That’s the rumour, according to TechCrunch’s MG Siegler. He reported yesterday that Apple might be “hard at work” on a bigger, second tablet device that may be more like a Mac — citing a “good” but “second-hand” source.
This could, in theory, quench the needs of some people who have claimed that the Apple iPad, unveiled last week, isn’t powerful enough for them, either in terms of features, horsepower, or user control over the machine or app installation.
So is it going to happen?
We think it makes sense that Apple would eventually integrate some touch features and multi-touch gestures into more of its products, potentially including its MacBook and iMac lines. Heck, even its latest mouse has multi-touch features. We also assume that Apple has probably tested something like this internally — no doubt it tests a lot of things that it never releases to the public.
But we have a hard time seeing Apple unveiling a second tablet platform in the near future.
Why not? Just making a tablet with Mac OS X running on it would probably be a crappy user experience — something Apple would like to avoid. That would be too much like the Windows-powered PC tablets of years past, which have not been successful.
Touch computing requires a specific user interface optimised for touch input, and Mac OS X is optimised for mouse and keyboard input. The iPad OS, meanwhile, is optimised for touch input, and we assume Apple is pretty happy with it.
Specifically, Mac OS X apps would be awkward to run using touch-based controls, and apps tailored for the “Mac-like” tablet would be lame on Macs and iPads. So it doesn’t really follow.
And adding a second tablet platform so quickly would be very confusing to both consumers and developers. It would send the message that Apple isn’t fully committed to the iPad as its main tablet platform, which would be a weak message.
It makes much more sense that Apple would eventually add more complexity to the iPad platform — such as background processing for third-party apps, a more sophisticated app launcher, bigger or smaller screen sizes, more file capabilities, etc. — than introduce another new touch platform.