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Apple tablet may or may not exist

At 1:00PM EST.

Just to fan the hysteria a little.

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Bryan's picture
Submitted by Bryan on

It has the form factor of a steno pad instead of a legal pad, so you can't really do anything useful with it, but it matches your iPod and iPhone, and you can't really be cool if you don't have one because it is the newest and greatest thing, except for all of the other versions that have come out for the last several decades.

It has always escape me why Apple hates text. They have the worst keyboards on the planet, so the iPad continues this tradition.

Anglachel's picture
Submitted by Anglachel on

The iPad is a curious beast. It has to be seen in the context of recent news concerning the publishing industry, namely, its growing fear of Amazon.

They - book, magazine and newspaper publishers - are hoping that Apple will do for them what it did to undermine and derail Napster, which means corralling the digital genie in a paying bottle. The LA Times yesterday or the day before wrote that the New York Times has had a development team in Cupertino working to put NYT on the iPad. THink about how the Safari download page has the NYT as the feature web site right after download (with a picture of Obama's inauguration, no less). The site shown in the offical photos from the convention center prominently feature the paper. NYT has announced it will begin charging for content online. Where do you think its premium content will be available for "free" or possibly a reduced fee? My bets are on the iPad. Time Inc. is rumored to have a deal going to publish their magazine empire to the iPad format rather than create their own reader, and to tailor their premuim content for that venue.

McGraw-Hill let slip yesterday that they have been working with Apple to port textbooks to the iPad. This tells me that the big market for the iPad will be high end colleges, where students will be expected to buy a iPad to display their textbooks. It will be cheaper than a full computer, they still get music and media on the machine, they'll mostly schlep it around a campus in a backpack, and the textbook sellers can charge less than for hardbacks, yet still make money because what they undercut is the used textbook market. You can't resell these electronic books because they have to be downloaded - no room for storage. You have to buy one new with each edition. I can see some campuses not selling certain textbooks except in iPad digital format. Call it the gateway drug.

Other publishing houses are flocking to Apple, wanting to shore up their control over digital distribution.

Meanwhile, Amazon is cutting deals directly with authors and agents to publish books for lower prices but with higher royalties, which is terrifying the publishing houses. The Kindle is a rather impressive bit of hardware that is easy to read (bright, shiny color screens are not good for extended reading) and incredibly energy efficient. I'm not interested in one myself (I like analog books), but they do exactly what they are supposed to do extremely well.

With this move I also see something I haven't seen written anywhere, that Apple has ceded the corporate environment and most information production work. It is moving away from both software and (oddly enough) hardware to engage in media delivery. It is a consumer product in every sense of the word. What strikes me most about this product is the passivity of the user. There was Jobs on stage, sitting in a big leather chair, cradling this device, and doing nothing but poking at it with a finger. Demo after demo did very little but show the same pages of bright designs and a few minor applications.

I've been dealing with security and business processes a lot lately. I work day in, day out with people who create, review and modify massive amounts of data. You need a keyboard and a desk to do the kind of data work I design for. The iPad strikes me as highly inefficient for anything but consuming prepackaged stuff.

People who see this as some kind of head to head with Microsoft don't grasp the IT ecosystem at all.

Mostly, I think the iPad will be successful in its niches (particularly with the captive college audience) but marks a break in Apple's role in the IT industry. It's not about computers anymore, it's about consumption.

Anglachel