Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Apple to host event January 27, tablet expected



January 27 confirmed as Apple briefing day for latest creation
The rumours abound that the Apple announcement on the tablet/slate is just round the corner, with some press and analysts having been invited to a press launch on January 27th.

The reports sight the usual suspect - the Apple tablet/slate, with this story Reuters covering the ground succinctly.  And thanks to EJC for the heads-up on the Reuters story.
"Apple Inc will host a special event on January 27 where it is widely expected to unveil its tablet computer, as the company looks to extend its hot hand into a brand new product category. The event next week is shaping up as Apple's most eagerly anticipated product launch since the iPhone three years ago.
The company has never acknowledged the existence of the tablet, but rumors and speculation have been building for months. Although few details about the tablet are known for certain, the device is said to resemble a large version of the iPhone, with a roughly 10-inch touchscreen.

Analysts say such a device would try to bridge the gap between smart phones and laptops, allowing users to stream video, surf the Web and play games while on the go. Cost estimates on the tablet - which analysts expect to begin shipping in March or April - run upwards of USD 1,000.

Tablet computers have never managed to catch on with consumers, and industry watchers say Apple will have to offer a compelling reason to buy such a device.

If consumers do gravitate to the tablet, it could also propel Apple into the digital book market popularized by Amazon.com's Kindle e-reader, analysts say. (Reuters)"
Source - EJC - here
Why this interests me.
Apart from being a confirmed Mac guy [a comparatively recent conversion I might add]  this development interests me hugely for a bunch of reasons.  For this post I'll restrict myself to three.

First I'm intrigued by the proposed size and form factor. It feels like I will at last have a tool in my bag that genuinely gives me the internet ready to hand.

Secondly I have high hopes that we are entering the promised land of a readable e-book/ e-journal - e-zine device, with in-line links onto other sources. Also, and again there are a myriad of smart phones et al which claim the same territory,  I'm expecting a device which brings to life the promise of the always on network - or as others call it -  network nearness .

Thirdly, I'm interested in how far it will extend the innovation framework which the iTouch/iPhone application world has opened up.


Platform or net-book
All of this will of course depend on what is announced on the  27th January. Will it be a platform offer, or a response to the net-book, mini pc world of Asus  et al ?


By the platform offer, I mean  will it be a bigger iPhone/iTouch  with all the applications being provided by Apple, with third party contributions centrally controlled through the Apple store. And by extension, will there be changes to this model to encompass a myriad of applications and services based around paid subscription content.

By net- book I mean will the new device be an independent web device which can go anywhere - install anything - and be essentially on open web device, which, like the current open web, is a platform for all our imaginations as opposed to what comes from the likes of Steve JobsRupert Murdoch, or JStor. 

Web - and/or 3G
And then we have the network issue - whose  network will the device connect to - open wifi spots or locked in mobile plans from local 3G carriers,  with the content also packed onto the closed "mobile deck', where again subscription based services will be the norm as opposed to the current exception.

Naturally, none of the above is trying to say that on 27th January, Steve Jobs will confirm himself as the 21st successor to Ming the Merciless, by at a stroke defining  the content/service layer of of the always on internet in your bag.

But the 27th Jnauary is going to define something -  if nothing else - the size of of the Apple share price on the January 28th.

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