The Tablet is almost here!
David Carr at NYT:
This Wednesday, Steven P. Jobs will step to the stage at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco and unveil a shiny new machine that may or may not change the world.
In the magician’s world, that’s called “the reveal.”
And the most magical part? Even as the media and technology worlds have anticipated this announcement for months, Apple has said not word one about The Device. Reporting on the announcement has become crowdsourced, with thousands of tech and media journalists scrambling for the latest wisp and building on the reporting of others.
However miraculous the thingamajig turns out to be — all rumors point to some kind of tabletlike device — it can’t be more remarkable than the control that Apple and Mr. Jobs have over their audience.
“The reason that we all write about Apple is because we are, of course, interested, but also because everybody likes to read about Apple,” said Matt Buchanan, a contributing editor at the technology site Gizmodo. “Even if they hate Apple.”
Joel Evans at ZDNet:
To be clear, I’ve been doing an informal survey of consumers, including friends and random people that know me as an early adopter. According to my survey, people want the Tablet because it will do everything. This goes along with what also gets me excited about the soon to be released Kindle Development Kit, since the kit will allow the Kindle to be a lot more than an ebook reader.
Building on the point that the Apple tablet will do everything, the consumers I spoke with were excited about reading websites, playing games, sending and receiving e-mails, watching TV, and whatever else Apple offers up as an option on the Apple tablet. And if the report posted by Flurry is to be believed, this new Apple tablet will definitely play games, and is being tested with more than 150 of them.
The results of my informal survey seem to go against my earlier thought that consumers wouldn’t want to add another piece of technology into their lives. Instead, it seems that they are ready to embrace this new technology as long as it does everything they can think of.
From the early days of the Palm and Pocket PC devices, one complaint I heard time and again was that the form factor was just too small for extended use. This was either because your eyes would be fatigued after a certain amount of time or that a certain age group would have trouble both reading the screen and manipulating the tiny stylus. Now we have manufacturers working hard to bring a tablet into everyone’s hands, and they’re finally the size that everyone can enjoy.
As with most technology, the concept of the tablet is nothing new, but with consumers now using their phones for just about anything you can think of, the time is finally right for a device like the tablet to enter into everyone’s home.
Matt Buchanan at Gizmodo:
The Apple tablet is almost here. We hear. Actually, we’re hearing a whole lot lately. With this exhaustive guide to every tablet rumor, we’ve got the clearest picture of the Apple tablet yet. Updated constantly.
1/25/2010: 9to5Mac claims to have talked to some publishers who have the scoop on the tablet, and they say the cost will be “[nowhere] near $1000, as has been reported elsewhere.”
1/25/2010: The LA Times reports that the NY Times has been cooped up in Cupertino for the last few weeks developing a version of its paper for the tablet. The article also has a quote from a Conde Nast press release in which the publishing giant just comes out and says it: they will develop “more content for the iPhone and the anticipated tablet from Apple.”
1/25/2010: Tech Crunch heard through the grape vine that Steve Jobs said of the tablet, “This will be the most important thing I’ve ever done.”
1/22/2010: Fox News’ Clayton Morris has heard Apple’s “in talks” with both Verizon and AT&T to provide data for the tablet.
1/22/2010: iLounge has a an oddball that they’ve “double-confirmed”: Double dock connectors, so it can be charged in both portrait and landscape mode. Making more sense, a tablet-wide plastic stripe for decent connectivity (plausible),
1/21/2010: A truckload from the WSJ: Apple “envisions that the tablet can be shared by multiple family members to read news and check email in homes,” and has experimented with facial recognition through a built-in camera, along with virtual sticky notes that can be left behind. Also backing up our earlier report, the WSJ Apple’s in discussions with newspaper, mag book publishers like the NYT, Conde Nast and Harper Collins, and has “exploring electronic-textbook technology.” EA is apparently on tap to demo video games for it.
