Impact of Apple’s eagerly anticipated tablet could rival iPhone

Apple Online Store“You don’t need a crystal ball, seer stone, scrying pool or any other spooky stuff to guess what one of the most talked-about design projects of 2010 will be. The tech blogs have been buzzing about it for months. It’s the iSlate, iTablet, iProd, Magic Slate, or whatever else Apple finally decides to call its new tablet computer,” Alice Rawsthorn reports for The International Herald Tribune.

“We’ve been here before: three years ago, to be exact. The drill was the same. Months of frenzied blogging culminated in ecstatic cheers on Jan. 9, 2007, when Apple’s co-founder, Steve Jobs, brandished a prototype iPhone before an adoring audience of Apple nuts at a convention in San Francisco,” Rawsthorn reports. “What’s happened since? Not only has Apple sold tens of millions of iPhones, it has pulled off a stunningly successful exercise in design democracy whereby thousands of D.I.Y. designers have developed applications, or programs, for them. Some 100,000 ‘apps’ have been invented, and more than two billion downloaded from Apple’s App Store. What’s almost more impressive is that Apple has achieved this despite its own history — and instincts — as the consummate corporate control freak.”

MacDailyNews Note: According to AppShopper, there were 115,000 apps available in Apple’s Ap Store as of December 16, 2009.

Rawsthorn continues, “Mr. Jobs is expected to show off the iSlate (as we’ll call it, if only because that’s the latest rumor) in San Francisco later this month. If the bloggers are right, it will hit the stores in March.. If the iSlate is another of the company’s successes, it promises to have as much impact as the iPhone, if not more.”

Read more in the full article here.

17 Comments

  1. I read it all and it added nothing that isn’t already known. My only nit is, when she offered up Apple’s most notable failures, she could have easily included a half-dozen more.

    The most salient point, I thought was where she pointed out how corporate America will have a superior canvas in the tablet on which to peddle their wares.

    Color and versatility will huge compared to those single-function e-readers.

  2. Ironic that MS has been copying Apple badly for decades yet making a success, but in some ways Apple is now following the MS tablet idea from 15 years ago (Newton/eMate are not tablets), but will probably be a success for Apple where MS has failed.

  3. OK. I love apple. I own their products, and I even own some of their stock. However, I feel like every single analysis of the “tablet” is leaving out one critical component. If the iPod had an immediate (if not immediately obvious) market in the music business because it was a kick ass product that essentially a (way better) walkman in digital format. The iPhone had an immediate and much more obvious mass market because all cell phones have been TERRIBLE until now. The iPhone is selling way more numbers than the iPod ever did. But here is the key thing that I cannot see. What is the iSlate’s mass market going to be?

    50 billion in ad revenue in newspapers in 2006. A lot of that formerly print ad revenue is leaking towards google as the industry dies. Maybe apple’s going after some of this? The music industry is similar in size I think(think ipod) but the cell phone market was the holy grail for growth as there industry is measured in HUNDREDS of billions, etc. I find it hard to see that the tablet will be as big because it’s market place is simply smaller. However, I have great faith in human ingenuity and the ability to turn up the unexpected.

  4. @ Paul Muprhy

    “The iPhone had an immediate and much more obvious mass market because all cell phones have been TERRIBLE until now.”

    Same with the tablet market. Apple either popularizes previously dormant/unpopular products, or ends up creating a new market.

    Apple has a habit of making products people never knew they wanted. You’ll see.

  5. The iPod market was tiny when launched even if the music industry is massive. As we as yet do not know what markets this device is aimed to capture it is therefore impossible to discern what the total market worth actually is. However the iPod was till recently a one trick pony whereas this one will not be from birth, though no doubt it will be initially focused primarily on a few. The only question is whether it can 1) strike successfully at those and 2) expand to be a great all round computer in the foreseeable future. If it does the potential market will equal or surpass those for the iPhone or iPod especially the latter. However as with the latter the market may well be revealed by, or develop to this new device’s tune.

    As a rule Apple turns a niche into a mainstream market rather than develop a totally original one, indeed all best devices tend to do that, this one however actually has more potential because it is the computer re-invented … if it works out no matter that a few bumbling devices of similar concept have gathered dust for some years. Everything has its time.

  6. @Paul Murphy

    My guess is, those who would never consider buying a laptop computer, might give an Apple tablet a second look. The “killer” function of a tablet is portability. iPhone has proven people are hungry for a device that is both multi-functional and portable.

    As soon as people realized the iPhone was not just a phone, but a radical new computer that could be operated without a keyboard and mouse and took all the complexity of a desktop computer and packed it into a device that could fit in your pocket, something resonated in those who may have never owned a cell phone, or a portable computer for that matter.

    Naturally, after a few years on the market, the iPhone would evolve into something more substantial, a device more powerful, with more storage, and a bigger screen.

    Corporate America is looking for a bridge between the various types of media and the iPhone comes close, but its still too novel for the average person.

    Apple will create a new OS interface designed specifically for the tablet, rather than scaling iPhone’s OS to fit the tablet’s screen dimensions and I believe the look will be drool-worthy.

  7. Rival the iPhone? More than the iPhone?
    I would say that definitively no, the iPhone’s killer app is that its a phone.

    what makes you want to carry a tablet around? ebooks? really? More than a phone?

    i don’t think anyone would argue that when you leave the house, more people want to make sure they brought their book, than their phone.

    … i’m very curious what this thing will actually be for…

  8. whoops, Steve left the reality distortion field on when he left for xmas vacation! Since the analyst couldn’t get people to bite on the “netbook” story, then went to a tablet. Doesn’t matter, they’re trying to short the stock again when apple doesn’t announce something that doesn’t exist.

