10 December 2009

The Apple iTablet: should we believe the media?

It's been coming for years (apparently!) but according to today's Sydney Morning Herald, Apple is preparing to launch a tablet personal computer in late March or April 2010. It will be their launch into the digital book market which is controlled by Amazon's Kindle at present. The article said "Apple declined to comment". Is anyone surprised by that? Has anyone from Apple ever confirmed there is a tablet coming?! I'd have to dig around the web to find out the answer to that one....

, according to the "analyst" the tablet will have a 10.1-inch multi-touch LCD screen similar to that of Apple's iPhone. The books will sold on a non-exclusive basis and it seems they've requested only a 30% discount from the publishers as opposed to Amazon's 50% (which is pretty much the ballpark for the ebook vendors).

Interestingly, the SMH article didn't mention price. It was the cnet news that mentioned the $1000 price tag. (I'm assuming US dollars) OK, if it does lots of whizz bang things, including a fabulous experience with ebooks, would we be happy carrying around a device at that price tag day in, day out....?

Also, there is a big take-up of ebooks using the iPhone now. The head of one of the largest ebook vendors said to me recently that he reads everything now on the iPhone through the Stanza app. Absolutely addicted! I don't have an iPhone and while the screen is clean and it's easy to use, having the look and the feel of the traditional book is my preference. The larger screen works better for me. But he loved sharing his experience with me and I'm always open to everyone's reading experience whether it's e or p.

As I've said time and time again, consumers will read whatever way they want. Print, an e-reader, on their laptop, on their iPhone. And I still believe e and p can live in harmony. There will be a percentage of cannibilisation but I think it won't be anywhere near as high as 50%. And I still feel ebooks and ereaders will bring new readers into the book loving community. Anything that encourages people to read is surely a good thing?

But back to Apple, is it coming or isn't it? I can't help but think of those supply chain gurus at Frankfurt and the line they left us all with "It will be Apple, it will be cool, and everyone will want it". I wait for further news...

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