In January 2007, Apple announced the iPhone. Pitched as a breakthrough internet device, it kicked up media & consumer frenzy for a good 6 months. When the iPhone was finally launched in June 2007, the consumer anticipation was so high that people lined up days ahead of the launch to buy it. The pre-launch hype generated millions of dollars of publicity for Apple and the iPhone. Are we seeing history repeat itself with the much-speculated Apple Tablet? Just as with the iPhone not an official word from Apple yet but a lot of buzz already.
Source: Geek & Poke
There are many theories floating around as to what exactly the device can do. Will it change the we consume digital media? Will it change the rules of the e-books game? Is it a gaming device? Speculations abound. The best read I have come across thus far on the Apple Tablet is this one from Farhad Manjoo from Slate Magazine. In an insightful piece on how the Apple Tablet is best placed to change computing as we know it, he takes a leaf from the iPhone book:
The most revolutionary thing about Apple’s phone wasn’t its sleek case or the multitouch gestures, but the artful way in which it hid nearly every bit of complexity behind a display of easy-to-understand icons. The iPhone contains no visible “directory structure.” Your music is not in a particular place on your phone; it’s just on your phone, and you get to it by launching the music player. Other than charging it, the iPhone requires no maintenance. Backups and OS upgrades occur automatically, and because all programs are approved by Apple (and because even third-party programmers aren’t given deep access to the phone), you never have to worry about malware. And look how easy it is to install a program: Choose one from the store, press “Install,” and type in your password to authorize the purchase—and that’s it. The iPhone doesn’t ask you where you want to put the new program, or how you’d like to launch it, and whether you’d like it to be the default program for doing a particular kind of task. It just puts up a little icon on the screen. To run the program, click the icon. To do something else, hit the home button.
My 4-year old daughter flips through the iPod Touch like a pro and even manages to find her way through to the Space Monkey game. As mentioned in Cult of Mac, the iPhone is so easy to use that even toddlers use it.
The Apple Tablet is speculated to use a special version of the iPhone operating system labeled OS 3.2 focusing on news, books and streaming music and radio. It is also believed (conjectured?) to enable easy sharing of stuff among friends and across social networks. Leading from the iPhone experience, this is best suited to be a computer for the rest of us. I believe Apple & Steve Jobs will definitely have more up their sleeve than a mere e-book reader or a tablet computer. What will it be? A breakthrough computing device? I am going to be glued to Engadget or Gizmodo tomorrow evening from about 11pm IST to find out.