Link to Large version of Table
The chart above for the Apple Tablet, is NOT based on the mythical “unnamed source whom has always been right in the past” but rather is based on looking at available components and what has already been done with the iPhone 3GS and iPod Touch 3rd Gen. The following paragraphs go over each line in the chart and the reasoning for the specs shown. For those not familiar with my background – I spent 16 years in the electronics component industry as a Design Engineer, Engineering Manager, Product Manager, and VP of Sales and Marketing. One of the companies I worked for was a supplier to Apple as well as Motorola and Nokia.
Display: There has been a lot of rumors and speculation on the size of the display for the Tablet. Conventional wisdom / rumors have settled in on either “between 10 to 11 inches” (10.1” or 10.6”) or 7 inches (7.1”). Given in the past how conventional wisdom like this has proven to miss the mark almost every time – I am going in between the two sizes and that means the standard LCD size of 8.9 inches. I will take it one step further and say it is a TFT display not OLED – this due to cost considerations.
Screen Resolution: Assuming that Apple really wants to make the Tablet a world class video play back device – that means HD, which means 720p. The Toshiba LTD089EXWS fits the bill nicely with 1280 x 768 resolution making for 720p playback. No I don’t see them offering the 1080p resolution – I think price and power consumption issues will make the LTD089EXWS or another LCD with similar specs the best trade off.
Size: The Size of the display is going to be the biggest contributor to the size of the unit. If we go with the same amount of area above and below the screen per the iPod touch and just a little more size on the edge for ease of holding we come up with 256.4 x 137.3 mm for L x W. We will also assume that Steve dictated the Tablet be less than half an inch in thickness – so the 12.3 mm (0.48”) dimension of the 3GS makes sense for the tablet as well. The larger the volumetric area in the Tablet the more room for the custom battery.
Weight: This is simply taking the ratio of L x W of the 3GS and the speculated dimension of the Tablet and then applying that to the weight of the 3GS to come up with the weight of the Tablet. This works out to be 662 Grams or 1 pound and 7.3 ounces, which just so happens to come in under a believable 1 1/2 pound Steve requirement.
Battery: One component that 100% will not be off the shelf is the battery. Apple likes to maximize battery size by creating custom batteries that fit in all the empty space. Based on the size difference between the 3GS and the Tablet it is easy to see how they could get to the 5,700 mAh size. You can forget about the battery being removable – just look to the Mac Book, Mac Book Air, Mac Book Pro, 3GS and iPod Touch for a “hint” on what Apple thinks about removable batteries these days. Actually the 5,700 mAh is conservatively low. If they go with more of an iPhone 2G type case design they could easily fit in a 7,100 mAh battery.
Video Playback: 12 hours may actually be conservatively low on this. When you consider that the 13” Mac Book Pro has a battery size of 5450 mAh, which is smaller than the 5,700 mAh projected for the Tablet. Granted it also only offers 7 hours of life – but it has a lot larger LCD and more power hungry processor than would be needed for the tablet. But a 12 hour playback for Video / constant use – seems to be a nice marketing point and could be one of the initial design goals.
Storage: I only see them offering one version of the Tablet to start and that would be the 64 GB version. I put in an asterisk for this as once the new Toshiba 64 GB NAND modules are ready for full production in Late Q1 2010 – then Apple could switch to a 128 GB version. Again staying with just one offering. But right now with an either Feb or March launch of the Tablet – it does not look good for a 128 GB version. Most likely that would be in the June / July time frame. Now given Apples use and influence when it comes to NAND it is very possible Toshiba’s announcement of production availability is for everyone other than Apple and for Apple they are already in production mode – in which case the Tablet will be at 128 GB of storage goodness.
SD Slot: This one I bet Apple went back and forth on. I could see Steve rejecting this idea multiple times before coming to the reluctant agreement that people will use the Tablet different than a Touch or iPhone. It will be in many cases their primary computer and being able to import directly in your photos and movies – is a big plus for the end user. So at the end of the day I think a brave product manager will have won out and convinced Steve to add the SD slot. But not before two or three other “brave” product managers were fired for pushing their points.
Bluetooth Keyboard Support: Probably one of the last things added into the firmware / OS would be support for a Bluetooth keyboard. Going under the assumption there is an SD slot, this would show that Apple sees the Tablet as more of a netbook competitor than an iPod Touch replacement. Given that you can already use a Bluetooth keyboard with a jailbroken App for the 3GS and Touch – it is not a technical issue – this is a marketing / Steve issue. Of all the items on the list, this is the one I have the least confidence in.
