Re: [NTLK] No iNewton announced today

From: Chilton Webb <>
Date: Thu Sep 10 2009 - 13:01:51 EDT

Hi Jon!
On Sep 10, 2009, at 10:12 AM, Jon Glass wrote:
> Every one of these applications are called "vertical market"
> applications. This was how the Newton was marketed, and most every
> palmtop and tablet up until now. Vertical market is used, because they
> lack breadth.

I'm not saying this is how they should market it. That would be a bad
idea. I'm just pointing out that there are actual markets that are
actively proving wrong the theory that there's no money to be made
here. And more to the point, these are not niche markets at all. And
they're also willing to pay top dollar for hardware, and they're high
exposure markets. All of this fits well with Apple's 'Pro' hardware

Apple is a consumer hardware company to a few, but some products, like
XServe, absolutely cater to a tiny market. In the 3D market, the Mac
Pro sells exceptionally well. Sure, most of the 3D folk put Windows on
their Mac Pros, but Apple's moving hardware there. And they move a
hell of a lot of it. Apple is investing considerable time and money in
the 3D market right now. I also know the Photoshop installed user base
exceeds the size of the *entire* 3D market by a considerable amount,
and they again would be a good target audience for the Tablet Mac.

The graphic art demographic is not one that the Newton catered to. You
had to install special software just to get a blank screen! Maybe
Apple was hoping the medical community would pick up the Newton, but
frankly that is a profitable market. The lack of software (and lack of
general tech consumption at the time) killed it there.

> Tablets do not really make good, general purpose devices because of
> the physics of the device.
Perhaps, if the purpose of the device is to do what the Newton did.
But that's not what most of the current Tablet PC owners want. They
have smartphone / pda / whathaveyou for those tasks.

> Now, on the other hand, if we could think along different
> directions--like living room, like wall, or table, or even a stand,
> and rethink the Apple TV, then maybe Apple's got something up their
> sleeve, but I honestly don't expect Apple to actually ever release it.
> It's a non-starter. Unless Apple can be happy with it, it won't
> happen.
I would imagine anything along those lines would fail, unless it was
dirt cheap, or it had some really huge appeal. It's been tried, a lot,
before. I don't think this would succeed. I have first-hand experience
with this. I built the prototypes for the VR Portrait and VR Window in
2001. This was to be a thing you could hang on a wall, place on a
table, stand, etc., that would let you both interact with your TV and
stream whatever your TV was showing, onto it. The larger system, the
VR Window, would stream high definition pre-recorded video to the
'windows' in a house, allowing you to send a computer screen (I used a
Mac) or really any video signal, to different windows, allowing you to
both simulate a 'real world outside', among other things. There's a
tie-in there to front row and the Apple TV, but I won't go into that
here. My point is, this idea failed. It might have been a good idea,
and it might still be a good idea, but I don't think it would sell
nearly as well as a Tablet Mac.

Of course, I could be very wrong about this. I don't have an iPod that
I listen to music on. I never have. The iPod made absolutely no sense
to me, when Apple released it. Who needs that much music? I think
that's part of the problem here. Just because I don't understand the
target audience, doesn't mean the idea is bad, it probably just means
I'm not in the target audience. If you feel like a Tablet Mac has no
appeal, you might not be the target audience Apple would get with one.

> And all this speculating about a tablet is just a waste of time--
> everybody's time.
It's certainly not a waste of time for me. Trying to predict the
future is always my first step towards figuring out what role I want
to play in it. And I've already made some good money off writing
Tablet PC software specifically for the coaching demographic. There's
a LOT of money out there in markets a laptop or an iPhone just can't


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Received on Thu Sep 10 13:02:01 2009

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