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Summary:

Now that the rumor mill has settled on October as a launch date for the still-unconfirmed Apple tablet device, it’s getting around to explaining just how said device will be sold to the public. At this rate, someone will be fondling a production model in low […]

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Now that the rumor mill has settled on October as a launch date for the still-unconfirmed Apple tablet device, it’s getting around to explaining just how said device will be sold to the public. At this rate, someone will be fondling a production model in low light and taking blurry cam photos by next Tuesday.

The Street is reporting (with a fair degree of confidence, I may add) that not only is an Apple tablet a done deal, it’s a deal done with Verizon. A source, who asked not to be named, speaking to The Street said that Verizon will indeed be offering a subsidy on the new device for customers who sign up for a mobile data plan to be used with it. Though the two companies will be working together to mitigate consumer costs, their relationship won’t be as chummy as the Apple/AT&T relationship, according to the source.

The report also asserts that the upcoming tablet has been in development for two years, but that Apple has been waiting to see if consumer desire to prod a screen with their grubby mitts would become more than just a passing fad before introducing a larger, mobile computing-oriented device. The continued success of the iPhone and iPod touch would seem to indicate that the multi-touch interface is here to stay.

The success of an Apple tablet will depend upon how useful consumers see it as being, and on what the perceived value of such a device is, considering the relatively high cost it will likely command. I’ve often expressed desire for an OS X-running tablet device in the past, but my criteria for wanting one includes it being Wacom penabled, so that I can use it for working directly with illustration programs. If, as has been suggested, the upcoming tablet uses only finger-based input and runs iPhone OS, instead of OS X, it will lose a lot of its appeal for me. Besides being better suited to e-reading, I’m not sure what else a larger format iPod touch would bring to the table that I really desperately need.

A Verizon subsidy could go a long way towards making the device more attractive, since I’d want such a device to be perpetually connected anyway. Problem is, wireless providers won’t be in a position to compensate consumers to the tune of $200 to $400 the way they can with the iPhone, since subscription fees for a data-only device will be considerably less than a voice and data plan combined. If this device is real, Apple will be treading a thin line between professional features and consumer cost, and could land themselves squarely in no-man’s-land as a result.

Photo courtesy of flickr user factoryjoe.

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  1. This seems like a bad idea. Apple products have had an initial surge and acceptance due to Apple “fan boys” who purchase anything Apple sells. Tethering a new device on a competing network to your most popular product seems to fragment the possible user base. Why would anyone who owns an iphone want to pay an additional service fee to another wireless network?

  2. piminnowcheez Wednesday, July 22, 2009

    I have an idea: let’s see what the device and associated data service actually *are*, and then we can make up reasons for why it will fail that have at least the air of credibility.

    Apple products have had an initial surge and acceptance due to Apple “fan boys” who purchase anything Apple sells.

    At what point can we declare Apple successful because of Apple *customers* and not just Apple “fan boys?”

    1. I am running into a increasing number of “reformed fanboys”. Wherein they used to be gaga for apple and now they are responsible consumers that continue to appreciate apple but are not blinded by the marketing. I count myself among those.

  3. You know, I think that this tablet will likely not be Wacom penabled in its first iterations. They will use a similar model as the iPhone, and other products, sell due to it initial improvement over other products to serve basic, unmet needs, done well – book reader, mobile web browsing, watching dvds on a plane, etc., and then as the costs come down, add functionality in later versions, to keep up the appeal of the device. At this point I think they can probably find a market with out it being penabled and doing so would raise the cost, but as time goes by and costs come down, I would think they will follow their traditional model of keeping price the same and adding features, and for this to move into a truly useful, device approaching, a full-featured laptop (not being previously limited by the OS- but input methods), which in 2-5 years is where it will have to be, they will either have to make it penabled, or add a keyboard. If you work through logically the onscreen keyboard at a 10-inch size screen , I don’t see it working well.

    1. there is always the old inkwell argument.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inkwell_(Macintosh)

      it has a niche success with the modbook and it would be more or less an expected feature with any tablet

      (of course so is the ability to copy&paste)

  4. With this concept being clearly ‘not a phone’ . I wonder if cellular connectivity would be an option rather than a rule. This would be a useful device with wifi only and really make it the iPhoneOS based netbook or more accurately: The AppStore Tablet. Perhaps another design consideration would be that this is too large to be constantly held in the hand. I wonder if there is some sort of stand or retractable ‘prop’ that can facilitate it so it can be used on a tabletop as well with a keyboard accessory.

  5. What the hell is it with you people and the need for pens for multi-touch devices?
    Just get a 3rd party pen with a special tip made for illustration which will undoubtedly be available after launch.
    Sheesh!

  6. If it’s tied to Verizon I would not sign up for their data plan. I would rather buy it outright and just tether it using my iPhone. I would like to have a 10″ tablet vs a netbook as I would only use it for web based vide sites such as Hulu or Netflix etc.. but also a great screen for movies as I find the iPhone simply to small to watch a 2h movie on. I find it hard to believe Apple would not see the entire iPhone customer base as a key target consumer of this product and then force everyone to now pay $60/mo to Verizon to use their product. Worst idea ever. I call BS, if Apple is this stupid the device will sell because it’s Apple, but won’t be like the iPhone because of the once again restricted access to a wireless carrier.

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  8. I wonder how they will market this. As soon as I heard about this tablet, I immediately thought that they would need to blow a number of products out of the water, namely the Kindle. It also sounds as if it could be a great “crossover” piece, along the lines of the (family friendly) Nintendo Wii–“Even Grandma can be a MAC!” Simply put, I can imagine a many persons oogling something like this.The tablet also sounds like an extra something for those who got a touch of the Apple itch from solely owning an iPod.

    Personally, I’ll stick with my MBP and iPod Touch. :)

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  10. Not liking this idea. Kind of screws over every customer who has switched to ATT to get the iPhone.

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