Newsletter Issue #526: In Search of the iPad, iSlate or iTablet

December 27th, 2009

If the current stories floating around the Internet are accurate, Apple briefly owned the domain, but it’s now registered with a different company, although one that reportedly has dealt with Apple in the past.

Regardless of the truth of that domain’s current ownership, the promise of some sort of tablet computer from Apple may have been one of the reasons why the company’s stock price soared to record levels at the end of the past week. Whereas Apple’s previous contenders in new product categories have been greeted with scorn and supreme skepticism, this time the stakes are high that Apple will have yet another winner.

But that takes us back to the core question, which is what purpose such a product might actually serve. The answer depends on a number of factors that only Apple can answer, and you can bet they won’t say very much until the time is right from a marketing standpoint.

Supposedly the truth will be upon us in late January, if the rumors that Apple has rented an exhibition hall for a special media event are accurate. Even if the report is correct, that facility may serve other corporate purposes, including introductions or products that we haven’t speculated about, or maybe it’s just a red herring to draw our attention away from the real event, whatever it might be.

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One Response to “Newsletter Issue #526: In Search of the iPad, iSlate or iTablet”

  1. dfs says:

    I have a lot of problems with the idea of an Apple tablet. I mean beyond the most obvious of all, which is how am I supposed to lug it around with me? Let me mention a couple. First, suppose it is, among other things, an e-book reader. Exactly what books am I going to get to read on it? As such readers proliferate, is each manufacturer going to snap up his own library of titles, so that I need one device to read Smith’s books and another to read Jones’? Until I have some clearer picture how the industry is going to shake out as a whole, I’m going to be very reluctant to put any money in any given device, made by Apple or anybody else. Far worse, there’s the issue of connectivity. Is this thing going to be a big iPhone or a big iPod Touch, or both? I mean, if it’s a big iPhone, is there going to be any sort of exclusive deal with any one carrier, and are we going to get whomped with the need for yet another exorbitant service contract? If so, will it be AT&T? They’re already struggling like mad to satisfy the infrastructure demands created by the iPhone (just today they were forced to suspend iPhone sales in New York for this very reason). Or Verizon or T-Mobile? Are their infrastructures really any more capable of handling the traffic? Or will it be a wi-fi device? Well, when I’m out and about I don’t want to have to spend my whole life sitting around in Starbucks (except in Hawaii, I recently learned to my sorrow there’s no free wi-fi there, NOTHING is free in the State of Hawaii) or the public library. And the amount of time it takes for Web pages to load on my iPod is excruciating, makes my old dialup modem seem blazingly fast by comparison (and modern Web pages, with all their eye candy, Flash content, and so forth, are written with the assumption that they will be accessed at high-speed rate, I’ve not seen a single page optimized for wi-fi access). So I find wi-fi access of the Web a total turnoff, and certainly wouldn’t invest in any wi-fi product where that was the primary purpose. So exactly what is an Apple tablet supposed to do for me at a price I can afford that my Touch isn’t already doing?

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