the whole display is the interface, it will include enhanced multitouch functions, with additional and/or two-handed gestures.

    My 2?.

         
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    Posted: 12 January 2010 07:18 PM #2

    Believe me, it’s my dream. If anyone is going to be joining me in the Ferrari it ain’t going to be a couple of middle aged geek guys.
    LOL

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    Posted: 12 January 2010 07:34 PM #3

    Clarence - bad name, but great specs!

    Better than the Goople Direct Implant Constant Knowledge phone, as imagined by Joe Bennett in this morning’s paper: http://www.stuff.co.nz/blogs/opinion/columnists/3226700/Constant-knowledge-is-only-a-ring-tone-away

    “It will enable you to live perpetually in the places you love best, on Facebook, Beebo, Twitterland, with the community of people that you know and feel most comfortable with. Your flesh, your mind, your loves, your life, thanks to the Goople Direct Implant Constant Knowledge phone, they will all be as one. And it is now on sale alongside the mobile surgical unit in the foyer.”

    In the stampede for the exit, four Gooplers were crushed to death. Silently, in an underground bunker somewhere in Nevada, the colossal Goople D.I.C.K.phone server erased their web addresses from its database. Nobody missed them. None of their web friends actually knew who they were.

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    Posted: 12 January 2010 10:34 PM #4

    I like the face and voice recognition idea.  And now you mention it,  I can see Apple doing some of this in the “tablet”.  It would just be the sort of audacious thing Steve would do.  It would certainly raise the bar which is what Apple did with the iPhone.

    Great post, you paint a good picture.

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    Cheers:
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  • Posted: 12 January 2010 10:50 PM #5

    I had a different (day)dream.  Steve about 15 lbs. heavier, walking out on stage with a tablet in each arm, a high tech lightning bolt in the background and a big smile-

    I don’t think it’ll be much like you imagine, more like a one piece netbook with a cool look, and a cool new touch interface.  If it doesn’t have a camera , as has been reported, and costs as much as the WSJ said it might, I’ll have to pass. . .

         
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    Posted: 13 January 2010 12:27 AM #6

    geoduck - 09 January 2010 04:23 PM

    “But how do you manipulate elements in PowerPoint” asks Bill. Steve smiles “Clarence Sales Presentation” a pre-made PowerPoint file opens ...

    Steve Jobs get within a mile of PowerPoint? Keynote (as the name implies) is his baby, created for him, then passed on to the rest of us.

    Otherwise, a fine flight of fantasy.

         
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    Posted: 13 January 2010 01:42 AM #7

    Quote:
    “I had a different (day)dream.  Steve about 15 lbs. heavier, walking out on stage with a tablet in each arm, a high tech lightning bolt in the background and a big smile-”

    Followed by the introduction of the new font “Cuneiform”

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    Cheers:
    Bob

         
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    Posted: 13 January 2010 01:50 AM #8

    WetcoastBob - 13 January 2010 05:42 AM

    Quote:
    “I had a different (day)dream.  Steve about 15 lbs. heavier, walking out on stage with a tablet in each arm, a high tech lightning bolt in the background and a big smile-”

    Followed by the introduction of the new font “Cuneiform”

    You mean like these or these? (There are more, but the forum software may consider my message spam if I insert more than two URLs.)

         
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    Posted: 13 January 2010 02:08 AM #9

    Kind of what I had in mind, but seeing that it is already done, it won’t do for Steve.  Maybe if we placed an Apple logo in the place of the triangle…..

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    Bob

         
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    Posted: 13 January 2010 02:43 AM #10

    Funny dream! It almost seems apropriate that your dream shows the iTab with the name of Clarence from “It’s A Wonderful Life”, as if to say it is your guardian angel! However, I am kinda wondering where your mind is going when your dream starts going to “Moby Dick”. I’m just saying; but I won’t read into it anymore… honest!

    Your dream highlights the ability for a device to accept the eyes as an input device, which drives an increased ability to enter information into a computer.  I honestly find this fascinating, but am expecting a device similar to that in “Minority Report”, where gloved hands can move images and information with a flick of the wrist.

    I consider the need for a human to physically interact with documents using hands to be the primary challenge for current technology to overcome. Humans are still dependent on having the ability to touch, wether it be turning pages of a magazine, inspecting the glossiness of a picture, or to experience the tactile feeling of a keyboard. This dependency won’t be easily broken, as it’s an integral part to how we interact with the environment, especially when it comes to dependencies such as fulfilling the needs of security and growth.

    Eyes are as much a sensory device as hands, but the biggest challenge lies in the ability to develop an effective interface that accurately recognizes the muscular pressures and movements of the eyes to the degree where it can interact with multiple users with little to no configuration (let alone being compatible with a portable device). What’s more, such a device may involve implants (sorry, I’ll wait for the update)!

    My opinion is that Apple is going to refine their tech to accept more hand inputs, to even include developing better character input technology. The development of the trackpad, mighty mouse, and iPhone are key points which may lead us to, as the Hawaiian song goes, “Keep your eyes on the hands”.

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