Apple Tablet Updates

Apple tablet rumours are heating up and getting more specific. The latest prediction is that the announcement is scheduled for January 26 2010.

Apple tablet to be announced January 26?

The interesting thing about this article is that it takes it as a given that the mobile version of OSX will be used and existing iphone apps that are resolution independent will run. Also interesting that multiple sizes of tablets are being predicted before any have been introduced. If Apple does do a demo or announcement at the end of January will the roadmap with regards to having more than one screen size be revealed or just the first tablet announced?

Some slides showing different ideas of what the tablet could look like

Most of the concepts are just an iPhone with a larger screen. Highly unlikely that a DVD drive will be included. A jailbroken iPhone app was recently announced that supports bluetooth keyboards. This makes even more sense for a tablet so here is hoping that one button mouse type of rigidity doesn’t happen.

Some well done quotes sure to increase speculation on the details of the tablet design.

Speculation will be increased by provocative statements that Steve is pleased with the product and that it has a surprising interface.

Reasons identified by Conrad Blickenstorfer, why previous tablets didn’t work need to be revisited in light of the expected new entry.(Conrad, the editor of publications like Rugged PC Review and the founder of Pen Computing Magazine, has been reporting on tablet computers for over two decades)

  • Commitment

  • No one has ever made a truly committed effort to design a great tablet.
    The jury is still out on this, as the design is as yet unseen and Apple’s commitment can only truly be gauged on how much they devote to this expansion of the iphone platform over time.

  • Technology

    The underlying software and hardware were not ready for
    prime time, especially touch-screens.

  • “The sole reason for the renewed interest is that with the iPhone, Apple has shown that touch can work elegantly, effortlessly and beautifully,”

  • Input systems

  • Tablets were based on immature technologies, like handwriting recognition and voice recognition, that weren’t ready. Apple has already shown some early voice recognition cards, a Dragon natural speaking app has been introduced, and virtual keyboards are being used instead of handwriting recognition. Bluetooth keyboards may also be an option to supplement the portable onscreen keyboard when the tablet isn’t mobile.

  • Price

  • Tablets have previously been positioned as premium-priced products. Innovation on the interface will be important to determine what functions make sense for the tablet and what price can be supported. An affordable introductory price will take a lot of pressure off while the product line builds up its capabilities.

  • Finally, software

  • Windows was designed for use with a mouse and is simply not suited for tablets.

    Considering most tablets have run Windows for the last eight years, “this is by far the most important reason why tablets never succeeded,”

    Conrad Blickenstorfer

    If Apple can leverage its 100,000 iPhone apps that are already designed for a touchscreen interface this will be a powerful entry point for larger screen devices. App developers have yet to be heard on how well previously developed apps will be able to take advantage of larger screens. This has big implications for the iTunes store if the different classes of Apps need to be identified for each form factor.

    Really Good Vapourware

    I think you will enjoy this 7 Apple principles article from a blog (The eBook Test) that covers iTablet rumours and commentary.

    You also might like this concept video.
    Kind of reminds a person of Apple’s much older Network Navigator concept video doesn’t it?

    There is also this fake video of what some people think the iTablet will look like.

    In the January 2010 edition of MacLife there are also some more speculative fantasy design concepts from brainstorming Mac experts. My favourites are the iRead (yet another ebook reader concept but with a projector included in the spine) and the iVision (eyeglasses with augmented reality Heads Up Displays). If you can imagine it, someday it might be built but not this year.

    If you are considering buying a Kindle or Nook, it might be best to wait a little bit to see if the 2010 iTablet launch rumours are true.

    Why JooJoo may not critically savage the Apple Tablet

    Why JooJoo may critically savage the Apple Tablet

    (Via Daring Fireball through Tech Generation Daily.)

    Quite the soap opera regarding the introduction of the JooJoo tablet this Friday which was originally conceived as the Crunchpad before the failed partnership. Does the predicted JooJoo failure sour the tablet market for Apple? This can be argued both ways.

    Sure it might start additional critical thinking about tablets but it is not like there haven’t been other precedents. It might also have a beneficial affect of serving as a contrast point on what Apple potentially will do differently. It is not like Fusion Garage and Apple have similar assets to bring to the table and it is all pretty speculative how the products will compare.

    It is also important to recognize that Apple’s strength is not just a well designed product but equally important is the business model (30-70 split?), integrated services, and platform that support it. This is especially important since we have seen with previous technologies like the VCR that the quantity and quality of content can trump technical specs. To what extent can Apple leverage iTunes and the App store to expand its success into an innovative new platform? I think providing a larger screen has implications beyond just a new form factor as it supports expansion into the ebook market and casual watching of movies and other LP content in new ways.

