What's the future of the iPad (and tablets generally)?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by thelookingglass, Mar 29, 2011.

  1. thelookingglass macrumors 68000

    Apr 27, 2005
    So just thinking out loud here: I love my iPad. Love the portability and the battery life. And I have no doubt that as technology continues to advance, we'll see these things inching closer and closer to full laptop replacements. What role do you see tablets playing in our daily lives, say, 5-6 years down the road? I ask because smartphones will make similar technological advances and are inherently more portable than tablets. Laptops will also continue to get thinner and more power efficient (and, at least for the foreseeable future, a physical keyboard is still the most efficient input method we have). So will tablets be relegated primarily to the realm of luxury device / couch internet browser? Or will they see mass adoption and be a permanent fixture in meetings, classrooms, etc. of the future?

    Interested to hear your thoughts!
  2. LouieSamman macrumors 6502a


    Jul 23, 2008
    Orlando, Florida
    The tablet is going to stick around and what it's going to become is a replacement over physical books. Laptop has one thing that keeps it above a tablet and thats the keyboard.

    What the tablet needs to beat the laptop is a wireless keyboard and a OS system that can make the tablet a stand alone device.

    Laptop allows you to set it down where a tablet is a hand held device.

    Both has its advances over each other and so with that said both will stay.

    Tablets will get thinner, lighter, powerful, more popular & will be in many homes just as standard as people having a desktop/laptop computer.

    Tablets will be use to read, touch input games, airplay the OS to your big screen to share the photos/games/video/ect. on your tablet.

    The tablet is already widely known and in 5 years. For the iPad. It's going to be a beast of a device!

    Be prepared for awesomeness!
  3. Piggie macrumors G3


    Feb 23, 2010
    I needs a MASSIVE change to the OS, and perhaps a different type of touch screen that could say recognise as well as a finger, a Stylus for fine work, and perhaps even something that could scan/read things placed onto the screen also.

    If you took the current iPad we have today, and made it 10X the speed it is, or 20X the speed it is, it would still be limited in what it can to due to the OS and the touch screen tech.
  4. mikethebigo macrumors 68000

    May 25, 2009
    It's definitely a fun and interesting question. One of the reasons I'm so into the iPad is that it seems like it's the future of technology. However, I think it's just too tough to tell right now. My guess is that as cloud services evolve and Internet bandwidth increases, there will be less and less need for really fast local processing. Ultimately I think all screens will just be different ways to access the same data stored remotely (on a home computer or server somewhere).

    I don't think that the tablet in it's current form will ever destroy the laptop form factor, I think it will just remain one of the many usable choices. That's because right now finger based input is simply not as precise as a mouse, and touchscreen keyboards will never be as efficient as tactile ones. I consistently score about 30 wpm faster, with fewer mistakes, on my laptop. I also can lay in any position to scroll through and view content, but to type I need to move around to make it optimal.

    I hate to sound like a huge nerd, but really I see it how they did it in star trek the next generation. Picard would always have a bunch of padds (tablets) that he used for reading information, while he used a laptop style device for more interactive work. Both types of devices displayed the same content from the central computer of the ship. That's pretty much what I see the future being like!
  5. joemeetsjane macrumors member

    Mar 28, 2011
    i think the tablet market will surpass the desktop pc/macs market. it's light, fun, easy to use, and at an affordable price range. easy to be used by anyone in a household from kids to the elderly.

    tech-wise, i hope to see 3d technology and more interaction methods either via sensors capturing movements (ie kinect) and such.
  6. ravenas macrumors regular

    Sep 24, 2010
    I see a bit of a divergence in the tablet/smartphone/laptop market in the next 5 years as each carves out a niche for use.

    Laptops/desktops will remain the workstations where people do the majority of their work and house their media servers (as nothing more than the master copy to whatever cloud services individuals use to serve up the majority of their media). They'll get more powerful, have longer battery lives and larger storage capacities. But they'll see less and less of the outside world as people increasingly switch to mobile devices for travel.

