Elliot Jay Stocks is a designer, speaker, and author. He is the Creative Director of Adobe Typekit, the founder of typography magazine 8 Faces, one half of Viewport Industries, and an electronic musician.

The Apple Tablet

Posted on 12 January 2010 15 comments

Article illustration for The Apple Tablet

The web is currently drowning in a sea of Apple Tablet rumours as anticipation grows around the event on the 27th of this month. But at the risk of adding one more to the ocean, I wanted to share some thoughts on why I’m particularly excited about this one.

The tablet won’t be a tablet

Not in the way that everyone’s thinking, anyway. Because that’s just not Apple’s style. Have they ever just made a Mac-ified version of whatever’s already out there? No. Look at their history; especially their recent history: the iPod revolutionised the MP3 player. The iPhone revolutionised the mobile phone. We may have become used to them now (it’s hard to remember a time before the iPhone, isn’t it?), but don’t forget how groundbreaking they were at launch, and because groundbreaking is exactly what Apple do, there’s no way they’re simply going to bring out a tablet-sized MacBook Pro. Want that? Get a ModBook. Apple are thinking about the bigger picture.

The case for this sort of speculation is articulated much more artfully than me by John Gruber, whose excellent article concludes with this sentence:

I think The Tablet is nothing short of Appleā€™s reconception of personal computing.

Tim has provided a great round-up of Tablet rumours and has even gone so far as to illustrate a potential ‘docking station’ concept, expanding upon the tantalising patent drawing that’s recently been doing the rounds again. (Tim’s tablet image appears in the header illustration above.)

The fact that Apple will announce the Tablet on 27th January is no longer in dispute: it will happen. But what excites me is not the certainty; it’s the uncertainty: the rabbit that Steve eventually pulls from his hat will be something far different from the tablets in use today, and I can’t wait to see it!


  1. Dan


    12 January 2010 @ 09:03PM #

    I love all the cloak and dagger stuff. Maybe Steve Jobs got his new liver from a guy in R&D who liked to talk too much about what he was working on.

    Personally I have no idea what to expect from the tablet, but I’m looking forward to finding out.

  2. Chris Rowe

    Chris Rowe

    12 January 2010 @ 09:06PM #

    We could all have it completely wrong?

  3. Shaun Butler

    Shaun Butler

    12 January 2010 @ 09:06PM #

    I can’t contain my Macxitement about this!

    I agree with you, the iPhone broke ground for modern phones -
    just look at how many phones now resemble an iPhone!

  4. fiscalstudent


    12 January 2010 @ 09:07PM #

    damn it! now you’ve got me excited.

    Great point though, I watched the launch of the iPod recently on youtube and its amazing looking back how revolutionary it was. these days we take the iPod for granted but it was amazing at the time and amazingly revealed by Steve Jobs, to heighten the expectation!

    Worth watching


  5. Kyle Meyer

    Kyle Meyer

    12 January 2010 @ 09:09PM #

    It all goes to show that providing a quality product spurs word of mouth marketing that can whip consumers into a frenzy at the slightest hint of something new.

    I can’t wait.

  6. Alex Rogahn

    Alex Rogahn

    12 January 2010 @ 09:41PM #

    While it may be likely; very likely in fact – we have to remember that Apple may not even be making or planning a tablet. God knows what they’re doing but I’m more of a “see it to believe it” type of person and until it’s confirmed I’m ignoring everyone’s views.

    Good post though, I agree if Apple are doing a tablet they won’t go “lol, screen + multitouch = epic win!” they’ll do something more innovative than that… I would hope.

  7. Andrew Yates

    Andrew Yates

    12 January 2010 @ 11:12PM #

    I always look forward to Apple announcements, no matter what they are in regards too. What can I say, i’m just a ‘fanboy’! I am particularly excited to hear about the Apple Tablet, especially for the app development side of things. The iPhone developers out there will have a new playground to bring more call apps too.

  8. Dan Higbie

    Dan Higbie

    12 January 2010 @ 11:20PM #

    I certainly hope this is Steve’s effort to revolutionize computing. I would love to see the one device that I can take everywhere, and dock as a desktop or laptop, but also carry with me as a casual tablet style device with iPhone like apps. I guess we will all wait with anticipation for the announcement.

  9. Sean Curtis

    Sean Curtis

    13 January 2010 @ 01:52AM #

    My thoughts were that they might bring out a device that will target Augmented Reality and all types of media instead of just music. Something to push the sales of movies/games on the app store. Not many sleeps left until we find out – lots of excitement building.

  10. Jonathan


    14 January 2010 @ 09:45PM #

    Compilation of all material (News, Videos, Articles) related to Apple tablet.
    Check it out at http://www.tinkrbox.com/tb/box.jsp?b=XZ7ZRZtiEF2k

  11. Sam Wilson

    Sam Wilson

    15 January 2010 @ 12:31AM #

    I predict it will be a hoverboard. Whatever it is, I hope it opens the door to new design and programming potentials. Presuming success, inevitably the copycats will try to duplicate it and we’ll have to endure more awful commercials desperately grasping for faults of the iSlate.

  12. Beyond logos or faces | Wisdump

    Beyond logos or faces | Wisdump

    23 January 2010 @ 01:32AM #

    […] I was reading Elliot Jay Stocks’s post on the Apple tablet and noticed all the fancy gravatars his commenters had (maybe because they were not as small as the […]

  13. Evan


    23 January 2010 @ 10:21AM #

    I have the same feeling, it will not be simple like that, you may want to take a look at this: The Tablet By John Gruber.

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