Apple is “working towards a September launch” for a media tablet, but more importantly and shockingly is who Apple is working with: EMI, Sony Music, Warner Music (s wmg) and Universal Music Group (s umg).
While conventional rumor wisdom strongly suggested an e-book reader as the primary function of the device, out of nowhere comes the Financial Times citing four sources associated with an interactive album project, “Cocktail,” as it has been code-named. Its purpose, at least from the perspective of the recording industry, will be to resuscitate albums sales that have fallen off a cliff since the advent of individual-track purchases through download.
To that end, it appears Apple and the labels are trying to reinvent the music album with photos, lyric sheets, and liner notes, creating an “interactive book” that would allow for exploration and the direct playing of songs without “clicking back into” iTunes.
“It’s all about recreating the heyday of the album when you would sit around with your friends looking at the artwork, while you listened to the music,” said one executive familiar with the plans.
He forgot to mention getting high, but we get the nostalgic point. Still, if you are worried that a niche tablet just became more niche-y, the Financial Times also quotes another entertainment executive as saying that “it’s going to be fabulous for watching movies.” There’s also a statement by Captain Obvious that print publishers are talking with Apple about books, too.
Clearly, the music initiative is a new rumor that nonetheless reinforces the idea that a tablet is coming, but offers an alternative date, one that makes more sense for several reasons.
- September comes before Christmas.
- Previous rumors put the tablet on track for around October.
- A September launch would be in keeping with an annual Apple event for new iPods.
- We still haven’t heard or seen Steve Jobs yet.
- The Financial Times is quoting multiple, loquacious sources in the entertainment industry.
It’s looks like we’ll be wasting away in Maragritaville come September, cocktail in hand.