Those of you following the rumors around tomorrow’s highly anticipated Mac Tablet unveiling are likely expecting an oversized iPod Touch, ideal for e-reading, videos and gaming. Consensus points to a device running a slightly modified iPhone OS, so current app store applications will find additional real estate.
There’s also been a rumor that iPhone SDK 4.0 will be released, finally introducing true background application functionality. This would bring the iPhone OS on-par with Android, overcoming iPhone’s current limitation of “a single app at a time”. This is important for a slew of powerful “agent” apps that would alert you to nearby friends and retail offers (a buck off your Frappuccino if your walk across the street now!).
Getting back to the title of this post, I’d like to suggest a more important reason for a background-application OS feature to launch alongside the tablet. If background applications are indeed supported, it’s not a big stretch to assume that multiple applications would be supported in the foreground. And that’s what I mean by the iPad having 2 screens, similar to the Microsoft Courier concept video you may have seen.
To visualize this, imagine turning your iPad 90 degrees into landscape mode and clicking a button causing a spiral bound to appear down the screen center. Open the Contacts app on the left side. Open the Map app on the right side. Drag a contact from the contact app into the map app and voila, you see where they live.
Another example – open Safari on the left side and bring up your favorite restaurant blog. Launch the Opentable app on the right side. Drag a restaurant name from Safari into Opentable, which lists reservation availability.
And there you have it, 2 screens delivered through software! Of course, I’d still like to shut my tablet like I do my moleskin notebooks. I guess we’ll have to wait until iPad 2.0 in 2011 for that!