  9. There is a large untaped market a tablet. XP, Vista, and 7 all have tablet software, however it is expensive, and requires expensive hardware. It was not cost effective so developers did not write software for it. The other choice for tablets were Palm that did not give a lot of usable space. Also creating your own, only a few large companies, like UPS, could do this. Medical, construction, sales, education are some areas that could use a good affordable tablet. This could be big in portable gaming too. With MS pricing strategy it would be hard for PC makers to catch up. A affordable tablet could easily be Apples best selling product.

  10. @mike

    I’m curious too and can’t wait to see how many disciplines outside of general technology find uses for this product.

    I can think a number of industries that could deploy this device for analysis and diagnostics.

    A device like this coupled with attachments like spectrometers and scales and a whole host of other measuring devices such as electron microscopes, thermographic cameras, oscilloscopes, densitometers, tomographers, etc., will have the greatest impact on our lives.

    I realize there isn’t a discipline on earth that doesn’t benefit from computer technology however closer inspection of these many devices would reveal their interfaces to be about as efficient and as complicated as today’s cell phones.

    We’ve all seen these bulky, industrial strength monstrosities that are stuck in a 1980s time warp that roll around on wheels because their creators lacked Woz’s imagination to think clean and small.

    I’m not saying these industries are going to run right out and buy a tablet, but if they can’t find a way to make it work, perhaps it will entice them to think different about the tools they use, or realize technology is passing them by and if they don’t update their computerized tools they’ll be displaced by a competitor.

  11. @ Mike

    I suggest that it will be Wi-Fi only. No wires. No Phone. And if you already have cable/internet, no extra charges.

    Of course, you will be able to Skype via your web browser. Or better yet, via the Skype iPhone app, which I predict will have video conferencing. As we have heard, and seemingly it’s true, virtually all the iPhone apps will, with or without much recoding, work on the new ‘iSlate.

    As such, my wife in particular will be able to do everything plus that I have been doing on my iPhone while sitting next to her (usually watching the TV) and most of what she is doing with her laptop at the same time.

    We have also heard that the new ‘iSlate’ will introduce ‘input’ as we have never seen before. I should note that originally, I, out of habit, didn’t use the multitouch keyboard. However, putting my ego aside, after a couple of days of actually using it, I hesitate no longer. Particularly, now that I know how to after viewing the tutorials and following Apple’s simple but comprehensive directions.

    If we look at the ‘blogging’ community, we see that most don’t have either the latest Macs and iPhones. Certainly, if they do, it doesn’t speak for the much of the family.

    On a personal note, this past two months I have travelled between Boston and Beijing. As a researcher/observer, I have noted that most of my friends and colleagues don’t own a Mac, aren’t up to date with either of their computers and/or software, and in the case of families, the moms of the home are the least likely to be surfing at any time.

    In one family, 3 out of the four kids (2 university/2 high school) had Macbooks. Mom an old PC which she had to be reminded on how to use, and dad, used one at work. Well, I updated the Macs to Snow Leopard which only one of the university kids new anything at all about. Brought out my iPhone, showed off the apps and wow, they all wanted one. Just got the TomTom app and car kit for Xmas. Drove down from Vancouver to Seattle U to drop off one of the kids and the dad was ready to throw out his stand-alone Magellan.

    I would say that in the past two weeks alone, I have discussed the coming of Apple’s ‘tablet’ and literally out of dozens of people I have talked to, everyone wants one.

    P.S., A word on the TomTom. I was waiting to see more reviews, particularly on the car kits, e.g., TomTom and Magellan. Was surprised getting the TomTom for Xmas, thanks in particular to my sister-in-law (SIL), which my wife listens to more than me. Now that I have it and have used it, it is absolutely beautiful. My SIS has a built in GPS nav in her Armada which costs thousands and now wants $200+ to update the maps and she immediatly bought the TomTom app (still at $69.99) and special ordered the car kit as well.

  12. @holymackerel

    I think it’s safe to say, in the Nineties, Apple was as Microsoft is now. Out of ideas and desperate to develop something new and innovative besides beige boxes.

    No one can deny the Newton was about 18-years ahead of its time. But, imagine for a moment how much technological time passed before Apple re-introduced its concept of a hand-held computer. Think about it? What were you doing 20-years ago?

    I’m not suggesting iPhone was 18-years in the making but I am suggesting Jobs and his concept of the all-in-one and the corporate knowledge of Newton were on a collision course.

    Newton never died. It was spun off into an Apple subsidiary, Newton Inc., and two of its ex-employees who founded Pixo were the chief engineers who developed the OS for the original iPod.

    Microsoft’s [Gate’s] tablet is not a failure and as WetFX has already pointed out, the entry-level is cost prohibitive and has all the charm of a beer fart in church.

    Microsoft’s tablet strategy was sound but their execution was a fail. It was as though they dumped it on corporate America and said, you figure out what to do with it.

    Apple’s approach and the outcome will be much different, beginning with their target market. At the same time this tablet began to take shape, other teams began to work on the usual software apps, a new Safari, Mail, and iCal, TextEdit, and perhaps a scaled version of the iLife Suite. I’m not suggesting they’ll be rewritten, just recompiled for the Tablet OS’s new resolution.

    This tablet will have purpose and plenty of software to get started immediately. I’ve no doubt the usual suspects will take the stage to announce their involvement.

    The lesson we’ll come away with is, there is much more to this tablet than we could have imagined and this is only the beginning of portable computing.

    Unlike the laptop market, where manufacturers have been trying to duplicate the desktop experience, Apple is inventing a whole new experience that is unique, innovative, productive, and most importantly, fun and extremely satisfying.

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