Gadget gossip is a blog-dominated world, but on Monday, the New York Times' David Carr made a big jump into frenzied speculation over Apple's rumored tablet computer. Carr bubbled, "I haven't been this excited about buying something since I was 8 years old." The device--which many believe will be called iSlate--may boast a nine or 10-inch high-resolution color screen with Wi-Fi and cell network access to the Internet. Whatever the specs, Carr believes the device could be journalism's messiah. Just as iTunes found a way to sell music online, the tablet may pioneer selling journalism on the Internet. Is he on to something?

JOURNALISM'S MESSIAH

  • Solves the Pay-for-Content Dilemma, celebrates David Carr: "A simple, reliable interface for gaining access to paid content can do amazing things: Five years ago, almost no one paid for music online and now, nine billion or so songs sold later, we know that people are willing to pay if the price is right and the convenience is there."
  • It Will Push Magazines and Newspapers to Innovate Their Product, writes Alice Rawsthorn in the International Herald Tribune: "If it comes through, demand for electronic books, newspapers and magazines should soar. This will create an exciting design challenge for their publishers to develop seductive ways of presenting their content on e-readers. In theory, e-newspapers could combine the convenience of the printed product with the dynamism of their Web sites. And e-magazines should be more visually compelling with higher resolution images than their Web versions. As well as helping publishers to tackle the thorny problem of how to make money from the Internet, it could enable them to create dazzling new e-media."
A FALSE PROPHET
  • The Tablet Won't Catch On--It's Too Similar to the iPhone, writes Joe Wilcox at Beta News: "The iPhone already is a tablet, with touchscreen keyboard, always-connected Internet and pocketable size for an affordable price ($99 for the 3G model, subsidized). Sure, an Apple tablet could be much larger -- say, 7-inch or 10-inch screen -- but it wouldn't be easily carried everywhere and likely wouldn't have a constant Internet connection. How many people are really going to spend for two 3G data plans, just so they can carry a smartphone and a tablet? Others could carry a dumbphone and tablet, but they would still pay for extra wireless service."
  • We Have No Idea How Print Media Will Be Monetized, cautions David Rothman at TeleRead. Many questions remain unanswered: Will Apple charge for content? Will tablet users also be able to view free web content? If the Kindle is any indicator, this may not be a game-changer, argues Rothman. "As far as newspapers and magazines, the Kindle hasn't made it yet. Even on the book side, the Kindle still has a way to go. But perhaps the color screen, a spiffy interface and other refinements in the Apple tablet will do the trick. Hard to say."