Monday, January 25, 2010

Concept videos guide new products like the Apple tablet

The long rumored Apple tablet computer is expected to be announced tomorrow.

People have high hopes for the Apple tablet, speculating about its features and applications like watching video, reading full color books with dynamic illustrations, and playing multi-player games.

We will know the details tomorrow (if it is announced), but we might get insight into the hardware, applications, and design goals from concept videos like this clip showing how one might one day read a magazine on a tablet.

Concept videos are similar to the futuristic concept cars displayed at auto shows. They offer a concrete, long run vision and provide general goals and direction.

Perhaps the most famous concept video was Apple's Knowledge Navigator, which was created in 1987, and foreshadowed networked communications in support of collaborative work. The future developments shown in these 1993 AT&T ads have pretty well been realized. Here's one on a possible future of the cell phone.

How much would you be willing to pay for content like movies, TV programs, books, periodicals and games downloaded to a tablet computer like the one shown above?

Which of today's applications and capabilities were predicted in the Knowledge Navigator video? Which are not in today's products?