As rumors about the upcoming Apple Tablet are swirling around, it's hard to tell what is true and what's not. Ultimately, we know that it's coming and that it will change tablets from being a niche product to something that everyone will want to use. Did we mention that it will be a premium ebook reader?
Right now, the ebook reader market is something important that Apple hasn't yet tapped into. It's logical to think that the Apple Tablet will try to be a better ebook reader than the Kindle. With better screen technology and usability, it won't be that hard. It's interesting to see the amount of effort and thought that Apple is putting into this device, which has been hyped up for a few years already.
Apple is in talks with print media companies in order to bring their content to their new device. They are going for ebooks, magazines and a lot more. Apple is working hard to try and load up iTunes with print media that stems from several major publishers. The NY Times has been approached. Textbook publishers McGraw Hill as well as Oberlin Press are working with Apple to move their textbooks to iTunes. It seems logical. Textbooks are sold for a certain price and when they are resold, publishers no longer receive any profit. DRM one-time use books would be really interesting to publishers, since they could earn more money. They would cut out some middlemen and be able to sell the books a lot cheaper. This maybe be interesting to publishers, but not to users. Still, the Kindle is popular enough with its format, so it's going to work well for the Apple Tablet.
The new LP format for iTunes albums is now making sense. They will use this concept to expand and make some magazines and books interactive. All information points to a release either later this year or at the beginning of next year. If Apple was just going to release a tablet that doubles as an ebook reader, nobody would be really that exited. However, it looks like Apple wants publishers to create exclusive multimedia content, which includes audio, video, and interactive graphics in books, magazines as well as newspapers. This would put Apple in the lead in the distribution of this next-generation print content, since the Microsoft Courier will be released a lot later and the Kindle is stuck in static land with its e-ink display.
While laptops have come a long way, they aren't perfect for reading books and manipulating text. Ebook readers have also improved on print media, but there is still more to be done. The Apple Tablet will bridge the gap between iPhones and MacBooks. Princeton students who have been using the Kindle DX hate it. This means that there is still loads of ways of improving on ebook readers. That being said, we want one. The only question is how expensive will it be. Less than a MacBook and more than an iPhone?