The iPad is Cool but I Really Want a MacPad

Yesterday Apple revealed their assault on the tablet market & like the rest of the internet I’m going to weigh in with my thoughts. A product launch with this much hype is bound to create a lot of expectations & some people are going to be disappointed. I can’t help but consider what I want from an Apple tablet; even if it means paying twice as much. Despite that I think Apple did a great job of matching the features to the asking price on this one.

iPad vs. MacPad

The most common complaint about the iPad seems to be that it’s closer to an iPhone than a MacBook. Whether from a philosophical viewpoint on open vs. closed platforms or just feature envy this definitely appears to be the clear dividing line in opinions. I can relate to both sides.

iPad Killer Features

I believe the iPad offers enough use cases to justify the price. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Application specific remote controls: There are already several of these for the iPhone & the potential applications only improve with more screen real estate.
  • Midi controller: I believe it should already be possible to use the iPad to control hardware & software Midi devices. This opens up lots of opportunity for creative new interfaces to control these devices.
  • Perfect travel device: The iPad already does almost everything that I might want while traveling. Assuming it will have a decent PDF reader that is.
  • Internet in comfort: Laptops are too unwieldily for hammocks or cars & iPhones are too small for extended use. Same thing applies for video & ebooks. The iPad really is a missing form factor just waiting to be filled.
  • MacBook trackpad: This is another app which already exists for iPhone and would be greatly improved in a larger form factor.
  • Better maps experience: Yet another example of something the iPhone already nails that would be improved on a larger screen.

MacPad Killer Features

As great as all that is Apple could easily get twice as much cash out of me if the device supported the following:

  • Secondary Display: I want to hook it up to my laptop to use it as a secondary display. Specifically I want to use it in mirrored mode with a stylus for Photoshop.
  • Wireless Hotspot: The 30$ price point for an unlimited 3G data connection is the sweet spot for me, but only if I can use it as a hotspot for my laptop as well.
  • Console game controller/secondary display: For role playing games it displays your inventory, dialog options & other menus. For a first person shooter you could prop it up in front of you & have it show your heads up display. For racing games you could control the vehicle with the accelerometer.
  • Full development environment: I want the command line, Ruby, ssh & all the works anywhere I go.
  • No AppStore lock in: This should be obvious enough.
  • Multitasking: This is one of the biggest reasons I don’t own an iPhone and probably the dealbreaker for the iPad as well. Palm really nailed the mobile touch multitasking experience & I would love to see something similar to their card system in an iPad.
  • Video chat: This seems like a big missed opportunity. Stick an iSight camera on the top of this thing and you’ve got a great video chat platform.
  • Stream content from MacBook: This should be easy enough to enable on the device as is but I haven’t seen anything indicating it will be possible.

At 499$ I’m Definitely Interested

I won’t be rushing out to get an iPad on launch day, but I’ve got to admit I’d interested. The iPad is a much more appealing device to me personally than the iPhone. Without being forced into a wireless contract it ends up being significantly cheaper as well. Depending on how things shape up after launch I expect I will bite the bullet on the iPad soon enough.

Do you think the iPad offers good value for the price? Were you underwhelmed by the launch? What would your dream tablet do that the iPad does not?