The iPad is a solved design problem

“Even way back in 2010, months before Apple debuted the iPad, the Consumer Electronics Show was a clearing house for a cornucopia of tablet designs, many of which tried to anticipate Apple’s upcoming tablet,” John Brownlee writes for Fast Compnay. “Four years ago, that meant that the likes of Microsoft rushing out a number of ill-considered devices such as the HP Slate in anticipation of Apple’s forthcoming “iSlate,” but things haven’t changed too much today, with companies unveiling transformable tablets, giant tablets, teensy tablets, and more, all in the hopes of staying ahead of whatever Apple intends to do with the iPad lineup yet.”

“Yet such exotic designs miss the point. Apple is probably not going to do anything new with the design of the iPad in the near future, and there’s a good reason why,” Brownlee writes. “Simply put, as far as Apple is concerned, the iPad is now a solved problem.”

“There are incremental refinements to look forward to, sure–some clock cycles here, some dropped ounces there–but if Apple’s goal was to create a window, they have finally gotten to the point where they have stripped nearly everything away from that window’s design besides the glass,” Brownlee writes. “This why it’s very difficult to imagine that an iPad five or 10 years from now will look, feel, or even function very differently from the ones we have right now. It’s also why all the tablets of Apple’s competitors at CES feel even more irrelevant than ever. Once you perfect the design of a window down to its essence, the only thing that matters about it anymore is the vista it overlooks.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. Of course, it would be cool to see it transition into a movie fantasy projector controlled with hand/finger gestures, perhaps integrated into your iWatch! Then, even that pesky glass would be gone!

    1. I for one am not interested in a display that transparently floats in the air. If there is something opaque behind it that might be different but looking at an image with a distracting background through it is only for science fiction, not real day to day use. It would be like dealing with the background bridge noise in Star Trek, great for a TV show, lousy and suicide provoking if you had to live with it every day.

    2. or not. The “glass” is part of the beauty of the design. If the iPad turned into a movie fantasy projector, onto what would you project content that would have the resolution/brightness of the “glass” …. a white wall? a portable movie screen like your grandparents probably used with their 8mm or Super8 movies?

      1. That would certainly be back to the future, or is it forward to the past. Often the ideas more cool than the reality isn’t it which is why many SF film scenarios will never see the light of day beyond no nothing companies trying market vapourware.

  2. That’s why I am so skeptical of a 13″ iPad. It defies the purpose of a hand-held device. It may be great for niche purposes, but there are smaller companies like Wacom that can fill this niche.
    A 13″ tablet is really a desktop computer. That’s why MS makes a big deal about the keyboards for their 10″ unwieldy desktop proportional. Because it’s a desktop device. And for desktop devices, there are better options.

    1. It may or may not see the light of day. It would be a niche product, but maybe an important niche. iOS is easier to use and cheaper to support than a laptop. Maybe corporations have told Apple that they would buy 5 or 10 million a year of these “desktop tablets”.

        1. Yes depending upon the maturing of the OS and increasing power of the already strong capability of the A class chips seems to me its just a matter of time, as its role as a viable and complete replacement for laptops for many home and business functions continues to grow. Present size would create a glass ceiling. A 13 inch would still be an extremely practical device to carry around the house/building even if its mobility beyond that is somewhat reduced. But then my iPad has only once left the home anyway.

  3. You could say that the iPad is an extension of the “design problem” that Apple “solved” a few years earlier with iPhone.

    I would group them together as computers with screens that are easily mobile during use. That is the characteristic that distinguishes iPhone and iPad (and iPod touch) from “desktop” (including laptop) computers. (Laptops may be “mobile,” but you don’t typically move the screen around while using it.) And that older category of computer is a design problem that Apple solved with the original Macintosh.

  4. Apple changed the iPad name suffixing it with ‘Air’ and thinned it down slotting in the next new model between the Air and the MB Air.

    Why carry a keyboard around all the time when a powerful tablet will do just fine without it?

    An iPad Pro at around 1.75-2 lbs and ~12″ screen will fit between the Air and MB Air. Add the TouchID sensor, updated processor and a dock and you’ve got the makings of a business laptop replacement. 64-bit apps, long battery life, lighter than a laptop.

    An iPad Pro model is coming….and the design, like the article mentions, is already solid. Not much needs changing there.

    1. You may be right, but if you really need a keyboard for such a large tablet as a laptop replacement, why not just own a laptop? Why lug a separate keyboard around. Who is the market for this? I think business professionals would just stick with a regular iPad or laptop than an unwieldy 12″ tablet to be all things.

  5. You sure can have a laugh at that. There is one thing about humans that makes them and what they design different from all the other living creatures on the planet. Humans are the only ones that produce chemicals toxic to themselves but to all other living creatures. Even the most poisonous and venomous creatures on earth have this considerate and brilliant design concept of bio-recyclable materials that eludes humans since roughly the industrial revolution.

    Yes, those toxic materials can be found in the iPad and in the manufacturing process.

    Another writer with the navel contemplation that probably believes that the earth is round. Look at all the trouble that happened when someone dare suggested that the earth went around the sun and not the other way around.

    A solved design problem, what a farce.

    1. Ok, I’ll bite; name the toxic chemicals contained in an iPad.
      Then show us any piece of technologically advanced equipment that doesn’t have them, and show us any industrial process that doesn’t, in some way, involve toxic materials.
      Seeing as how you’re posting on here, that means you’re using a computer, which means that you are complicit in those processes that you complain about, which leads us to the obvious conclusion that you, ‘road warrior’, are a fucking hypocrite.

  6. Why does the 13″ have to be a laptop ?

    Schools might just see a panel that can sit in a dock for lessons and go home as a tablet the solution to input limitations for iPads in schools beyond kindergarden finger typing.

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