OS: This time I am going with conventional wisdom and saying that the Tablet OS will be an enhanced version of the iPhone OS. This will allow for compatibility of iPhone apps, plus offer some special features for the larger screen of the Tablet. I do not see the Tablet running Mac OS X as I think the devices sweet spot is email, web surfing and rich media playback – you know all the things the iPhone OS does so well. Not Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, Garageband – you know all the things the OS X does so well.
Price: I know many are calling / hoping for a $500 to $700 device. I just don’t see that working economically for Apple. The $799 price is the lowest I could get to considering the price points currently for an unsubsidized 3GS and the added cost of the larger LCD with the better resolution. Anything less than $799 and the Bluetooth Keyboard support and SD slot go away. As then the device would be too full featured and could / would eat into sales of the Mac Book and Mac Book Pro.
Yes these predictions are a little different than those put forth by “unnamed sources” and analyst de jour. But the issue with the oft-quoted analysts that just have a degree in finance is they don’t know the difference between Ohms Law and Megan’s Law and that often shows in their predictions. That all said it will be fun to compare the chart above with the actual specs once the Apple Tablet is released.
Links Mentioned in this Episode:
Online Survey - PLEASE TAKE
AllThingsD - Analys - iPhone Sales in China Disappointing
PC World - Singapore's M1 to start selling the iPhone
Pepsi release iPhone App to help Men "Score" with women
Dev-Tem - Pwnage Pie - jailbreaking 3.1.2
ABC News - Is Pepsi's new iPhone App in poor taste
Mac Rumors - Apple developing FM radio App for iPhone
Apple Reports Quarterly results
Wired.com - False Alarm - New iPhone 3GS not jailbreak-proof
In-App Purchase is coming to free iPhone Apps
AllthingsD - Demand for iPhone exceeds supply
Youtube - iDon't Ad
Droid Does and iPhone with Jailbreak does too.
Podcasting News - ReelDirector brings real video editing to iPhone
TechCrunch - iPhone Charts
Redmond Pie - Enable Tethering on iPhone 3GS 3.1.2
NYTimes - Where's the Freight
Google Wave's already works on the iPhone
The iPhone Blog Forums - Windows 7 string
Marketwatch - Nokia suing Apple
ABC News - Pepsi Pulls iPhone App
iPhone 3GS taped to an RC Plane
Mac News - Apple is saving best for last
Wireless Week - Ballmer dismisses iPhone
CNN - How to learn a foreign language online
Destsche Welle - German Podcasts
iPhone Apps - How to download language lists onto iPhone
Sequia Capital invests in Bump Technologies
YouTube - iDon't Care
Apps and Software Mentioned in this Episode:
Vonage Mobile App
BeerCompass review by Sally at Travel by the Pint
When Apple made podcasting available on iTunes v4.9 back in the summer of 2005, Derek from Skepticality, myself and a few others tried to figure out Apple’s algorithm for ranking podcasts. Thanks to an early bug in iTunes where you could unsubscribe and re-subscribe it allowed us to pick a few obscure podcasts and drive them up in the rankings and then see how long it took for them to drop and at what rate. We were able to figure out that it was a seven day average with some weighted average put up front. When Apple added Apps to iTunes and had a top 100 ranking I figured they probably were using the same or similar algorithm for rankings. But to test my theory I needed an app in the app store and last month I was able to get the App for the Today in iPhone Podcast approved and in the App store. The following is a graph charting the daily sales of the App vs the Peak ranking during that day in the Paid Productivity category.
For a larger version click here
As expected the peak day for sales did not match up with the peak day for app ranking. I tried plotting a weighted average with a few different formulas until I came to one that matched up pretty well and is a very simple algorithm. I am of the belief that simple answers are usually the correct ones – Some barber from the 14th century first figured that out. The formula I found that matches up best to the movement of the Tii App in the rankings is:
With D1 being the number of sales in the past 24 hours, D2 being the number of sales from 25 to 48 hours ago and so on.
