TechSpot: The most popular computing device has yet to be invented, the 15-inch tablet

I've wanted to write this for some time, but hadn't because there was no solid data to back-up my assertions. I do now. This is about why I believe the future of tablets (and by extension, computing) is 15-inches in display size, perhaps even 17-inches.

Let's start with the origins of the modern tablet. The original iPad played such a strong role in shaping our perception of what a tablet should be, including a 9.7-inch display that we think of standard today. Apple arrived at that size because 9.7-inches was ideal given technology's constraints at the time like weight, battery life and cost; It was the right size for 2010.

The iPad was never designed to be used primarily with one hand, unlike "mini" tablets of today. As Jobs demonstrated in his keynote, the iPad was meant to be used on the lap; or held with two hands; and only occasionally holding with one hand so the other can perform an action.

Read: The most popular computing device has yet to be invented, the 15-inch tablet

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29 Comments

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horsepower (or lack thereof) is my real hold up on completing ditching one for the other, thats just me though.

these convertible laptops have the right idea, they just have to get a bit slimmer and lighter is all... the sp3 comes really close to fitting the bill, especially with all the newer "streaming" tech for games and such; me being a gamer.

come to think of it, now i want an sp3 ugh.

I am quite happy with my Surface Pro 3 and it's 12" screen size. At 15", I think it would be a difficult to use as a tablet.

I had the original Surface Pro as well as a 15" MacBook Pro and I wanted the SP to be bigger. With the release of the SP3, I sold my MacBook Pro because the new screen size works perfectly.

If anything, I think that the optimal screen size may be around 12-13" as I now find 15" laptops to be too big even though they allow more horsepower. In fact, given the choice to get a 15" versus 13" rMBP at work, I am choosing the high end 13" model even though the 15" gives a better processor (quad core) and double the RAM by default. Two of my friends made the same decision with size being the deciding factor (none of us needed a discrete graphics card).

There is no way that the optimal size is around 17". Laptops have quickly gotten away from that size because users stopped buying them. As such, the likelihood that something they have to hold will be that size seems extremely low to me. With that said, I do see a place for 15" tablets as "couch tablets", but 17" seems to be a bit of a stretch (pun intended).

I don't think we'd see 15" become the standard, most popular form factor, but I think it has a place in the market. It would be great for couch web surfing or putting up on a stand in the kitchen or bathroom to play video, etc.

This Apple-oriented, one ideal size/form factor for everyone is silly.

LoL.. Apple-heads seem to think that designing a product with a larger screen is 'inventing' it..

All he is saying really is that he thinks Apple should do a 15" version of the iPad which really is the complete nonsense as iOS is not designed or capable of scaling up to that size. It's designed for >4" screens and needs a lot of trickery and marketing hype to appear functional on an iPad really.

Sharp announced a 15.6 inch Windows 8.1 tablet back in January, not sure if it launched yet but it has a 3K display and the model is RW-16G1

pack34 said,
Why not just buy a laptop like a Yoga? where the keyboard just folds behind.

Boom 15 inch tablet... today

Keyboard + screen is too thick, personally. I prefer the detachable form-factor

Well first point being there was 15" tablets years ago
http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2...ga-android-tablet-incoming/

Secondly the article seems to ignore key differences between its original comparison and a tablet the premise just doesn't work when you factor in the current state of devices and the feedback users are giving around some of the options out there in the market. Id almost be tempted to say this article is clickbait and damn it worked.

IMO the size of the SP3 is already to large to be held comfortably as a tablet not to mention the weight. While I did like the extra screen size for web browsing it just felt uncomfortable at that size to use for long periods of time.

Ashpian said,
IMO the size of the SP3 is already to large to be held comfortably as a tablet not to mention the weight. While I did like the extra screen size for web browsing it just felt uncomfortable at that size to use for long periods of time.

It's 1.7 pounds and about the size of a pad of paper... granted everyone has their own preferences, but in most cases I can't see where either of those should be a problem.

fusi0n said,
and people make fun of the iPhone for getting bigger.. lmfao

People make/poke fun at the iPhone for getting bigger because apple like to say things like "this is the perfect size", then they themselves are increasing it.

