iPad – One Tablet To Rule Them All

802.11n + Tablet = ???

Okay, so we’ve been pondering this for a while, as anyone that reads the site regularly can attest…with full on HD streaming being done at a data rate of 20-50mbit/sec, what do you need 802.11n (and its 200-500mbit/sec rate) for?? And really, how often are you going to be streaming Blu-ray and HD-DVD content around the house (as if the MPAA/studios would ever allow us to do such things!)?? And lastly, just how many multi-gigabyte files do you move around on a daily basis? If you’re like us, not very many.

So, what to do with all that bandwidth? And if we’ve got a fancy Mac Pad on the horizon, to go with our 802.11n, how would that fit together? First, let’s rename the Mac Pad the iPad, just for the time being (go with us, this is exciting stuff)…hmm…maybe we could just stream something else to the iPad…turning it into an “all in one” computing device, like the iPod is an “all in one” media device…Imagine this future with us…

iPad ships at the end of this year or early part of next year for an insane price, say $499. But what comes with it is the “lite” Mac OS X that we’re already seeing on the iPhone…it has similar sorts of features, maybe just 1-2GB of flash memory for the OS and a few local apps, settings, etc…and minus the cellular functions of the iPhone too (maybe substituting some VOIP instead). Here is where it gets exciting…what are we going to stream to this thing, then? How about the ENTIRE interface from any Mac or PC on the network?? The iPad turns any computer on your network into a wireless touchscreen-enabled tablet!! How would one do this? We’ll tell you, after the jump!

By streaming the entire interface of that computer to the iPad, via all that tasty 802.11n bandwidth!! Simply launch iTunes on that computer, and your iPad can see it, “pair” with it, and you can do anything you can do on that computer on your iPad! As for what you could stream, we mean anything, as with 802.11n, you will have bandwidth to stream everything to iPad, including first person shooters and other games, full HD quality video, high end drafting and design applications, you name it!

Can you imagine designers and architects, scientists and doctors, and just regular ol’ business people, sitting in conference rooms with iPads hooked up to a fancy 8-core workstation back at the desk? What about home users, Mom sits on the couch with iPad reading the Sunday paper while Dad is in the kitchen using his iPad for reference on a new recipe he’s trying out? Junior is sitting on the floor playing Halo 3 (who says you need a games strategy, just sell interfaces to existing content!!) on his…

But wait, you say, isn’t that what Microsoft already tried, and failed at, with Mira? Why, yes, it is…but the thing is, their technology was ugly, had terrible hardware, flaky and unreliable, was crazy expensive (Mira devices basically cost $800-$1000 once they finally came out, and you had to have an XP PC, too), and was slower than doodoo because of 802.11b technology!!

More evidence…Apple Remote Desktop already showcases the technology exists, if not ARD, then VNC or any number of alternatives…heck, you could even do RDP on the Windows side if you were desperate…Apple has supported multiple, simultaneous logons to the Mac for many versions (Fast User Switching)…this would even drive more Mac sales, because with a Mac, you could support multiple simultaneous iPads, whereas with a PC, maybe you can only do one at a time! Also, imagine using the iPad as a second, or third, monitor with your existing machine! There’s no reason you couldn’t, and use it as a graphics tablet, too!!

Imagine the world where you can lay in bed with your iPad, listening to your iTunes library, chatting with your friends on iChat, editing up that footage from your family vacation, and reading Apple Recon all at the same time!! Imagine leaving your Mac Book in the bag back at the hotel room, and taking your iPad down by the pool for some afternoon reading!! 802.11n makes it possible, and this is EXACTLY the kind of innovation that Steve Jobs and Apple like to whip out and use to turn the whole industry on its head.

What do you think, are we smoking something? Sound off in the comments, and don’t forget to Digg us (it really helps our little site a lot if you can take the time to Digg it)!!