    Smartphones will max out at the 4" screens and primarily be used as mobile video and still cameras as well as powering the mobile hotspot and communications activities. Everyone will be clamoring for some sort of built-in projecting system so you can turn your smartphone display into a bigger, more readable surface. Nothing will happen here until the tech is there to create holographic projections of tablet displays and virtual keyboards.

    I can also see the inverse happening and our smartphones getting smaller and smaller until they are bluetooth earphone size and have no screens but retain the usability of voice, text by dictation, GPS by dictation, and search by dictation. The smartphone will simply be the device we use to connect to the mobile web while our displays come in other methods. Either by voice or perhaps a heads-up display in sunglasses or some such.

    Tablets will grow in popularity and replace many of our other daily functions. They will be our voice-calling handsets around the house. They'll be our remote controls for the TV and stereo set. They'll become our gaming machines and game controllers. They'll grow far more durable and be able to suffer a few hard knocks to the floor (like you'd drop the wireless phone or TV remote now.)

    We may also see some fragmentation where larger tablets will double as netbook-like extensions of the home computers. Smaller tablets will be more for consumption and remote control dumb functions.

    The iPod Touch will become Apple's home automation remote device. It'll get bigger and max out at a 4-7" screen. The iPad will remain at it's current size but become widescreen within a couple years.

    Android tablets will come in many different form factors for the specialized purposes. We may even see a 12" size one day billed as the true laptop replacement/Tablet OS.

    Computer users will also differentiate into those who merely want to consume data (primarily tablet and iPod/small handheld remote users) and those who produce as well as consume data (laptop/desktop users with one or two of the other handheld devices).

    The MacBook Air line will be discontinued in about 3 years as the company finds consumers get all the consumption/light production needs customers need from their iPads.

    We may also see a hybrid computer that is a transformer. It can work as a laptop but with a detachable tablet screen for consumption. (One is already in the works by Acer I think.)
  7. ApplesAOranges macrumors 6502

    Jan 7, 2011
    Tablet or laptop, who cares. Touchscreens are nice though!

    But one thing is a fact. You can´t do pretty much anything useful on a mobile OS (iOS) and you can do EVERYTHING with a full OS (OS X).
  8. afireintonto macrumors 6502a


    Jul 22, 2008
    I think within the next ten years tablets will be most people's primary machines. In the home anyways.
    Offices and creative professionals will continues to use computers like we think of them now, but for the next generation the tablet will be the choice of machine, it's way more portable, and the battery lasts all day.
    The os is going to change and become much more useful in the very near future, all of the road blocks that we have today will be gone. We will be able to use the built in browser to upload files, and the os itself will be able to have files that all apps can use. It's just a matter of time, and apple finding a good way to do it.
    Computers will be the trucks. Tablets will be the choice of consumers - professionals in the office will probably still want large screens and physical keyboards, but they might be connected to their tablet, not the towers like we have today.
  9. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    I agree with Louie. I think tablets will cut into notebook PC business, but they won't replace them. Sometimes you just need a "real" computer that can be taken anywhere. I think notebooks may go more toward the MacBook Air arena, especially if things like Amazon Cloud Drive, Dropbox, iDisk, etc. get more popular and store enough.

    Tablets are a HUGE improvement over books if you ask me. Yes, I get the whole romantic "I like to hold a book" crap some people throw at me. I have a friend who just moved in and has just a total crapload of various books that she reads or has read. I've got a few books as well, but I can't say I'm in love with how much space they take up. I MUCH prefer having the books in a digital version so I can take them anywhere without the bulk.

    Same thing goes for CDs versus digital music. I still prefer movies on discs because of quality and price compared to BD titles. Example: I just bought Smallville season 9 on BD. It cost me $26.50. Full season in HD on iTunes? $49.99 -- in 720p and probably Dolby Digital. AirPlay may make sharing the video better eventually, but it's still crap compared to that extra quality from BD.

