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Summary:

Yhe Apple tablet isn’t going to be a tablet computer at all, really, according to the Quick PWN blog. If you believe Quick PWN contributor Hans’ inside sources, the Apple iSlate, as he maintains it will indeed be called, is more aimed at taking on the […]

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Yhe Apple tablet isn’t going to be a tablet computer at all, really, according to the Quick PWN blog. If you believe Quick PWN contributor Hans’ inside sources, the Apple iSlate, as he maintains it will indeed be called, is more aimed at taking on the Amazon Kindle and its ilk as an e-reading device.

Presumably, the iSlate would also offer iPod and media playback functionality, but Hans’ post makes no mention of these features:

Our sources have told us that the rumor about Apple launching a product with the iSlate name is true, but the product won’t be an Apple tablet, it will be an eBook reader. The iSlate will be a competitor to the Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook and other e-readers that are out there. Our sources have also told us that the iSlate eBook reader will run on Apple’s upcoming iPhone OS 4.0 software and will include a seperate App Store for eBooks. Apple will be announcing the iSlate eBook reader at WWDC 2010, which our sources says is being held on June 7.


Note also that if Quick PWN’s sources are correct, we won’t be seeing the iSlate or hear mention of it until WWDC, which is being held much earlier than previous rumors suggested, if the unidentified informant is to be believed. Moscone Center booking information suggests WWDC will begin on June 28, not the 7th.

I’m suspicious of this latest rumor for a number of reasons. First, the discrepancy between the WWDC dates previously reported and this one doesn’t really make any sense. Then again, maybe that actually adds credence to this rumor, since the source didn’t just go with the accepted date. I suppose the date change just strikes me as odd, but it doesn’t really preclude the validity of this report.

What I’m more wary of is the nature of the device described and the timing of its launch. Even though the e-book market is beginning to take off (if you believe Amazon’s own hype), it’s still nowhere near as strong as the netbook market was and is, and Apple was wary of jumping into that. I doubt it would create an e-reader at this point without making that a secondary feature, rather than the primary focus of the device. And if it isn’t coming until WWDC, then what’s the event next month going to be about? Why do rumors stemming from suppliers and other more reliable sources point to a different production timeline?

The iSlate, if that’s what it really will be called, will most likely have e-reader function and it will probably threaten Amazon’s market dominance in that area. But is that Apple’s aim with this device? I doubt it. Is e-reading the only or primary purpose of the new gadget? Not a chance.

  1. So the rumor is that the iSlate isn’t a tablet, but it’s a tablet? That’s news, son!

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  2. Yeah, I am not buying this. Apple has supposedly booked the same room they did the iPod announcement for Jan 26, and if it is running the iPhone OS I certainly wouldn’t classify it as an e-book reader, especially when they are asking certain game developer to prepare full screen version of their games for an “upcoming announcement” – Sorry I call shenanigans on this.

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  3. Steve will surprise us…

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  4. Another “expert” opinion, wow.

    I guess you experts don’t realize how little you actually know and how well Apple manipulates you for free publicity.

    Keep up the good work. We do enjoy the fiction.

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  5. Ebooks haven’t taken off because they’re grossly overpriced. Why would I buy an ebook for $10 when I can buy a real book for $7 or $8? Add to that obnoxious DRM (haven’t they learned their lesson with music and video?) and the difficulty of doing proper backups (DRM again) and you have a recipe for failure.

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    1. I’ve found the Kindle versions of books to be very competitive, often beating my B&N Member discount.

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    2. And you can still read reports on how the book publishers are complaining that they can make money on $9.99 ebooks because of the high cost of distribution. they even propose adding advertising inside the ebooks to make more profit.

      The book publisher just like the RIAA and the MPAA are a bunch of scammer that think people today buy their ’70 ’80 and ’90 excuses for overpricing.

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  6. [...] that the tablet would be available for the Christmas season. Obviously, that was far from true. New rumors say the tablet won’t be officially revealed until Apple’s Worldwide Developers [...]

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  7. When has #Apple, or Steve Jobs ever released a device that underwhelmed? (Well, at least since the Apple Newton). Apple is in the business of defining (iPod) and extending (iMac, iPhone) markets, not being an also ran, so this rumor makes no sense.

    There is also no way they would fracture the incredibly successful iTunes ecosystem–it works, why break it? When the iSlate launches, expect a simple but capable device that allows a new level of cloud-based computing for the masses. This means a new or fixed version of .me, a batch of added value new colud-based services and, of course, an excellent media and content display device. eBooks will just be added to the already successful iTunes store model just like videos and apps were.

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  8. I agree that an Apple tablet will definitely have ebook functions – after all, several fine third party examples already exist for the iPhone and iPod Touch – but that it won’t be the primary function of the device. I don’t think it’s because of the netbook argument or that ebooks are too new (after all, it’s being ahead of the game that can help develop a nascent market, like the iPod and iTunes did with the personal music player market: they didn’t create the market, but their entry helped push its growth), but for a few other reasons:

    -First, Jobs and Apple have repeatedly expressed their interest in making products that serve a broader entertainment purpose, which I think is evident in the iPhone/iPod Touch. Making a narrower device doesn’t seem to follow their pattern of late.
    -One of the strengths of most new dedicated ebook readers is their use of e-ink to vastly reduce eye strain on the reader, something the tablet won’t be using. This could potentially limit its appeal (though the Apple brand and interaction with the iTunes store could offset a big portion of this), and I’d wager Apple knows it. I think people would be willing to pay for a tablet device with ebook functionality (and if Apple doesn’t make those apps, somebody else will), but I’m not sure they’d pay for an Apple tablet ebook reader with some other secondary functionality.

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  9. So from the rumors, this device will have a $600 price point. I’m sorry but even Apple knows that no one will buy a $600 eBook reader/iPod.

    I’m sure it will have eBook functionality but my guess is this will be a large iPod touch with MacBook Air-like expansion ports (meaning limited but enough to get by). If this is true it really brings in to question what the future of the MacBook Air is? Of course, an iSlate or whatever we’re calling it this week, will have limited storage (my guess is 32GB/64GB flash memory). If I had to guess it will run a hybrid of the iPhone OS with certain utilities ported over from Snow Leopard.

    As an Apple Sys Admin, this will be my primary device if it is what I’d expect it to be (truth be told it will probably be a device I own anyway).

    Take it easy.

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  10. The Kindle doesn’t have a chance.

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