Tablet PC Buzz… or is it really Tablet Apple Buzz?

Scott Francis
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An article in the NY Times recently caught my attention because … well it was about Tablet PCs.  Interestingly, much of the coverage comments on the buzz behind Tablet PCs lately, without fully realizing that it really isn’t buzz about a new category of product… It really sounds like buzz about Apple’s possible offering of a Tablet PC.  All mention of other products and vendors inevitably turns to what Apple might release, or compares the product to the existing tablet computer – the iPhone.  And while there are some Kindle fans (and I’ve seen a few on flights lately), the volume is small so far, and the product is downright ugly.  The same goes for virtually every other pretender to the Tablet PC throne.  What everyone is waiting for is for Apple to redefine the category with something eye-catchingly beautiful.  It is going to be hard for Apple to live up to the expectations at this point… but equally, it is pretty well impossible for anyone else to live up to the expectations. Similarly, there was an announcement that Apple purchased Placebase in July – with most articles wondering if this reflected tension with Google.  But I tend to agree with this article by Michael Hicks – that Apple is after the layering know-how to create “Augmented Reality” applications and features for the iPhone.  And my guess is that they’ll release an AR API for the iPhone to make it easier to write such apps as well (just as they have good APIs for animation and touch-gestures).  This line of thinking is similar to why Apple bought PA Semi previously – not to build its own chips, but to design chipsets and collaborate with chip manufacturers on low-power, high-performance designs (we’ll have to wait and see if that is correct, however).  It seems likely to me that some combination of AR features or apps will change our lives in the near-future much as the smartphone has changed our lives in the present (picture that green fidelity line actually painted in your vision in front of you). Not sure that any of this will impact BPM, but I’ve covered enough Apple topics I hope any regular readers will forgive my indulging in yet another post on the subject.