With the amount of news and rumors floating around regarding the upcoming Apple tablet, it is almost certain that we will very soon see the mythical device. Various blogs have talked about everything from device hardware to the manufacturing plant where it will be made. It is rumored that the tablet will have a 10-inch touchscreen, feature an in-house ARM processor and will be designed for multimedia and eBook content. Most analysts believe that Apple tablet will change the netbook/tablet market like iPhone did with smartphone market. I think the five features discussed below will play a very important role in Apple tablet’s success when it is launched.
- Operating System: Almost everyone thinks that Apple tablet will have an iPhone like OS only with higher resolution support. But Apple knows better, iPhone OS was designed for sub 5-inch screen size and just increasing the resolution won’t solve many problems. Also using Mac OS X Snow Leopard on the tablet will not work, as the OS is not designed for touchscreen use. The Operating System on the tablet will be Mac OS X derived like the iPhone OS, but very different from both the operating systems. It will have elements from both the operating systems like App Store support from iPhone and run multiple applications like Mac OS X.
- Longer Battery Life: Most netbooks today offering 5 hours of battery life and if Apple wants to capture some of the netbook market they will have to offer at least 50 percent increase in battery life, say 8 hours or more. Also the tablet is a device that is designed to be used on the move, so if it could offer whole day use on a single charge it would make the device more useful.
- iTunes Integration: The biggest factor behind iPod and iPhone success has been iTunes. After iTunes online music store was launched iPod growth exploded, and similarly, iPhone sales grew exponentially after iTunes App Store was launch last year. iTunes has played a big hand in success of the two devices and it will again play a very important role in success of Apple tablet. Apple could add an eBook store to iTunes for the new tablet, or offer App Store support for the tablet, or they might even have a totally new idea up their sleeves that we don’t know about.
- Wireless Sync: Apple tablet like netbooks won’t be the primary device for most users. It will be their second or third computing device and hence data sync between all the computing devices will become very important. Most iPhone and iPod users sync their devices with laptops via USB, but syncing a 10-inch tablet with a laptop would be a problem. This is the main reason why wireless sync becomes very important. Apple could use WiFi pairing that will allow wireless syncing between two devices via a router or directly when ever the two devices are near each other. This will keep the data up to date and offer hassle free syncing.
- Price: The most important feature of Apple tablet will be price. If Apple is offering the tablet for $800, when netbooks are selling for around $300-$400 most customers won’t care about the tablet, even if it offer better user interface and functionality. Price will play a very important role in success of Apple tablet. iPhone sales more than tripled when Apple lowered the price to $199. Apple could offer the tablet with subsidiary from a wireless carrier, but $60 a month for 5GB of wireless data is just too much. Apple will need to price the tablet in $500-$600 range to gain traction in the market. A price point above $600 will make it out of reach for most customers looking to buy their second or third computer.