    But I digress. I can take every song I own with me on my 64GB iPad. If I had a 64GB iPhone, I could do the same -- I have 42GB of music. I can now take every book I own in Kindle format with me. I can download a bunch of newspaper articles and magazines on my iPad. Whenever the iPad can get a retina display, oh me oh my. It's already awesome. It just lacks that extra quality that the iPhone 4 screen has.

    So I definitely see iPads replacing books and other similar items in people's lives. Many can use an iPad as a replacement for a portable gaming system and notebook PC.
  10. iVeBeenDrinkin', Mar 30, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2011

    iVeBeenDrinkin' macrumors 65816


    Oct 17, 2008
    The iPad is cool, and I think it will be a great reader and video game player in the future, especially with retina. But, as long as Apple keeps the MBA going, it will be hard to keep buying iPads. I've heard all the arguments about them being two different devices, but can you imagine in 2-3 years having an 11" quad-core MBA with up to 8GB of memory and a 512 SSD for only a few more hundred than an iPad?
  11. ravenas macrumors regular

    Sep 24, 2010
    Kinda what I was saying. We'll see a divergence of the type of computer user. Producers and consumers.

    15-20 years down the road I can see every household having its own personal AI running the smarthouse features of the residence and syncing data to the various cloud and in-home servers families have. Everything we do will be digital whether we like it or not. And everything will be voice activated though there will be a tactile manual override.
  12. ApplesAOranges macrumors 6502

    Jan 7, 2011
    Oh and by the way...

    Mobile OS like the iOS has pretty much no freedom at all. It´s the New World Order of operating systems. If this sort of operating system will start replacing the "traditional" operating systems, it´s game over for us. So beware people.

    Apple would just love to be in total control of everything! No question about it. :apple:

    Only good thing about this is that it will end piracy. So no more free music or movies for you wankers out there!
  13. ravenas macrumors regular

    Sep 24, 2010
    I wouldn't worry. Between Google, Amazon, Microsoft and the hardware manufacturers of alternate OS's, Apple will get dragged into a more feature rich, open world. Same as they were dragged into making iTunes music DRM-free by Amazon competition.

    To not do things like implement a drag&drop file system (with files accessible by various apps), air syncing, better hardware and a widget-driven home page screens they are handing the victory to their competitors. There's only so far you can go with an icon-based iOS before the device feels more like a toy rather than a go to device for mobile computer users.
  14. iVeBeenDrinkin' macrumors 65816


    Oct 17, 2008
    Apple wasn't dragged into DRM-free music... the industry was.
  15. mikethebigo macrumors 68000

    May 25, 2009
    As much as I fear this, I doubt it will ever happen. Google, Microsoft, pretty much anyone else would be happy to step up and say, if you want freedom or choice you can use us! Competition alone will prevent Apple from making their desktop software closed like their mobile software. People may be accepting of limitations for phones and tablets, as they are physically limited platforms, but not for general purpose computing.
  16. ravenas macrumors regular

    Sep 24, 2010
    Apple was one of the last services to go to DRM-free music and then AFTER you paid an upgrade fee for each song. You forget just how much Apple execs are in bed with Hollywood and the music industry. It's symbiotic almost parasitic relationship.
  17. ApplesAOranges, Mar 30, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2011

    ApplesAOranges macrumors 6502

    Jan 7, 2011
    The "alternate OS´s" are going in same direction as Apple. It´s an open conspiracy to get rid of all our OS and internet freedoms. The excuse is of course to get rid of piracy and "protect" us from the "wrong" information (like the truth). So things like "911 was an inside job" or "there´s fluoride in the drinking water" will be long forgotten.

    It will be a happy place for humankind. :rolleyes:

    Funny thing is that stupid and ignorant people will be happy to pay their way into this bondage.

    Like getting a chip implant will be so coooooooooool!

    And by the way... Radiation is nutritious, war is piece.

    iOS is Satan.
  18. ravenas macrumors regular

    Sep 24, 2010
    In what way are other OS's going in the same direction as Apple? Android has a much more customizable interface with competing app stores. You can't even put anything DRM'd on an Android device and use it (with the exception of books living in the Kindle or Nook reader system).
  19. iVeBeenDrinkin' macrumors 65816


    Oct 17, 2008
    I am not forgetting anything. Apple was the company that pioneered legally downloadable music, they had contracts. The music industry raped Apple the first go around.

