What does the Apple iPad need to become a viable replacement for your laptop?
- multi-tasking user interface (fast application switching)
- usb port (and support for more external devices like printers etc.)
- and what’s going be by far the biggest challenge for apple: it shouldn’t be an external device to plug in your computer to sync, but it should be a computer on its own, equal to and not subordinated to your main computer. and all your data should be able to sync over the cloud with whatever there is
I sincerely hope (and believe) that Apple is thinking of replacing the mouse/keyboard computers with this platform. Not trying to move the PC forward step by step, but instead starting with the current iPad (which is solely a giant iPhone) and then slowly pushing its capabilities to gradually replace PCs while consumer adoption and the third-party ecosystem of applications is growing with the iPad hardware and software platform. Because Apple want this to happen as quickly as possible they priced the iPad rather low and are willing to take a smaller profit margin.
For this, bigger models (more like a 24” iMac) and probably a virtualized legacy mode with support for a mouse to run old mac/windows applications are eventually needed. Although most private consumers might not care, to get this really going I think it is inevitable for Apple to open up the platform a bit and remove that nasty DRM and let people install their own apps not bought on the appstore.
Here is hoping.