Granted you can’t prove this formula 100% as the actual rankings are also influenced by how well or not so well other apps around you are doing. In other words you could hold your sales steady for two weeks straight and still see your App move up and down in the rankings as other apps around you have fluctuations. That said when I plot the weighted average using the formula above vs. peak daily ranking you get the graph below:
For a larger version click here
As you can see it does match up pretty well. So why do all this? Well one thing I am a geek and I love doing things like this. But more importantly it tells you the importance of when you plan a PR / Marketing blitz for your app that you need to focus it almost all in a week’s period of time. Don’t plan on doing one thing this weekend and another the weekend after and a third the weekend after that. Yes on going PR / Marketing is important as well, but you really need to do the majority of your PR / Marketing blitz in the first few days after you say go. That is when you will get your best results for your efforts. Don’t get me wrong I am not saying don’t bother doing PR and marketing after the first week - just that if you have a few “big things” planned make sure they happen at the same time.
Questions / Comments are welcome below - Spam is not.
Links Mentioned in this Episode:
Business Insider - No new iPhone or Stever Jobs at Apples WWDC
TUAW - First Look at Sling Player
NYTimes - Unofficial Software Incurs Apple's Wrath
The AppleBlog - iPhone 3G Now comes directly from Apple to your door
Mashable - How much money does a Billion sold iPhone apps get you?
Business Insider - New iPhone could still come at WWDC
Houston Chronicle - Rapper Willie D charged in iPhone Scam
Gizmodo - How to Hack the iPhone to use Sling Player on 3G
TechCrunch - About those iPhone App Stor Revenue numbers
iFixit - iPhone 3G front Panel replacement
Phonearena - Project Charlie
AppleInsider - Apple Execs disclose options for boosting market share
MacRumors - New iPod Touch to get Camera?
iPhoneNews - iPhone 2009 Rumors
Intomobile - Apple Rumored to allow limited multi-tasking
Online Marketing Rant - How to Market iPhone Apps
Internetsafety.com - Kid Friendly Apps
BusinessInsider - Apple serious about background App support
The iPhone Blog - iPhone 3.0 Best and Hardware issues
AppleInsider - AT&T may introduce $20 limited iPhone data plan
CNET - iMeem's new iPhone app
TUAW - Developers invited to test iPhone 3.0 Push
Wired.com - Next Gen iPhone specs and launch date revealed?
WSJ - Palm Pre Monthly costs lower than the iPhone
AT&T confirms iPhone service plan reduction
Fortune - Gartner Reports iPhone market share doubled
Engadget - 32 GB iPhone placeholder appears at T-Mobile Austria
CRN - Palm Pre Shortage a marketing play?
Apple Vibration - Screen shots of Push notifications in 3.0
Gartner - Worldwide mobile phone sales Q1 2009
Apps Mentioned in this Episode:
Red Laser - Review
Tricker Three 3G - Jailbroken App
email n' Walk
This is Episode 79 of the Today in iPhone Podcast, please visit www.todayiniphone.com.
Links Mentioned in this Episode:
GigaOm - How To Make Money from iPhone Games
iPhone Dev Journal - Seven Steps to the iPhone Developers World
Computer World - iPhone 3.0 Preview
JK on the Run - T-mobile Germany Blocks skype
the iPhone blog - iPhone 09 possible features
PC Word - "Experts" predict multiple iPhone Models
Crunch gear - I want to install you like an Animal
Boy Genius - Exclusive iPhone 3.0 screen shoots
Official Gmail Blog - A new mobile Gmail experience
Changewave - iPhone has nothing to worry about from Pre
Ars Technica - Survey Teen iPhone ownership Up
Triangle Biz Journal - ACS adding 240 iPhone support Jobs
Apple - iTunes 1 Billion App Countdown
Wired - Easter eggs give clues to next gen iPhone
Mac Rumors - All time Top iPhone App Sales figures
Computer World - Forrester - iPhone corprate users Happier more productive
Fortune - Forrester Top 4 reasons IT should support the iPhone
Mobilecrunch - iPhone OS 3.0 Beta 3 is out
AT&T in Talks to extend iPhone deal to 2011
iPhone Atlas - iPhone WiFi failures caused by batter heat?
Mobilecrunch - iPhone OS 3.0 Beta 3 is jailbroken
ReadWriteWeb - MEDL Mobile - The AppIncubator iPhone App
Mac Rumors - iPhone 3.0 Beta Galleries Illustrat new Features
Phonenews - Apple Consolidating AV cables ahead of iPhone HD launch
Average Betty Podcast - Check it out!!!
Crunchdeals - Refurb 16GB iPhone for $150 from AT&T
Applications Mentioned in this Episode:
HT Professional Recorder