Rumor Has It: Apple “iSlate” Intended as a Kindle Killer


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.

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