Thursday, December 24, 2009

Apple to Unveil Tablet on Jan. 26th?

Mark your calendars. The Web is rife with rumors that Jan. 26, 2010 is the big day that Apple will at long last unveil its Tablet, which we wrote about yesterday.

Tablet Tuesday, they're calling it.

No sooner had the New York Times' Bits blog expressed cynicism that real-world technology could ever match that seemingly pie-in-the-sky Sports Illustrated demo video (or the one below from Sweden's Bonnier Group), than somebody let the cat out of the bag -- Apple had scheduled a big media event in San Francisco. On January 26. Just Google that date with the word Apple and you'll get a sense of the pent-up excitement among Mac fans, and techies in general.

All signs seem to point to an official announcement that an oversized iPod Touch device is on its way, for a Spring debut.

How big is it?

Again, it's all speculation -- with some saying a 7" screen, others saying a 10" screen, and others saying both.

Would a 7" provide sufficiently more viewing pleasure than an iPod Touch to warrant upgrading? Would a 10" be too big to shlep around? Each size is notably a trifle larger than Amazon's corresponding 6" and 9.7" Kindle e-book reader.

Somebody who did better at high school geometry than we did performed some calculations and concluded that a 7-inch screen will provide a viewing area roughly four times the iPhone's; a 10-inch screen will provide a viewing area about eight times the iPhone's.

In conjunction with its Tablet announcement, Apple is expected to reveal plans to partner with major TV networks to launch a subscription service for TV shows distributed via iTunes for a recurring monthly fee (a la cable TV subscriptions).
CBS and Disney are said to be aboard, though Turner Broadcasting System and Viacom are reportedly standoffish. (Prediction, based on Apple's track record with the music industry: they'll come around. Ditto for book publishers.)

But it's obviously the implications for the newspaper and magazine world that fascinate us, especially considering that Time Inc. and Conde Nast have already developed prototypes of digital magazine issues. And then there's this slick new one from Sweden's Bonnier Group:

How much will the Apple Tablet cost? Good question. Estimates range from $600 to $1000 or more. So start saving your pennies. You know you want one. We do -- not to watch TV shows, but to see the revolutionary improvement it's going to bring to online videojournalism.

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