Most people realize there are different needs for different folks. The way I generally use my surface pro today for instance a 15 inch tablet could be used just as well.

Corey C said,

People make/poke fun at the iPhone for getting bigger because apple like to say things like "this is the perfect size", then they themselves are increasing it.

First of all, I really haven't seen anyone say such a thing, other than you. I suspect the poking fun of has more to do with the individual's insecurities than Apple. That is usually what it comes back to, anyway.

Apple and their hordes have gone on and on repeatedly about how the iPhone is perfect because you can use it one-handed. Turns out, people prefer to sacrifice a little on one-handed use in exchange for more screen real estate.

Shadrack said,

First of all, I really haven't seen anyone say such a thing, other than you. I suspect the poking fun of has more to do with the individual's insecurities than Apple. That is usually what it comes back to, anyway.

If you haven't seen it, then I would guess you don't follow forums a lot. I remember lots of talk from iFans when the larger screen phones originally came out, granted it's died down a lot in the past year or so.

Technically, the Surface Pro is very close to become this large size tablet (or "lablet").

Meanwhile, although the article has valid points about the 15" size popularity for laptops, it seems to ignore the difference between the two computing devices. Laptops are more associated to work related computing where tablets are associated with casual computing.

This difference is the key. I doubt a 15" tablet would sell like hot cakes. It cannot be easily transported and it would be a lot more expensive.

There's a reason why the most successful sizes are between 7" and 10". Price being an important one.

I am not sure 15-17 inches is the right size, but I have to admit, I find myself wanting more than a 10 or 11 inch screen size for a tablet... 12-15 I think is the right size though =). Somewhere in there...

And then, a 2nd most popular device - a case with a keyboard. I thought that humanity wouldn't invent anything even less comfortable / ergonomic than a laptop!

Well, Dell's got one: the XPS 18, which you might've guessed is a 18" "tablet". And Panasonic has that 20" Toughpad 4K. Also, Sony's got the Vaio Tap 20. I'm waiting for thinner versions of these. I the mean time, I'll just get a Surface Pro 3 :)

warwagon said,
The whole point of a tablet is portability. Once I get to 15 inches I might as well carry a laptop.

Points only apply to current generations and paradigms.

The "whole point" of today's tablets is portability. And the "whole point" of yesterday's mobile phones was phone calls.

Whole points change.

warwagon said,
The whole point of a tablet is portability. Once I get to 15 inches I might as well carry a laptop.

I think there is a fairly large market who would like a "laptop" sized computing device with no keyboard. =).

Scabrat said,

I think there is a fairly large market who would like a "laptop" sized computing device with no keyboard. =).

Yes I agree. I personally find I would like to have a larger tablet for around the house that could be even mounted on the kitchen wall and display a calendar, other messages, skype (ie Windows 8) but be able to quickly be unmounted for other uses around the house.

Oh-man, a magnetic one that I could slap onto the fridge when I'm cooking. I could even do some silly things like put up some art that has a sheet metal back in my bedroom. When I want to watch movies, could just slap my magnetic backed tablet onto the picture frame. Could use that same technique for anyplace in my home or office to make it hands free pretty conveniently.

IT@Whitney said,

Yes I agree. I personally find I would like to have a larger tablet for around the house that could be even mounted on the kitchen wall and display a calendar, other messages, skype (ie Windows 8) but be able to quickly be unmounted for other uses around the house.

That would be brilliant! =D

warwagon said,
The whole point of a tablet is portability. Once I get to 15 inches I might as well carry a laptop.

The Surface Pro 3 is a perfect example of a laptop in a tablet form factor that is just as light or lighter than most laptops. Tablets will sell more than laptops in the future.

A 15" version of the Dell Venue Pro 11 would be awesome, especially if they upgraded the Stylus with support like that on the Surface Pro3. BTW... a 13" version is coming in October which I will get in the mean time.