January 31, 2010


Are you old enough to remember when Apple meant the record label of The Beatles. Now Apple means the iPod, the iPhone and the new iPad. There's such anticipation when Apple does something new. Fans speculate on what's coming, guess at product names (iTablet, iSlate) and even create prototypes. What rare devotion.

People trust Apple to do something that matters. How can you be like Apple too?

Let's start with a review of their latest product.

The Year of the Tablet?
2010 looks like the year of the tablet computer. A tablet lets you use a computer without a mouse and perhaps without a keyboard. Instead, you touch the screen with a pen-like stylus or maybe even with your fingers if you have a multitouch display.

Tablets never sold well. Why? Price and performance. Even now, a business-grade tablet from Dell, Fujitsu or Lenovo costs $2,000 or more. The designs trade speed and graphics for longer battery life and lower heat. Maybe Apple can make a breakthrough

What if consumer tablets were enhanced netbooks with multitouch displays? They'd be budget-friendly and easy to use. Wishes answered. These devices are starting to enter the market now. Some ditch the keyboard and stylus, which may be fine for portable web browsing and ebook reading on the 10" screens they typically have.

Apple's Magic
Cinderella and the garden of Eden point out the folly of biting into an apple. That doesn't stop the masses from lining up to bite into the latest from Apple. It's as if life isn't worth living without their latest gadget. What anticipation. Good for Apple and their shareholders.

Types of Tablets
Some tablets have no keyboards and are called slates. You use a stylus instead. This leads to a thin, light device. An attention-getter but limited in capabilities. If you want your handwriting to be converted to text what do you do? You can use Windows 7, which has tablet support (as did Vista and a special version of XP). Or you can type on a virtual keyboard, which lacks the tactile feel of a real keyboard.

The iPad is a slate but has no stylus. You use a virtual keyboard instead. Pounding on a flat screen instead of pressing down on real keys can't be good for you. There's no speech recognition either, which means you can't have what you say converted to text.

The most functional tablets have keyboards. They look like and can be used like a normal laptop computer. That shortens the learning curve and lets you do more. Typing can be faster and more accurate than handwriting.

Since websites aren't optimized for tablets, you might have trouble clicking on some buttons unless you have a stylus, touchpad or trackpoint.

The Success of the iPad
The iPad --- which is not even available yet --- has been called
The reality is that Apple left out features normally found in cheaper netbooks: multiple USB ports, expandable memory, removable battery and webcam. The prices are higher (starting at $499 US). There isn't even a widescreen display (just 1024x768). On this blog, 55% of you use better displays. Would you like to step back to the 1950s and a 4:3 aspect ratio? Maybe.

We can't tell how well the iPad will sell. That didn't stop Apple from launching it.

How Can You Be Like Apple?
Look at what Apple has achieved with the iPad already
  • "A" for effort (maybe not "A+")
  • innovation without risking the company's future
  • shaking up the marketplace for ebooks, tablets, publishing and maybe cable TV
Perceptions affect reality. Imagine if your audience (clients, management, strangers) had high expectations of your next project. They'd expect the best even if you were doing the new. They'd forgive your mistakes --- they might even be blind to them. You'd a high balance in your Emotional Bank Account (a concept from The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey). You make deposits from a history of past successes, even if small.
I saw it once in a cartoon, but I think I can do it.
--- Stephen Wright
What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail? You've probably heard this annoying question which points out we don't live up to the light we have. Suppose we harnessed more of our potential without worry of failure. The way a kid does. You may not succeed, but more risk usually leads to more reward. If you mess up, you can try again. If you fail like Apple.


Podcast Episode 52 (6:29)

direct download | Internet archive page

PS You can turn your current computer into a pseudo-tablet by adding a Wacom tablet like the Bamboo or Intuos.

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