Apple's iSlate (or iTablet) is going to transform publishing

Here is a roundup of rumors about the new Apple tablet. Apple has announced a media event late this month, but is not saying what the announcement is about. Until very recently, most pundits were guessing Apple's table computer would not be announced until June of this year, but I think the increasing interest in the Google Android phone may have caused Apple to move up their announcement to suck all the oxygen out of the room and take the media focus off Android.

If that is Apple's strategy, it is likely to work. The iTablet or iSlate (nobody really knows what the final name will be) will relegate the Amazon Kindle and other bookreaders to strictly second tier status, much like the iPod put all other MP3 music players into a permanent also-ran status, and completely transformed the music industry.

There is still much debate about whether the new device will have an iPhone style interface or a Mac style interface, with the conventional wisdom betting on the iPhone. But what a lot of people forget is that it probably does not matter very much, because the iPhone is a Macintosh underneath. Every single iPhone has the full power of a desktop or laptop Macintosh. So the iSlate may look more like an iPhone, but as it evolves, Apple can easily and quickly add more functionality just by peeling away the cover on the hidden power.

Why is this device going to be revolutionary? It won't be just the technology--Microsoft has a tablet operating system for years. What Apple is likely to unveil along with the iTablet is a new section of the iTunes Store, stocked with magazines and newspapers. iSlate owners will be able to subscribe to a wide variety of publishing content and get the content wirelessly on their iSlate. This will save the rapidly collapsing magazine and newspaper businesses, which have been unable to find or build their way out of the two century old paper-based distribution model. With the cost of distribution of a newspaper or magazine slashed to nearly zero, papers and magazines will be able to focus on high quality writing and reporting, which is always in short supply.

As with other breakthrough Apple technologies, new kinds of opportunities will emerge quickly, creating new businesses and jobs where none existed before. One big sea change will be in higher ed, where colleges and universities that are smart will simply issue every student an iSlate on the first day of freshman year. Faculty will be able to provide their students with very high quality (book quality) class notes, multimedia presentations, and even administer tests via the iTablet. Can't they do all that now? Sure, but not with the kind of high quality interface and superb usability that the iSlate will bring. And textbook prices should come down, although some textbook publishers will resist.

The iTablet will allow new college textbook writers to enter the marketplace quickly and easily, just the way the iPhone App Store has created thousands of new software publishing businesses. Writing a textbook will no longer require years of negotiation with publishing houses still operating on a business model developed during the era of Charles Dickens. Instead, textbook writers will be able to market directly to faculty at colleges and universities, with the textbook distributed at very low cost via the iSlate Textbook Store.

The big, sheet of paper size screen of the iTablet will allow colleges and universities to create "virtual registrar" interfaces that will give students the ability to fill out and submit forms quickly and easily from anywhere, with much better interfaces and ease of use than Web forms (because of the direct input pen interface).

The iSlate will also boost TV show and movie sales, with the existing iTunes TV/movies section all ready to send video content directly to a large, comfortable, easy to watch screen.

Apple has been planning this for years. Note that Apple has had wireless keyboards and mice for some time, and continues to roll out improved wireless devices like the popular Magic Mouse. Prop the iTablet up on a desk, start typing away on your wireless keyboard, and you have most of the functionality of a laptop.

If the first decade of the 21st century was dominated by Apple and the iPod, the second decade will be dominated again by Apple with the iSlate. Stand by and watch the fun begin as the publishing world is turned upside down.

Knowledge Democracy:


i thing the itouch will be our survival for the future because because the nextel will just be stupid if the ipodtouch was a success then iff the itablet is more high tech then who would not want to buy it