Technology blogs have been buzzing with supposed facts about a new Apple “tablet” to be announced Jan. 26 (at the Apple developer event). The name–“iSlate.” Well, I doubt that it is a tablet “PC.” I mean, I’d love to have a tablet that I could carry on airplanes and at conferences rather than my somewhat heavier MacBook.
In fact, for years I used Palm devices much like a tablet. I had Word to Go and Excel to Go and could input reasonably fast with the Grafitti handwriting application. But Palm wanted to play in smartphones. It left the tablet/PDA market behind. Then, it couldn’t execute a decent smartphone. My museum has three generations of Treos to prove it. I’d love for Apple to do a tablet, but I don’t expect it. Input is too difficult, yet, evidently, in order to catch on with huge numbers of customers. The number of people who would use something like me probably numbers in low 4 digits–to small to bother with.
What made the iPod go? Try iTunes. Then apps. What made the iPhone go? Apps. (Plus great design, of course.) What’s the latest fad? Electronic book readers. Who’s the leader? Amazon–who just happens to sell books. What if you had a larger iPod Touch, with not only iTunes but iBooks and iMovies and iTV and iMagazines and … well you get the picture. Plus it has WiFi and perhaps even 3G/4G?
I have not bought a Kindle. I read lots of books. I’ve only seen one in all of my travels–and the guy only read on it for about 15 minutes. But several people I follow on Twitter swear by them. Maybe I’ve figured it out.
There are two or three types of reading I do. First is light reading for entertainment–novels, mysteries and the like. These would be ideal for an iBook. Except I do very little of this proportionately to other reading. The second type is a large variety of magazines. I hate the “flip book” technology that we all want you (the reader) to switch to in order to save much money in the form of printing, paper and postage (oops, I mean save the environment by trading in a renewable resource–trees–for a non-renewable one–electronics). Maybe I’d read magazines in that format if there was a way to “cut” an article out that I wanted to save. I’m not sure that reproducing the complete magazine experience with ads would work, though, and that’s a catch. Magazines need ads for income. The third reading type I indulge in is reading for learning. I underline, make comments, outline and otherwise live in these books. I’m not sure that an electronic book would work for that.
So, for 2 out of 3 and a sexy platform, maybe I’d get an iSlate (or whatever). But it would be just one more thing to carry around (and not be able to read during the last hour of the return from my next trip to Europe).
Oh, and Amazon loads in plenty of DRM restrictions on its books–and I guess you can’t transfer from one device to another. That’s something Apple has figured out with iTunes. Jobs knows how to negotiate.