    Nook eReader Comparison with Kindle and Sony

    Nook Review: Comparison with Kindle and Sony eReaders

    (Via Technologizer.)

    Apparently available in Canada with price that matches those for Kindle. Nook has the advantage of better page turning and a colour LCD for navigation. The hardware doesn’t have major flaws and is upgradeable. The software needs improvements but regular updates are planned.

    Forrester 2010 Ereader predictions + the Missing Apple

    Forrester 2010 Ereader predictions

    (Via Forrester Research.)

    As noted in the comments major points missed in the predictions are creativity in dynamic content and the impact of rumoured multifunction devices (aka iTablet). Clearly Forrester wanted to avoid the rumour mill of this mythical device. With relation to dynamic content this is primarily an adaptation of existing web standards to a tablet form factor and interface. Ease of use of the interface will be extremely important to determine the market share of the iTablet vs. dedicated ebook readers. 2010 will be a very interesting (chinese curse?) year for ereader purchasers with so many new models with different technologies and business models.

    Another interesting dynamic is whether the consumer or prosumer model will be more successful.

    Conventional wisdom is that the TV model will apply with most ereader users being consumers with ease of use the most important attribute. litl is an innovative example of this approach.

    The prosumer model will differentiate by giving ereader users at least some tools for creating content for themselves and others. There is some speculation that Apple may be taking this approach with a new version of iDVD to support LP content. I really like the prosumer approach provided it doesn’t overcomplicate the everyday use of the device. Isn’t providing simple tools to allow everyday Joes to be creative and productive what iLife is for? I think it is possible to have the best of both worlds even though professional authoring tools may work better on large screen desktops. It isn’t hard to imagine a tablet with a stand and bluetooth keyboard being used to do light document creation at the desk and using the touch interface on the coach or the road. With the right software it might even able to function as a graphics tablet that works with the large screen desktop. That sounds to me to be a winning combination for a multifunction device. That would be enough to establish a new distinctive platform to be worth a premium price that is Apple’s speciality.

    Kindle Now Available in Canada

    Kindle is now available in Canada amidst growing competition.

    Canada

    We are excited to now ship Kindle to Canada. Customers in Canada will enjoy:
    Books in Under 60 Seconds: Think of a book and you could be reading it in under a minute

    Free Wireless: Free 3G wireless lets you download books right from your Kindle. No monthly fees, service plans, or hunting for Wi-Fi hotspots. For non-U.S. customers, there are also no additional charges for wireless delivery in or outside your home country. See Coverage Map. See Wireless Terms and Conditions

    Growing Selection: Over 300,000 English-language books to choose from; plus U.S. and international newspapers and magazines are available for your country. Because publishers give us eBook rights on a country by country basis, available titles for your country will vary from our current U.S selection. We are actively working with publishers to get the rights to all titles for every country and adding this selection every day. Check the Kindle Store to see available titles.

    Low Book Prices: New York Times® Best Sellers and New Releases are $11.99, unless marked otherwise. You’ll also find many books for less – over 100,000 titles are priced under $5.99

    Learn more about Kindle features on the Kindle product page

    Important Product Information for Your Country
    Your international shipment is subject to customs duties, import taxes and other fees levied by the destination country. We will show you these fees upon checkout. Learn more
    Kindle ships with a U.S. power adapter and a micro-USB cable for charging your Kindle via a computer USB port. The U.S. power adapter supports voltages between 100V – 240V.
    You can transfer personal documents to your Kindle via USB for free at anytime. Wireless delivery of personal documents is currently not available. Learn more
    Wireless download times can vary based on 3G or EDGE/GPRS coverage, signal strength and file size.
    Kindle books, newspapers, and magazines are currently priced and sold in United States dollars
    Blogs and the experimental web browser are currently not available for your country. You will have free access to Wikipedia.
    Kindle includes a 1-year limited warranty. See details
    Use of the Kindle is subject to the Kindle License Agreement and Terms of Use

    Price is $259 USD and the total comes up to $311 once you pay shipping and custom fees. This is exciting news for those who like to get books quickly and have a portable library. As the announcement mentions it could take a while for Canadian content selection to grow and unfortunately the web browser isn’t available. I think it is a significant missing feature that you can’t transfer personal documents wirelessy. For a full list of included and not included features see the Canadian Kindle review. It is a real positive that this choice is now available in Canada but some may choose to see what alternatives emerge in the next few months when the choices may become more clear.