Given all the frenzied hype, and ebullient speculation, what are tech and business writers making of the new Apple tablet now that more specs and a launch date have been reported? Many want to know who it's for and why they would buy it. The new tablet PC will be unveiled at the end of the month, could be sold as soon as March and will sport a 10- to 11-inch touch screen with a $1,000 price tag, The Wall Street Journal reports. Discussion has focused on the technical specs, its potential as an e-reader, and concerns about the tablet's all-important affordability.
- The Specs For more insight into what features the tablet might offer, everyone's looking at a 2008 Apple patent released last month and reported on this morning by The Baltimore Sun. The most widely discussed part of the patent is the fact that it covers the manipulation of 3D objects via a multitouch interface. The patent also shows a device with proximity and optical sensors and it was filed by three French citizens, all of them Apple employees. But while it offers an interesting glimpse into what might be, this could just be a way for Apple to cover its bases, Engadget points out, and its possible that it reveals nothing about the tablet itself.
- The E-Reader Potential While the e-reader market is competitive, the tablet might succeed where others fail by offering publishers a digital platform without the concessions mandated by the alternatives, a digital publishing executive said in this WSJ report. Apple also bought mobile advertising company Quattrofor $300 million, a move that some say could position the company well to service the ailing publishing industry.
- The Price Of course, nothing matters if the tablets don't sell and many people question what they bring to the table. As an e-reader, the tablet costs three times more than the competition and as a laptop it offers fewer features than its similarly priced competition, Mashable's Ben Parr points out. VentureBeat predicts tablet computing in general will fail in 2010 and they say Apple's specifically won't succeed due to "a combination of high prices plus lack of a must-have application." But not everyone is a naysayer. ZDNet's Sam Diaz thinks it could fill a very specific niche that neither iPhone nor laptop fill. It would, he says, "create a new category - a personal device that’s meant more for a coffee table, kitchen or bedroom. It’s the household newspaper, magazine rack, video library, jukebox, photo album and, possibly even your Kindle e-book reader all packed into one..."