20 Responses to iPad – One Tablet To Rule Them All

  1. rasterbator says:

    A nice idea. One problem with your home example… If Mom is using an iPad on the couch to read the paper, and Dad is using an iPad to try a new recipe, how can they both be logged into the SAME machine at the same time, viewing different files an dusing different apps? ARD does not have this ability. You cannot remote access two different users on the same machine.

    If Apple did have some sort of technology that, when a user is accessing remotely, the main machine is locked for that user, but other users could use the main system or access other users at the same time, I would be first in line.

    This would be like a home ARD server with as many wireless dumb terminals (with multi-touch or stylus) as you could utilize and still not burn up the main system’s processing power. So each adult and kid could have one of these iPads, and all be accessing the home ARD server (which is what it would be), a system that is probalby running with much more processing power than the typical home computer, more like a quad dual core xeon I think.

  2. Erix says:

    Gr8 idea but i dont see someone putting up the cash for a capable mac that can run smoothly with 3 users loged on which would cost 1700$and then go buy a 500$ iPad

  3. SAS (Special Apple Service) says:

    Well, I think it would be possible and really frick’n cool.

    But really, the question is why? Ultimately I think the iPad would have severe limited success in homes already outfitted with TV’s, laptops, and desktops. So in taking the thinking further, I think Apple should release their “iLife” line. “iLife” moves from being software to a physical line of hardware outfitted with proprietary software. The iPad is one product in the line up, as is a proper AppleTV/iMac morphed server. The cost of a basic system with the iServe and two 13” iPads will be roughly $2000. And the iLife suite will do media, entertainment, communications, productivity, and management of life’s needs all within the home environment.

    Microsoft and Dell will be close behind with their stuff and Sony will enter in partnership with someone like Toshiba or LG. New players like Harman Kardon and Motorola will attempt entry, but be blown away. And China will knock-off everyone and win biggest.

    Now who’s smoking something?

  4. Rickster says:

    Dude, imagine the iPad with the AppleTV and a few AirportExpresses kickin’ BluRay around your house to your 50″ plasma, your 30″ MacPro screen and your kid’s 24″ iMac… video in full HD on all your displays…all controlled with the touch screen

    Talk about a super-remote controll!

  5. MacPilot says:

    I would buy every inch of that. Bring it on Steve……

  6. zeromagik says:

    the way to have two users logged into one computer is through concurrent sessions, windows uses this for xbox 360, problem is it never worked really any good. now apple on the other hand my fingers are crossed for the ipad, it set my future thoughts to overload.

    on this subject of ipad could i just say im hopin ive been putting two and two together recently in the correct way, please check out these links, i really do think 2007 is gonna be big –


    notice the keyboard touch screen.

    and this link-


    dont think of buttons in a physical sense, but changable touch screen views like the iphone does, application dependent input method.

    so too me where is this goin (hopefully), well im sure weve all read about the touchscreen remote with changable display dependent on what apple equipment it senses in the room. so normal mode its the ipad basically a larger iphone without the phone, senses tv, ipod hifi, laptop etc and allows you to control them what about the supposed apple monitor with built in isgiht rumors.

    How about a large apple display monitor with i sight built in, connected to tv controlled by ipad. with off sight storage using new airport express airdisk, (computer monitor w/webcam, mac mini and bluetooth keyboard and mouse, with nas server, this is a current world example of what im trying to get at)

  7. Enki says:

    Looks like someone read my post over at AppleNova from almost a year ago! Almost to a “T”, price and all! Thanks for the vote of confidence guys!!!


  8. JohnNull says:

    This really would be just an updated Mira device. I certainly would not call that ‘Apple’ innovation. It would do exactly the same thing, it just has a faster wifi network than was readily available when the Mira launched. I’m not sure if ARD is up to the task or not, but RDP definitely is. Modified RDP is currently used by MCE extenders such as the Xbox 360. These extenders are streaming pretty decent video quality over readily available 802.11G.

