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We Can Dream

January 25th, 2010

A new concept has been released by a Polish student showing a new take on the Apple tablet idea. The concept is certainly stunning, and I agree with commenters that it is a far more interesting mock-up than the standard ones proffered, which tend to simply be over-sized iPhones. Check it out:



The illustrations make it a bit hard to see the second, slide-out touchscreen LCD panel, but that’s what that is.


Now, I will be the first to admit that this is an incredibly cool concept, and like many of the fanboys out there currently raving about the design, I would like nothing more than to have something like this. However, there is one small hitch: the design is, by current standards, simply impossible to achieve.

The depth, for instance, is supposed to be only 7mm. Well, that’s nice, but the iPhone is currently 12.3 mm thick, and even the iPod Touch is 8.5 mm. Each LCD screen would have to be 3.5mm (roughly 1/8th of an inch) thick, have a sturdy enough back panel to protect a 10“ screen, and still somehow pack a computer inside there as well. Somehow I just don’t see that happening.

Furthermore, the designer decided to add a 1-Terabyte solid-state drive (SSD). A look at the only 1TB SSD I could find out there shows that this part alone requires a case 25mm thick; even spread out over a broader plane, the SSD alone would take up more space than the device would have. Not to mention that such an SSD would cost upwards of $3000, even if it could be crammed into the casing. That, the two LCDs, 4GB of RAM, and other impossibly small components would surely price this baby over $10,000 even if it were possible to make with current technology.

Now, there was one design element which was both interesting and possible with today’s technology, and would not break the bank:


The best word for this is perhaps ”cute.“ As for practical, that’s another matter. Maybe if the stand could tilt back a bit, it would be better; with such a small screen, so low to the desk, I imagine one would have to hunch down to see it well if it’s standing upright at 90 degrees. This also mostly negates the touchscreen, so it would be a less-than-perfect way to use the device. But the idea of sliding it into that little frame and it becomes a tiny iMac, there’s something almost irresistible about that. The charger-connector would have to be on the long edge of the tablet for this to work, but if it is and even if Apple doesn’t do this, I bet a third-party manufacturer could make some bucks selling a stand like that.

So, I’d have to give this guy an ”A“ for originality and coolness, but from a design perspective, especially if one must be constrained by realistic technological and cost restraints, this simply isn’t feasible.

Which brings me to a slightly different point: stuff like this isn’t helping. At least, it’s not helping Apple, nor is it helping those who want to be suitably impressed by what Apple comes out with this week. People see concepts like the one above and get impossibly high, pipe-dream expectations–and it just makes the actual device seem a lot less impressive, and unfairly so. Now, if people came out with more realistic designs, then that’s fair. For example, there have been a few iPhone design concepts for the ”4G“ model that could work, and may be cooler than what Apple comes out with. So, actual designs which don’t defy reality or break the bank, that’s a fair comparison which Apple should be expected to live up to. But to break the rules helps no one; I might as well imagine an Apple tablet with a 4 GHz, 16-core CPU with 32 GB of RAM and that terabyte SSD, with 3-D holographic displays in a 4-mm razor-sharp case made of unobtanium. Oh, and did I mention it’s a quantum computer? That would certainly be cool, but it’s also cheating–and to expect anything close to it would be pointlessly self-defeating.

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  1. Troy
    January 25th, 2010 at 13:57 | #1

    Actually if we go with the idea of an iPod Touch with a 10″ display, the increased lateral area means depth can be brought into the bare minimum required for structural integrity since there is plenty of space for everything without any 3D overlap.

    Plus SSD doesn’t have any moving parts — “solid state” — so can be reconfigured for thinness and not compatibility with existing laptop drive bays.

  2. Troy
    January 25th, 2010 at 13:59 | #2

    Also, I don’t see Apple designing a slide-out component unless they figure out a bullet-proof, rock-solid mechanism.

  3. Troy
    January 25th, 2010 at 14:48 | #3

    on more ‘oh yeah’: I’m hoping the port is on the long end of the tablet, just makes more sense for a device this size. One use I see is in-flight entertainment, a battery-pack/stand to put on the seat tray for watching movies.

    Plus the tablet makes a good “desk accessory” LOL.

  4. Leszek Cyfer
    January 25th, 2010 at 16:59 | #4

    The iPhone and iPod is thicker, but they also have less space – this bigger device although thinner would have total space for electronic and bateries larger than an iPhone has.

    Electronic elements today are very thin – if packed flat instead in layers it just might be possible to get to this thin. The trouble would be with batteries, but I think there are options to get for a multimilion Apple project budget.

    Who knows – Apple just might make that the next step.
    Or someone else before Apple…

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