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

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Yhe Apple (s aapl) 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 (s amzn) 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.

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

  1. Apple does have huge influence in the market- manipulation or not, its important to bear in mind that independent sources of news are more impartial and therefore allows more open discussion. I have found some good news on and some good gadgets to bid on ebay,. I think the kindle and islate will push more ebooks development and perhaps the price will be lowered with increase volume. Amazon have made a great effort to also target bloggers who want to monterize.

  2. Jason K

    I agree with some of the opinions here.

    This angle (eBook angle) for Apple makes more sense to me than just having a big “tablet” device that does computer functions (too much overlap with their laptops). The “eReader” angle leverages better the strength of iTunes & the strength/size of the book reading market (just like the music/movie market). Also, this is more consistant with the strategies Apple have used in leveraging already successful platforms (iTunes, MacOS, Safari, Touch Screen Capabilities). It could have music, movies, eBook + Netbook capabilities to make sense. This would be trouble for many non-eBook markets leaders as well. So many possibilities and so much trouble for each of the category leader. This is just a guess- which is a big part of the fun. ^^ Can’t wait!

  3. do you twats not have a spellcheck? Is it not standard procedure to RUN said spell checker over a piece before posting? Because I’m quite sure that your spellcheck would have noticed that you’ve mis-spelled the first word in the body of your latest blog post. The word “The”. Who the hell mis-spells the word “The”?

    It’s careless and lacks that extra bit of professionalism.

  4. There isn’t a drop of information out there that can be verified, which puts all this speculation at a level comparable to to the National Enquirer. I agree, speculating can be fun, but it’s ultimately futile to keep doing it when you have no new information. One post: Apple may be making a tablet. Done. Everything after is just Jesus’ face on toast. At the very least, take it out of the ‘News’ category and place it under a ‘Rumours’ category.

    Mankind seems most certain about things that are unknowable.

    • No, you’re right, and normally I would agree, but there comes a point where 50% of the posts are unsubstantiated rumour, and what we do know is that no one actually knows ANYTHING about any of this except the folks at apple, and they aren’t talking.
      I like this blog, but sometimes you have to stop jumping at shadows if you want to maintain credibility. I read tech news, not gossip rags.

    • For myself, I guess that sometimes I find the speculation fun, and when I feel myself getting fatigued from it all, I just take some time off, and when I care to jump back in, it’s all there, usually with either a summary of the more recent rumours or a link to the rest. It’s kind of a dead zone for other Mac news right now (unless you count Apple winning the appeal in the lawsuit about the iPod headphones and hearing damage), so I understand why it seems to be taking up a higher proportion of articles than usual.

      At least it’s better than the inevitable drooling posts in between the announcement and release date, or the conflicting “best/worst device ever!” comments wars after a week in use. ;)

  5. Apples iPhones certainly took of the market share from Nokia and SE, so why wont their tablet? Remember Apples tablets are presumably powered by dual cored processors, so if somebody wanted to compete with them , they gotta try really hard!

  6. Bill Burkholder

    Apple will surprise us.

    Expect more of a general purpose computing device… This will be the “Kindle killer” feature. (Wouldn’t you rather carry a device that does everything you need to do, rather than a single-purpose reader?”

    I think the surprise will be the range of kinds of interfaces we’ll have with it. I do believe it will be a great way to watch movies, listen to music, read, and even do all sorts of general computing tasks, in addition to dynamite gaming.

    Everyone will want one of these damned things. “What’s on your iSlate?” could become their new (retro) ad slogan, echoing a PowerBook ad from the mid-1990s.

    • Bill, you must not understand the purpose of an ereader.
      You cant tell the difference between the Iphone and the Kindle. If so, the iphone would have ended the kindle.
      A slightly larger screen then youre saying will surely end the kindle. Do you not know what a paper like display is or its relevance? Tell the millions of kindle owners to go back to reading books on their computer screens and see what they say.

  7. Let me be the first to state that if and when such an iSlate or iPad device does get released by Apple, it will never in a million years gain the same popularity as the iPod or iPhone – or anything near it. Despite all the hoopla you’re hearing surrounding such a device, one big issue everyone seems to overlook is the tendency of such decides to cause “repetitive strain injuries” from constant arm movement. Repetitive strain injuries are not that much of a problem when using smaller devices such as iPods and the iPhone because your hand and arm is always steady and you’re only using your fingers. Repetitive strain injuries are also not that much of a problem with larger computers because you’re always using a keyboard and mouse for input. But with an iSlate device, where the sole means of device input is to continually sweek your hand or arm across the screen – and you’re looking at wide spread repetitive strain injuries just waiting to happen. Feel free to ignore what I’m saying if you want, but I guarantee you that if such a device is ever released, the issue of widespread repetitive strain injuries will be the Achilles heel that will bring it down. Personally, I would never buy any device – no matter how cool it was – if I had to constantly move my whole arm or hand across the screen in order to get something done. And it doesn’t take a genius to know that. It’s just plain common sense.

  8. Why does everything new have to be a (insert competing product here) “killer”? Can’t companies simply compete without “killing”? Personally, I would never use a ebook reader. I prefer old fashioned books, and PDF files.

  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.

  10. 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.

  11. dalex7777

    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.

  12. Bob Smith

    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.

    • 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.