    You listed most of the reasons Mira failed. Cost was certainly a big deal. 802.11b, maybe not so much. I have used several older, slower web pad devices over 802.11b. For general web surfing, (90% user case), the performance over RDP is acceptable. Another reason was that these expensive devices were only 800×600! How lame. I think the lack of multi-user capabilities in XP was the number one (visible) issue however. When they were previewing Mira, Balmer promised a 2 user version of XP to go along with it. They even had promo video showing a Dad and a kid fighting for the same machine, and one of them just grabs the mira monitor and walks off – problem solved. But MS never delivered on that 2 user promise. What good is it to pick up your secondary monitor and roam if no one else can use the machine you left behind. For the money you would have been better off with a laptop.

    Understand that the Windows kernel is the same for all versions of XP from home to server. They are only tuned differently. They are all inherently multi-user. XP is limited to one simultaneous user purely for marketing reasons. Internally (to MS), XP can be tweaked to run more than one user. Externally (in the wild) it has been hacked to do so more than once.

    The real (invisible) problem at the core, is the same as with other failed MS products – lack of top level management support. Sometimes it’s due to in-fighting between high level managers over their pet projects. Sometimes two projects have significant overlapping capabilities (like the Mira and the Tablet PC perhaps?) and management doesn’t have the balls to make a hard decision not to release one of them. Products that do not get the ‘most’ love at the top, simply don’t succeed. If they were really serious about Mira, they would have never let it go to market the way they did. They would have fixed the multil-user issues, tightened the hardware specs for 3rd parties and dictated a more reasonable target street price.

    To me this represents one of the biggest differences between Apple and Microsoft. Apple would not release something like this until all the product factors came together – available technology, design, OS changes, cost, and optimal marketing conditions. Microsoft on the other hand will just spray half-baked products into the wild and see what sticks. They’ll do this even if most of upper management knows in their gut that the product is not ready. If a product doesn’t die right away, then they just rev it until it takes off, (by version 3.0 usually).

    Thet’s my two cents anyway.

  9. […] about the potential of combining the oft-rumoured Apple Tablet (which they dub, unsurprisingly, the iPad) and the new 802.11n networking standard. They suggest the iPad could be used to remotely access […]

  10. Harold says:

    Heady stuff. Although I am not privy to the geekier side of things I do feel that some kind of “pad” is on the horizon. George Eastman said he would photography as easy as the pencil. It will interesting to see if Apple can do that with the “computer” I started with pencil and paper in pre calculator days and evolved with the technology. For high end design applications it would be great if we could get back to the simple metaphor of pencil [finger, whatever]. The mouse is not a great drawing device and the wacom tablet is too disconnected. Stay Tuned….

  11. Ethan says:

    Oh my god we can only hope!

    I was skeptical when you first started introducing this idea, but all of the scenarios you described make sense. And, although it would be a hugely different idea that would take some getting used to for most people, I think this is definitely a viable model for many users / families.

  12. zeromagik says:

    anyone else noticed the trend in apple to use released products to get us the consumer used to products that are future releases, examples from me include – ipod shuffle that became the apple remote, ipod fm radio remote which became the 2nd gen ipod shuffle, mac mini = apple tv, ipod nano/ 5g ipod – iphone, ipod universal dock = ipod hifi, apple airport express/ ipod hifi = next gen apple wifi speaker system, the next one for me is imac which is getting us ready for apple tv screens.

    for me these have all been design innovations to get us used to the visual aspect of entertainment devices.

    last point ive never noticed this with other devices but people seem to be able to figure out what they want apple products to do for them, when a product is announced people can seem to think ahh right so it does that, so i can use it this way which means i can get rid of this and that and have a much better experience, i have to say that the apple lifestyle although can be expensive makes life just more enjoyable.

  13. MacTipper says:

    This sound great! IF it is true, I would love one of these! I like the idea of the “poolside computer” and the idea of multiple monitors. Figure $1200 for a new macbook and $500 for an iPad, that’s *only* $1700. I would love to get one of these.

    However, the only problem I see with it is that you would need to have a newer mac that has 802.11n. 😦 Which means my iBook G4 would be useless with one.

