this month, on tuesday, january 26th to be precise, Apple is expected to announce the next revolutionary product in the tradition of the iPhone or iPod: a tablet computer that will change the world and an industry the way the iPhone and iPod have. i want to publish some thoughts and predictions before the announcement.
it looks like it will be called the iSlate, be about 10 inches long (looking like an oversized iPod touch), and have a touch screen (with no physical keyboard), a front facing camera, an SD card slot, wifi connectivity, and possibly 3g data connectivity as well. it will not have an optical drive (dvd player). it will be all touch screen, and a touch keyboard will appear on the screen when needed. (there are even rumors that the screen will change and grow bumps for the keyboard for tactile feedback, apple has a patent for that, but i doubt it will appear on the first generation device.)
it will have a new OS, somewhere between the iPhone OS and mac OSX, with new multi-touch features. the interface will be amazing, revolutionary, like nothing we've seen in any other device. you will use only your fingers to write, draw, drag, resize, and everything else.
the iSlate will function as a basic computer, allowing for word processing and photo display, as an internet device for surfing the web, downloading and streaming audio and video, and video conferences. but the killer app, the real reason it will be revolutionary, is that it will be an eReader.
everyone is familiar with eReaders these days, from the amazon kindle to the barnes and noble nook. it's a device that lets you read books or newspapers on a portable device by downloading them from the internet.
when the iSlate comes out, it will make the kindle look like the other mp3 players looked when the iPod came out. cheap, ugly and junky.
and the iSlate will revolutionize the publishing industry the way that the iPod revolutionized the music industry and the iPhone revolutionized the smartphone industry. in fact, it will just about save the newspaper industry.
you will be able to buy subscriptions to newspapers and magazines, have them automatically downloaded to your iSlate, and read them when you want. unlike the current eReaders, it will be in full color. these tablet editions of periodicals will contain the full text of the print editions, in a very easy to read format, with full color, interactive moving videos and charts. you can read the periodicals in any order, or in the same order as the print edition. pictures will spring to life as videos. diagrams and charts will be animated and interactive. and because the screen will be so bright and beautiful, they'll be able to use the same font size as in the printed edition.
and this time, apple has been proactive. they have been secretly working with publishers for a couple years, so that content will be available immediately. they saw what happened to the music industry with the iPhone, and they don't want to be left behind this time, so they are already working on content. here is an example from sports illustrated. as you can see, it's just like the magazine, only more so.
the idea of a portable electronic newspaper has been science fiction until now, but the iSlate will make it real, in a most beautiful way. people will once again read newspapers, and magazines will take on a new life. and the publishing industry will be forever changed.
you heard it here first, folks!