Recently Marco Arment discussed the shift in smartphone design when the iPhone came along and wondered if the iPad would have the same effect on the budding tablet industry. As John Gruber has demonstrated, this seems to be the case: a tablet’s physical design is being defined solely by Apple.
While part of me is comfortable with this - the iPad’s aesthetic qualities are impeccable - I also lament the lack of innovation here. This is essentially a brand new category of device, and it’s a green field opportunity to make something that matters. Instead of coming up with something new and fresh, copying Apple once again seems to be The Way To Do It. What a shame.
I’m keeping an eye on Palm, though; their WebOS 2.0 preview looks impressive. Maybe they’ll choose to walk a different path when it comes to hardware, too.