  14. MacHelp says:

    The iPhone has now arrived. The technology is solid. I used one this week and I knew… this was just the beginning.

    Now, every piece of the technology is in place. The MultiTouch GUI, wireless networks fast enough to support remote connections. Inexpensive and powerful enough iMacs which allow multiple simultaneous user logins, built in handwriting recognition if you care for it… it’s perfect.

    Jobs has always said he would not build a tablet computer and the iPad is not a tablet computer. I see the iPad as more of a smart terminal, possibly even using a consumer version of NetBoot running on an iMac if you need to “log in” to your home “main frame”. (Remember the Macworld keynote that Jobs booted that rack of about 50 iMacs without drives through NetBoot?)

    Many of the things you would do with your iPad would not even require high overhead from a host system because you would be going directly to the internet for a lot of your stuff and iTunes already streams just fine both video and audio.

    Every member of the family will need one, existing systems can support them and it would sell a LOT of new Macs as people begin to realize that this is how it should have worked all along. Seamless, beautiful, elegant and very cool.

    It will change the way we use the personal computer. We will no longer need the tether of a keyboard and mouse to participate in great discussions like these, watch video tutorials, browse the web, read the news and so much more.

    The day is coming.

  15. Famous Inventors

    Famous Inventors

  16. Invision says:

    Although such a device did not get unveiled at this year’s MacWorld, (2008), it is of course technology feasible and marketable. Although capability to interface wirelessly to local servers and desktop systems would open another erea of usefulness to the business world, the more marketable scenario is a webpad device using the internets and intranets. A device little more than an oversize iTouch (8”x10” touch screen) at a cost of around $100 more than the iTouch ($400) could open the evolution of the computer industry in user interactivity. We could read books or magazines while listening to our play-lists, surf the web, chat on line, play games, watch videos or movies, or maybe experience movies and documentaries together in any room but from a perspective our choosing. If there were web subscriptions for common business software applications, a lot of work could also be done or at least reviewed with these devices. I can see having 2 or 3 an using them as multiple screens/input devices like I now do with books an papers. I like this future.

  17. Brian says:

    If it could work independently as a tablet computer with filemaker pro loaded and maybe some finger sketching software, it would be an ideal on site documentation tool. Laptops need a table or a lap to use. Too many of us run around in the field taking notes on yellow pads that have to be rewritten later. I have the iPhone and it just wet my appetite. I would equip all of my field team with them. C’mon Steve, bring on the revolution.

  18. VerifyMe says:

    Yeah, I was just thinking that it was a good idea sitting here with my Wacom tablet connected to my laptop, wirelesly connected to my computer streaming iTunes. I Googled iPad wondering if any had registered the domain… like Apple does with all of its R&D projects. Good thoughts…

    You’ve been Stumbled!

  19. Spencer B. says:

    I think the reason a lot of the previous attempts at these types of devices have failed (I also remember a botched Sony device from about eight years ago) is they all try to do too much and wind up compromised on everything. Apple have consistently proved that when it comes to making technology work properly, ‘It’s The Interface, Stupid’. From Mac classic to iPhone, it’s been the interface that differentiates Apple products from the competition.

    I do think there should be an iPad but I think it should start with just a few basic functions, the main one being to replace the mouse. I used to really dislike trackpads until I bought a MacBook Air and an iPod Touch. Multi-touch and gestures makes my desktop mouse seem inadequate.

    If Apple made a beautiful, slim aluminium framed touch screen that butted up right next to my bluetooth Apple keyboard, I’d buy one like a shot. With user configurable icons, gestures and multi-touch, the mouse would be history and so would my RSI.

    The real beauty of this though would be to lock-in all the non-Mac users who own iPhones and iPod touches into OSX and Apple’s computer products. That’s a winning strategy. Once they have the product to market, later upgrades and versions would offer everything from websurfing, email and eBook reading to portable video conferencing. But first, make it simple, elegant and with a killer interface that makes it a real object of desire.

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