The Wall Street Journal offers some details – it cites people “briefed by the company” who say Apple plans to ship the tablet in March, and that it will feature either a 10 or 11-inch touch screen. The paper also cites analysts who “currently believe” the machine will cost $1,000, which may include a Kindle-like built-in wireless plan.
Amazon’s original Kindle was released in November of 2007 and people were impressed. Those people were rightly impressed because it was an innovative piece of technology at the time. Shortly after the Kindle, a number of competing e-book reader products were released only barely to be acknowledged to even exist. I won’t mention any of them either. Netbooks flood the market, and their owners are typically underwhelmed by their performance. I’ve come to the realization that these are pieces of single-serving technology. What does the Kindle do without books? What does a netbook do without a network? Not much.
All the while Apple was building and perfecting a method for the distribution of digital goods. The iPhone changed the way people think about cellular phones and what they expect out of technology. The technology that Apple has brought to the market has created an expectation. All reports indicate that Apple is stepping up to the plate with a tablet computing device that could change things in the same way the iPhone changed cellular phones. iPhone wasn’t just a step ahead it was miles ahead, and the expectation is that anything Apple does must be similarly groundbreaking.
Apple now has a mountain of paying customers who are now quite invested in music and movies and are also overwhelmingly satisfied with their iPhone. Who can blame them? They’ve got a great user interface, a speedy mobile browser and an excellent content distribution system. To create the ultimate device in this ultra-mobile space all it would take is the addition of print-style media, books and magazines to fill the gap that exists in the content they offer. I have no idea if that’s what they’re going to attempt, but it seems reasonable.
I’m not sure anyone really knows what is going to be released, the usual Apple secrecy has people making wild predictions. The only thing I can count on is to expect the unexpected.
As an aside; if you are in the business of printing stuff on paper on a daily basis take the deal. Whatever it is, take it before they stop doing you the courtesy of even offering.