Why Apple Tablet? Consider The Oft-Wished For Sub $1,000 MacBook

January 2, 2010

Despite the increasing silliness of debating the pros and cons of a product we know little about, I’ll respond to this post doubting the rumored Apple Tablet in the simplest way possible.

I plan to purchase an Apple Tablet as a MacBook replacement. If it costs between $600 and $900 – cheaper than any current MacBook, and my aging MacBook which I paid about $1199 for – it will personally, be a no-brainer.

Maybe we shouldn’t think of it as a big iPhone but instead, the cheapest portable MacBook ever made. So many have criticized Apple for not selling a sub $1,000 portable computer. A touch user interface alone would differentiate it from even cheaper PC laptops and justify a relatively higher price.

Then add in the certainty that Apple has some angle to differentiate it from an iPhone. Not having to pay a monthly fee would be one, the larger screen another, some fancy new UI for watching movies and reading books another, etc.

Based on watching Apple for years, doubting them is folly. If as rumored, this tablet has been refined by Apple and Jobs himself over years, they’ve certainly considered of all the failings of past tablets a million times over, from mass appeal to form factor to price – and they must have answers, or they wouldn’t even be bothering with this product. They must believe it will sell hundreds of thousands if not millions or it wouldn’t be released.

Apple doesn’t release products on a whim, which is why they’ve had more successes than failures over the past decade.


  1. DaveD says:

    But for it to be a MacBook replacement it absolutely needs to allow me to install my own apps. My main computer is a MB – I haven't had a main computer that wasn't a laptop since 1998 (back in my PC days).

    My MacBook needs the following apps:

    (1) iWork.
    (2) Firefox.
    (3) A full featured RSS reader (Cyndicate).
    (4) SuperDuper!
    (5) VisualHub
    (6) uTorrent

    There are more, but these are absolutely necessary. This brings to mind some things related to your last post, and my comment there. Two questions:

    (1) What is the price point for complete lock-in?

    My iPhone and iPod touch cannot run Firefox. They don't have the my favorite RSS reader nor another mail reader. Like it or not, they are built (by Apple) to not allow background apps to run.

    Such “features” are laughable nowadays on a sub $1000 computer, be it your main one or a portable one.

    (2) What is the largest form factor for a device to sync up with your main computer?

    My iPhone and iPod touch don't allow me to download torrents. They have no bootable backup capabilities. That's okay, because all I really need is to be able to “pull it out of my pocket” and attach it to my main computer for “a couple of minutes”.

    Can't see either of those things in quotes there happening with a 7 inch or a 10 inch device.

    Looking forward to January 26!

  2. webomatica says:

    This is where Apple's “angle” surely comes in. We still have no idea if this thing runs the desktop OS X as we know it or just the iPhone OS X, or something in between that lets us install apps. Or, Apple may consider the most commonly used apps and maybe even created more just for this tablet. I could see them making “lite” versions of iWork and the iLife programs. Perhaps the development model is different so Firefox could get on there.

    There's got to be a cut off point, though, to justify the MacBook and PowerBook line. I'd guess many target users of this device would be fine with Safari and the Apple way of doing things and are willing to give up / have no need for torrents.

    The price point for complete lock in (if the tablet runs only apps from the App Store) – personally it's the price of the cheapest MacBook. If this tablet is $600 (like the Mac Mini) I'll cry tears of joy. $800, still get one. $900 – well then the whole issue of the cheapest MacBook functionality comes into play. Won't bite if a MacBook is the same price and it means being locked in.

    But we'll see – and then it'll be easier to speculate when we know what the heck we're dealing with.