Rumours have been circulating about Apple‘s soon-to-be-released product, tentatively called the Apple Tablet. A recent report claims the device will measure 10 inches diagonally – putting it somewhere between the pocket-sized iPhone and desktop iMac. There will be no mouse or external keyboard, and everything will be controlled through a touch screen. Apple is expected to release the Tablet by Jan. 19, 2010.
The image above is an artist’s rendering of the fabled Tablet, provided by Gizmodo.
So what is unique about it? Ars Technica reports that the device could serve as a digital replacement for printed books and magazines. But from the sounds of it, the latter has the most potential, especially considering Steve Job‘s opinion on e-readers. The NY Times, in “The Passion of Steve Jobs“, records the CEO saying, “It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore.”
Apple is interested in collaborating with magazines, offering a standardised platform for magazine purchase and consumption, with multi-media content like iTunes LP and iTunes Extra. Gizmodo reports that:
The eventual goal is to have publishers create hybridised content that draws from audio, video, interactive graphics in books, magazines and newspapers, where paper layouts would be static. And with release dates for Microsoft’s Courier set to be quite far away and Kindle stuck with relatively static e-ink, it appears that Apple is moving towards a pole position in distribution of this next-generation print content.
The magazine industry, much like of the printed book and newspaper, knows that it must go digital in order to survive. However, they’re being very careful not to let Apple call all of the shots, like it did with the music industry. Magazines are seeking to maintain control over pricing and customer information (valuable for advertising sales). Advertising Age, in “Magazine Industry Looks to Create ITunes for Print“, writes:
Music executives didn’t see much choice when Steve Jobs signed them up to sell songs and albums through iTunes, a newspaper executive recalled. “People put their hands out and let him put the handcuffs on them,” he said. “The same thing now is happening with the publishing industry. They are afraid to do anything, to say anything. At the same time, they’re saying, ‘Let’s see what other options we have.'”
Would you use this product? Do you think its a viable replacement for magazines? If the beauty of the iPhone is its convenient size, and the beauty of the iMac is its huge screen…what perks would the Tablet actually offer? No one is 100% sure that Apple will actually release this product…I guess they must be asking themselves these same questions.