The Gadgets Page

January 26, 2010

Apple Tablet Predictions

Filed under: eBook Readers and Peripherals,Laptops,PDAs and Phones — Michael Moncur @ 10:00 am

Apple has a special announcement planned for this Wednesday, January 27th, and the rumors are that they will release a tablet device of some sort. At these times it is customary for gadget blogs to make fools of themselves by predicting what Apple will announce, so here’s my attempt.

  • The tablet will run iPhone OS, and will essentially be a giant iPod Touch. Probably with more memory than the current iPhones and Touches, but no hard drive.
  • Steve Jobs will focus on three areas of use for the new device: reading books, watching videos, and running any app from the existing App Store. He’ll show off some new games that use the full screen.
  • The tablet will cost $1000 and every single technology blog and media outlet will complain about this, saying that netbooks are cheaper, that you can buy a “real” computer for the same price, and that Apple won’t sell many tablets. They’ll be hilariously wrong.
  • There will be no keyboard, and initially no external one to attach. The virtual keyboard will resemble the iPhone’s. Everyone will complain about this, but Apple won’t care because they designed the device primarily for consuming media, not creating it.
  • It will have a backlit color LCD screen (probably 10″). Steve will make fun of e-ink devices on stage.
  • A new iPhone OS and SDK will be announced, and support for the tablet’s big screen will be the biggest change. They might also support multitasking, since running multiple iPhone-sized apps on the tablet’s big screen makes sense.
  • Apple will announce deals with publishers for e-books. I suspect they’ll emphasize newspapers, magazines, and college textbooks. The New York Times will be shown as an example, followed by a novel with an embedded video interview with the author to show off how much better it is than a Kindle.
  • I wouldn’t be surprised if the “regular” book support comes from a licensing agreement with Amazon. You might think the Kindle is the tablet’s competition, but I think Amazon wants to sell books, not hardware platforms.
  • I think cell-phone data access will be built in. I hope it’s optional and doesn’t cost $30 a month.
  • The name: When Apple changed their baseline notebook computer’s name from “iBook” to “Macbook”, my theory at the time was that they wanted to eventually use “iBook” for an e-book reader. While I doubt the tablet will be just for reading books, I still think “iBook” is a great name for it, and it will fit their new naming scheme: the Macbook runs MacOS and the iBook runs the iPhone OS.

Please note that my predictions are not based on “confidential sources”. I just made them up, and most of them are probably wrong. But whatever the outcome, I hope Apple does something insanely great.

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