The industry is buzzing about a tablet like device Apple may introduce. So I thought a bit about what I need from a tablet. One note of warning. My tastes are a bit geeky. That is reflected a lot in this list. If you are an author or musician, you may want an entirely different set of capabilities. I am assuming that it will have all the functionality of current laptops but may have a smaller size (a paper back), higher battery life and an extremely good display and a pen like device.Essential
- I am assuming that it will be a general purpose device and hoping it to be the next laptop and do many things my current laptop based tablets don’t do well.
- A Reader – Any content (books, magazines, news papers, blogs, tweets) in any of the popular formats
- A Sketching Tool – I doodle a lot. I draw mind maps, simple sketches, flow diagrams in free hand. These are my thinking tools. So an easy to use, simple sketching tool would be an ideal companion.
- Annotator – When I read, I also markup and make notes. A tool for annotating would be compelling. Ideally if there is annotation framework for plugging in any annotation tool and support popular annotation protocols it may be even better.
- Mark And Invoke – A framework for launching applications that take a piece of marked text and invoke a mini-app will be great. Why? This is what I do when I read serious stuff. I jot down quotes, I mark items for future research, I Google a few, I check the dictionary/thesaurus and some times Tweet. Since I do not know what I may do in future, I would rather have a framework for plugging these mini-apps than bolted in functionality.
- A simple scripting tool. The device may replace my laptop. So some simple scripting capability to pull together applications may help me do my own.
- Ability to add my own apps to my device and give a few to my friends. I should have the freedom to write and add my own apps like I do on my laptop now, in a language I choose (currently Python).
- A good presentation tool – I am slowly shifting to handwritten sketch based presentations instead of the powerpoint style sanitized ones. So I am ok with drawing a few sketches, some notes and linking them up as a presentation. Would love simple wiki style hyper-linking across pictures, videos, sketches, images.
- A web synchronized wiki tool – Most of my learn logs, daily logs and idea logs all reside in desktop wiki. I would love to have one that automatically synchronizes between my desktop and my server (hosted) account.
- I don’t need this now but having some external plugins for various devices like webcams, sensors would be great
Some Random Thoughts (Just thinking aloud):
- Cell phones brought in single finger typing. The current generations seem reasonably comfortable sending text messages using these tiny keyboards at the speed of light. Blackberry and other copycats ushered in thumb typing. Will the new tablets bring in a different typing model (optional). Holding it with one hand and typing with the other. Will they become palm holds?
- With location based everything, the new device has to have GPS. That may make it a great navigation tool, some thing that replaces my current automobile driving assistant, as well. Why should assitance stop with driving? Why can’t it be extended to visual/audio instructions when I am walking around?
- A paper back would be an awkward thing to carry around. What new types of pockets or jackets will emerge to fashionably carry this device (I am not looking at wearing the conventional jackets).
- Just like email, Facebook and Twitter made every one write more, will this new device make people sketch more? Think More?
Eager to see what Apple will bring out. Even if it does not do all the items on my list, Apple is capable of starting a new revolution in computing devices and some of the competitors may jump in and do some of these, hopefully. If not, please give us a cool device with all the device drivers and an app framework. We the geeks, will take care of the rest.