MacRumors asks What is the Ultimate Role of the Apple Tablet? There is a nice warm debate questioning what need the Apple Tablet will fill.
I think the Apple Tablet brings the iPhone experience to a computer/device with a bigger screen.
Marshall McLuhan said “The Medium is the Message” in a similar vein of thought might I suggest that The App is the Device?
On the iPhone/Touch the App is king. This is thanks to the complete lack of ‘Computer Adminstrative Debris’ as Edward Tufte put it, allowing the device to be one with what the user is thinking and wanting to do. A bigger screen allows more information and interaction.
Another equally important thing that make the iPhone experience special is that all the apps are sandboxed. ‘Sandboxing is a good thing?’ you ask, Yes it is. It is like having a web app experience without the lousy browser. The sandbox acts as a way to protect YOUR device from bad apps much like the browsers (IE being the exception) protect you from poor or malicious websites. The website has some access to your computer but only as much as you want or the browser allows.
I have developed and continue to develop web apps and native Mac/iPhone apps. Web apps are YEARS behind desktop apps and continue to fall farther behind because desktop OSes, especially Mac OS X, are not standing still. Web apps still suck and the failed promise of Develop Once and Release to All Platforms is nowhere in sight. You need only visit browsershots and see how many flavors of browsers you have to support to see my point....but I digress.
So will the Apple Tablet fill a need or have an ultimate role? Yes and I think the timing is right. Apple has the AppStore, the OS, the developers, and the technology/design to make the Tablet as beautiful and as useful as my iPhone.