    An "upgrade" fee? You paid the difference in the price of the song or album, the price that had become the industry standard, and the price S. Jobs never wanted. He was adamant about a $.99 cent price point, that's one battle he lost.
  20. ApplesAOranges macrumors 6502

    Jan 7, 2011
    iOS should stay in only 4" devices or smaller. Anything bigger than 7" should have a full free OS!
  21. jb1280 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 13, 2009
    I don't think there is any reason to get religious about the closed nature of an OS or that iOS is only appropriate on a certain sized device.

    I think there are two important trends.

    First, for a large number of people, purchasing another personal computer with a desktop class operating system is simply not going to happen. I think we can all agree that there is a sizable number of people who use computers in order to send email, browse the web, consume media, draft an occasional text document, and play an occasional game. The iPad performs all of these tasks beautifully. The iPad is not a scary device. When my mother primarily used a desktop class operating system, I received emails all the time about installing programs, and disc images not ejecting properly, etc. Since I got her an iPad, there have been no issues. If individuals want to berate people who are intimidated by a desktop class operating system, feel free, but if there's a device that happens to be locked down, but provides a perception of greater autonomy for error, it's quite liberating in my opinion.

    Second, I think there might be a transformation in the "home computer." Growing up we had a desktop that was the family computer. When my siblings and I went off to university we got our own computers. Until then, there were fights about who gets to use the computer. I imagine families might opt for keeping a couple iPads or iPod touches around the house for kids instead of buying multiple notebooks. What is the implication of a generation who grew up using a multi-touch platform with virtual keyboard? It could be quite profound.

    Personal computers with desktop class operating systems will continue to be important, but I think their market will become substantially smaller.
  22. Skika macrumors 68030

    Mar 11, 2009
    I think the iPad and the macbook will merge into one product. Think about it, a ultra thin macbook air that folds and becomes an iPad! That way you have the usefullnes of the touchscreen/handheldness and when you have to set it up somewhere so it stands alone an need a physical keyboard just fold id back. All done with superb mechanisms ofcourse. I think Lion is already showing that something like this is planned. iOS and OS X merging in a macpad.
  23. Piggie macrumors G3


    Feb 23, 2010
    Personally I think Apple will at some stage have to make a second tablet aimed at a different audience or they will lose custom.

    There does need to be a, and I'm not being rude, dumbed down, very simple interface, with 1 app at a time, full screen like we have now.

    All the grannies, and people who are not interested in "computers" will want this type of device. However, they are, and will be another large group who want a tablet, but also want more.

    If Apple don't offer it, then in time someone else will.
    Perhaps we will need multiple apps in multiple scalable windows on the screen together? Or different input device options for more high end work like Photoshop / Cad type work.

    iPad Pro some have said. I don't know, but I don't believe 1 tablet can be everything to everyone in the long term.
  24. mwulf67, Mar 30, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2011

    mwulf67 macrumors regular

    Mar 10, 2011
    First, I think the future of the iPad/Tablet form factor is bright…I think it’s here to stay and I can’t personally ever image going back to a laptop as my mobile computer device of choice…

    I love my iPad and can see myself being quite content for a little while as things currently stand now…however, down the road, I agree with a few others, I will need something more…something with more options, more flexibility, a more open system…either Apple will provide, or someone else will…I have no particular allegiance to Apple, only a recognition that, currently, they are offering the best available tablet device….
  25. arkitect macrumors 603


    Sep 5, 2005
    Bath, United Kingdom
    Unless Apple screw this up majorly (and this is not impossible ;)) I would think pretty much what happened with the iPod since 2001:
    [​IMG] >>> [​IMG]

    It will only get better.
    Sure Apple will drag their feet and try to close it behind an ever higher garden wall. But if common sense prevails at Apple Inc. the iPad and other tablets are probably going to be the future of home computing.

Share This Page