AppleInsider recently posted an article outlining an outreach to current print houses to create content for a new platform. It seems that Apple may be seeking to create a device that would make reading content while on the go simple and easy, but more than that: They want interactive material to make the content more engaging.
eReaders have been around for a long time with varying levels of success. I think the most successful device would have to be the iPhone/iPod Touch, though that is my personal opinion. For dedicated devices, it's the Kindle by far. Amazon has not only done a great job with the device, but has done a great job marketing the device. It's all the rage with literary types, and I think mostly because of it's e-ink technology.
But there is one really big problem with the Kindle: it only does one thing. Now, I love applications that do one thing, because they can do that one thing really well. But when it comes to my hardware, I want it to multitask as much as possible. That's not to say the Kindle couldn't do more than one thing, it's just that it doesn't do more than one thing.
So enters the Apple Tablet, the much rumored iPod Slate. Apple has already shown that the tablet platform can be versatile, as shown with the iPhone and iPod Touch. The iPod Slate would build on that success by providing a more powerful interface, longer battery life, and a larger viewing area. That is, assuming Apple does things right.
So, we come back to my list of requirements for the iPod Slate or Apple Tablet:
- Unrestricted Bluetooth: Please don't throttle my bluetooth, as it has been on the iPod Touch! I want to be able to tether my headset I've had for a while, and a bluetooth keyboard.
- A Mini DisplayPort: I want to be able to connect the device to a projector for presentations. I can technically do that with an iPod Touch, but it's not as clean as using a Mini DisplayPort.
- Full Office Software Availability: I don't necessarily need to have Microsoft Office installed, but at least have a full version of iWork on the thing. It would allow me to create, edit, and display presentations, spreadsheets, and documents on the fly. I have a watered down version of Office for the iPod Touch, but it's not nearly to the level I want.
- Full Operating System: I want an OS with a Terminal, the ability to manage, and install applications. The important thing here is the Terminal.. I want shell access to my device, unlike the iPod Touch (without jailbreaking).
- Reasonable Pricing: I'll be the first to admit, Apple has had trouble with this in the past. That being said, I've been happy with the iPod Touch pricing, and with the iMac and Mac Mini. The MacBook Air was a fiasco, because you were paying more for less of a computer. Don't make the same mistake with the iPod Slate!!! Price it below the entry MacBook computers. That would make it solidly in the $800 range. If you are going to price it here, make sure it's worth it!
So, that is my list. It's been modified slightly, as the need for USB will eventually be replaced by Light Peak, and with more storage going to the cloud, SD card usage wouldn't be that necessary. A video camera on the front would be nice as well, but not that necessary. Mobile video conferencing would be fun, but hardly a requirement.
But the real issue will be pricing. It's definitely going to be more expensive than the iPhone, but it needs to be less expensive than a MacBook. Otherwise, why purchase it? Why not get a MacBook instead, with all the hardware features you wouldn't have with the tablet? Apple would run into another MacBook Air issue, where people would rather purchase a full featured MacBook Pro over a stripped-down version that's a little lighter.
First Quarter, 2010! Let's see what happens.