WSJ: Apple envisions multimedia tablet that can be shared by multiple family members

“With the new tablet device that is debuting next week, Apple Inc. Chief Executive Steve Jobs is betting he can reshape businesses like textbooks, newspapers and television much the way his iPod revamped the music industry—and expand Apple’s influence and revenue as a content middleman,” Yukari Iwatani Kane and Ethan Smith report for The Wall Street Journal. “In developing the device, Apple focused on the role the gadget could play in homes and in classrooms, say people familiar with the situation. The company envisions that the tablet can be shared by multiple family members to read news and check email in homes, these people say.”

“For classrooms, Apple has been exploring electronic-textbook technology, these people add. The people familiar with the matter say Apple has also been looking at how content from newspapers and magazines can be presented differently on the tablet. Other people briefed on the device say the tablet will come with a virtual keyboard,” Kane and Smith report. “Apple is also negotiating with television networks such as CBS Corp. and Walt Disney Co., which owns ABC, for a monthly TV subscription service, the Journal has reported. Apple is also working with videogame publisher Electronic Arts Inc. to show off the tablet’s game capabilities, according to one person familiar with the matter.”

“The tablet, which Apple currently plans to ship in March, will have about a 10- to 11-inch touch screen, people familiar with the situation say… One person familiar with the matter said Apple has put significant resources into designing and programming the device so that it is intuitive to share. This person said Apple has experimented with the ability to leave virtual sticky notes on the device and for the gadget to automatically recognize individuals via a built-in camera. It’s unclear whether these features will be included at launch,” Kane and Smith report.

“Apple has also been planning a revamp of its iTunes music service by creating a Web-based version of it that could launch as soon as June, say people familiar with the matter. Tentatively called iTunes.com, the service would allow customers to buy music without going through the specialized iTunes program on computers and iPhones,” Kane and Smith report. “People familiar with Apple’s plans say a central part of the new strategy is to populate as many Web sites as possible with ‘buy’ buttons, integrating iTunes transactions into activities like listening to Internet radio and surfing review Web sites.”

Full article, which also claims that Apple is “in serious discussions with Microsoft Corp. to incorporate its Bing search engine into the iPhone as the default search and map technologies,” here.

MacDailyNews Take: Uh, no. We don’t care who they are; short of Steve Jobs walking in here to give us a personal demo, somebody can “share” (read: smear their greasy fingers all over) our Apple tablets when they pry them from our cold dead hands. We don’t even like people looking at our iPhones, much less smearing their H1N1-encrusted fingers all over them. Get your own tablets!

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Jack F.” for the heads up.]

33 Comments

  1. Those people say that those familiar with Apple’s plans for the device, say that these people are familiar with the situation and add that there are people familiar with the situation, that there are people that are also familiar with the gadget.

  2. There seem to be an aweful lot of people familiar with Apple’s plans and new products, and they seem to be very chatty. Why can’t some familiar with the situation actually provide some useful information, like a video of the product actually working, instead of just repeating rumors we have already heard?

  3. “For classrooms, Apple has been exploring electronic-textbook technology, these people add.”

    Full Sail university has already converted to electronic textbooks. A tablet that would make a textbook more readable would probably be rapidly adopted by this progressive institution (they already provide MacBooks to all students). The outrageous cost of textbooks would make a tablet very attractive–assuming the cost was substantially less than a laptop–as it should be.

  4. @justme2

    Stickies still lives on as a current app for OS X Snow Leopard. Look in your Applications folder.

    That said, this tablet is not going to be like any old tablet. This will be a complete reinvention of the conventional thinking. I love how they sidestep the business market and focus on home and education. That’s really what is going to make this a success, as it has with their past products.

    For iTunes.com… makes sense. One day many moons ago, Steve Jobs said that website-based music stores “sucked”. Well, iTunes.com will be the reinvention of that, thanks largely to their Webkit project pushing web innovation

  5. I reckon the iPad will open and shut like a paper book,
    around vertical hinges, instead of the horizontal hinges
    like a Mac Book Air.
    The reader will be able to rapidly scroll back and forth through the
    pages of book, simply by swiping fingers back and forth across
    the screen, thus emulating the way one thumbs through a
    paper book.
    Finished reading—just close it like a normal book.
    ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”rolleyes” style=”border:0;” />

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