Monday, January 4, 2010
Earlier today WSJ's John Paczkowski revealed that Apple is hosting an event in San Francisco on Weds Jan 27th (2 weeks before Macworld 2010), presumably to launch the hotly anticipated tablet device the technorati confidently call the iSlate. There's been rampant speculation for months in the tech press and blogosphere about this product's form factor, OS, UI/UX, hardware components, etc., but I think the most interesting discussion is around the digital content category it'll help Apple dominate. The iPod quickly allowed them to control digital music and the iPhone mobile apps... so what will it be with the iSlate? Stu Dredge had a great post this morning theorizing about which games would be best suited for a tablet-like device, and there's been a lot of talk about how its rumored 10" screen will make it the ultimate portable video player. While I think the iSlate has potential to be awesome for both of those categories... the big win for Apple will be in electronic publishing. I'm confident Apple has it's sites firmly set on Amazon's hot-selling Kindle, and believes it has the chops to deliver a much better consumer experience (the bar isn't set too high, frankly). Imagine all your favorite books, magazines and newspapers available for sale or subscription through iTunes, at super-reasonable prices (an Apple hallmark), that can be enjoyed in full color, with intuitive interactive tools and sharing features. Assuming they can get deals done with all the major publishers (talk about old media, oy vey!), that the hardware isn't prohibitively expensive (~$500) and that they also make ebooks & emags available for legacy devices (e.g. the iPhone), I think within 1 year they could easily dominate the space. Unless I've got this all wrong, publishers, particularly those on the newspaper/magazine side getting massacred by the online ad-supported business model, should be kissing Steve Jobs' (feet) about now. Meanwhile, I suspect Bezos & company are chewing copious fingernails in anticipation of the Jan 27th event.