Apple's "Come see our latest creation" event (Jan 28, 2010) is less than a week away, and rumors and soaring higher than ever. As with any other major Apple announcement (read: iPhone), rumors soar to the point where you don't know what to believe any more. The revolutionary iSlate device is supposed to change the market, as the iPhone did. Given Apple's track record of successful products, this will be one them (especially in the multi-touch department).
iPhone on Steroids
Nobody REALLY knows what Apple's hiding up their sleeve, but it most likely has to do with eReaders, portable computing beyond the Mobile Phone level, and a completely new way of consuming media.
An article from the Business Insider reported that Apple has had talks with NYT, WSJ, Conde Nast, Harper Collins and so forth about content distribution. On top of readable media, Apple's also interested in mixing video into the picture, which may be great for those on the go, provided there will be fantastic battery life. And as you may figure, Apple's definitely dabbling on the gaming side as well, teaming up with EA to show off what it can do.
Now, this is starting to sound a bit familiar, right? Yes, the iPhone. Just like how the iPhone introduced a new wave of portable computing and data consumption, Apple is aiming to do the same with the iSlate. They already have an established App Store, a fantastic base of developers, and a loyal user base. There's no better time to try and pitch a new product to those looking for the next greatest thing.
I read somewhere a long time ago that the display technology for this device was going to be revolutionary. If Apple is targeting both traditional media AND digital media consumers, they better have a screen that works superbly well for both tasks. It's one thing to introduce a fantastic new way of interaction with a device, but if you can't look at what you're doing for a long period of time, it goes to waste. Read on for more...
Currently, I'd say that Barnes & Noble's Nook is the coolest eReader on the market -- 2 screens, Android OS, huge development potential. Apple's "reader" would surpass anything on the market with App development for the iSlate device, which would then have people question the life of its competition.
Amazon recently announced the Kindle App Store, but it's currently limited to selected partners. With the eInk technology the Kindle uses, it's purely limited to text-based apps, so I don't understand what EA will try to pull out of their ass to make a game (Sudoku?). Unless the Kindle has some hidden secret powers, I don't see how Apps are going to succeed.
Speaking of App Store and apps in general, people are asking whether existing iPhone apps will be upscalable to run on the iSlate. My guess is no. It just doesn't make sense to take existing apps and simply enlarge them to bit a bigger and higher quality screen. I do, however, think Apple will provide the tools necessary to make it easy for developers to create modified versions of their software.
On numerous accounts, it has been reported that the device will have amazing new multi-touch abilities. It's hard to imagine what this could translate into, judging on the fact that the iPhone and MacBook touchpads have fantastic multi-touch as it is. I don't think the public is quite ready for the type of technology we've seen in Minority Report and Avatar, yet.
However, a fantastic interface design would do. Incorporating existing multi-touch technologies would successfully drive forward an interface designed with the user in mind. Regardless of the technologies being used, a user's likability of a product is primarily determined by their experience. And Apple knows how to provide a good experience.
Apple products get thinner and thinner for every major update/release, but not necessarily weaker. Apple's unibody architecture has served the notebook line very well, and I am sure the same level of build quality will be put into the iSlate. But, what about the display? If it's glass, it WILL crack because a bigger display can be damaged more easily. So, what will it be?