Also curious: The WSJ says Steve Jobs is “supportive of the old guard and [he] looks to help them by giving them new forms of distribution,” referring to old media companies, which echoes a quote in the NYT that in the battle over ebook pricing with Amazon, apparently “Apple has put an offer together that helps publishers and, by extension, authors.”
Kirk McElhearn at PC World:
Apple’s tablet (and the copycats that will follow it) will be a game-changer, just as the iPod and iPhone have been. Because of Apple’s aura, this tablet will get more attention than the plethora of e-book readers we have seen recently. And I’m betting that Apple will get it right, as far as features, interface and usability are concerned. It will also be an excellent tool for reading the news. Newspapers and magazines will be able to package their content in multimedia bundles (either as apps or something similar to the iTunes LP) that will be designed for reading on a portable screen; this won’t simply be web pages viewed on a smaller screen.
The key to hardware being successful is the software that supports it. One of the main advantages to Apple’s tablet, as far as the press is concerned, is the iTunes Store. Since Apple already has this platform to sell and deliver that content, even on a subscription basis, readers will be able to easily buy their favorite newspapers and magazines and get them delivered instantly. They’ll be cheaper than the print versions, and they’ll be a lot greener too. And the iTunes Store will be able to provide a better selection than readers can find by going to individual Websites. Whether by subscription or by single issue, it’ll be extremely simple to buy newspapers and magazines to read on the Apple tablet.
This change won’t happen overnight. Apple’s tablet will probably be priced so that only the most tech-lusting among us will run out and buy version 1.0. But it will be a bellwether for the future of such devices and how they will change print media. New publishing experiments will be part of the attraction for this new device, and, in the near future, most major newspapers and magazines will offer tablet versions. And with them, a return to being able to provide the news we need.
Daniel Dumas at Wired:
We’ve taken a lot of time to track down the rumors, innuendo and even a few sparse facts about the device since the first whispers of its existence some two and a half years ago.
But now we’re going in a separate direction. Admittedly the five features below are are a little crazy — but their inclusion in the tablet would make it a whole lot more fun. Hey, a gadget journalist can dream, right?1. Wireless Power TransferPower management will undoubtedly be a huge problem with a touch-enabled color screen device (it already is with the iPhone). But what if you never had to worry about charging it up? Imagine this: The tablet comes with a peripheral that looks a lot like an Airport Express. You plug it to an outlet and it pumps wireless electrical pulses that are gobbled up by the power-hungry device.
Why it’s a pipe dream: Wireless power is still in its infancy. Researchers have figured out how to wirelessly transmit electricity by converting it into magnetic waves, but with only enough wattage to power a light bulb. That, and people already freak out about living underneath power lines.
2. Flexible OLED Screen What if you could roll up the tablet and put it in the back of your pocket like a magazine or a newspaper? It would certainly make the digital transition from the analog devices it’s poised to replace a lot easier. And it’s real, too. A widely viewed YouTube clip shows a bendable OLED prototype from Sony labs, and there’s an outside chance that a high-end version of the Apple tablet will include OLED technology.
Why it’s a pipe dream: Prohibitive cost and size. The largest OLED device on the market, Sony’s XEL-1, is 11 inches across and costs $2,500. That’s 227 bucks per inch and it’s not even flexible. In fact, there are no flexible OLEDs in commercial use at all.
3. Price: $0.00
Here’s the idea: Apple CEO Steve Jobs reads Wired editor in chief Chris Anderson’s book Free and has an epiphany. Jobs decides you can have the tablet for little or no upfront cost provided you sign up for a one- or two-year contract and pay a certain monthly fee for content to be beamed to the device. Just like a cellphone contract, the money you pay over the course of a contract makes up for the discount you receive on the hardware.
Why it’s a pipe dream: When was the last time Apple offered anything for free, besides truckloads of reality-distorting hype at its press conferences?
UPDATE: Of course, now we know it is the iPad.
John Hudson at The Atlantic
UPDATE #2: Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing
Roger Simon at Pajamas Media
Joel Evans at ZDNet
UPDATE #3: Allah Pundit
David Frum at CNN
Darren Murph at Engadget