Are we hyping up the Apple tablet into something it’s not?

Thu, Aug 20, 2009

Analysis, News

It’s widely believed that Apple will deliver a tablet sometime in early 2010, and even though the device’s specifications aren’t completely known, that hasn’t stopped analysts from talking about the millions of dollars in additional revenue that a tablet will bring in.

It’s easy, though, to get caught up in the hoopla surrounding an Apple tablet, which is why it might be a good idea to take a step back and ponder, “Are we hyping up the tablet into something it’s not?”

For whatever reason, people are looking at the Apple tablet as if it’s the second coming of the iPhone, both in terms of the financial success it will bring to Apple and in terms of its potential impact on the tech industry.  But the fact of the matter is that there’s a lot we don’t know about the tablet, and from the information that’s been reported, the tablet doesn’t seem worthy enough to warrant its rumored $600-$700 price tag.

Here’s what we “know” about the tablet.

By all accounts, the upcoming Apple tablet will sport a 10-inch multitouch screen with built-in 3G connectivity.  Okay, that’s a solid start.  But is a glorified iPod Touch with always on Internet that enticing for $700, especially when the number of places that offer free wi-fi these days seems to be increasing exponentially?

There’s got to be more, but as things tend to be with Apple rumors, there are a lot more questions than answers.

A constant question mark about the rumored tablet is whether it will run OS X, or perhaps a modified version of the iPhone OS.  And most recently, a report mentioned that Apple has been exploring ways to integrate the tablet as some sort of dual screen for Apple’s iMac and lineup of notebook computers.  But even assuming that the tablet will run OS X and will serve as a kick-ass second monitor for Mac owners, it’s still comes up short for its rumored price point.

A 10 inch screen is great, and will undoubtedly make watching videos and using applications a more enjoyable experience, but at 10 inches, the tablet is just a tad more portable than a small MacBook.  Size wise, it’s basically stuck in no-man’s land – not small enough to fit in your pocket, but not big or rugged enough to just toss in your backpack either.

And again, constant 3G Internet access is great, but that doesn’t constitute a “blockbuster” feature that would create lines around the block at Apple stores.

So taking that all in, we have to wonder if the Apple tablet will be a game changing device like the iPod and iPhone, or if it’ll be more like a hobby Apple tinkers around with like it does with the Apple TV.

We have to believe, though, that there’s more to this Apple tablet than meets the eye.  A lot more.  Previous tablet offerings have failed to impress consumers, and as opposed to other markets it’s entered (MP3 players, Smartphones), the tablet market doesn’t really exist on the scale that would warrant Apple’s involvement.  And the Apple TV aside, Apple simply doesn’t enter a market unless it feels that it can sell a significant number of units.  So if Apple does in fact release a tablet in 2010, it will only do so if it genuinely believes that it can push a ton of them out the door.  But to do that, it needs some sort of groundbreaking feature that we can’t quite put our finger on.  A large multitouch screen with 3G access is a good start, but that’s certainly not enough.

Rumors of an Apple tablet have abounded for years now, and Apple has reportedly scrapped and re-started the project on numerous occasions.  With that in mind, it seems a bit premature to start looking at an Apple tablet as the second coming of the iPhone.  As it stands now, an Apple tablet is a bunch of hype resting on scattered reports from rumor sites and financial projections from analysts.

An Apple tablet might very well be a cool and game changing product, but until we know more about it, it’s probably too soon to start singing its praises.

And lastly, we’d be remiss if we didn’t look back at the groundbreaking announcement of the iPhone at MacWorld in 2007.  Prior to Steve Jobs’ keynote, Apple sites were running wild with reports of a potentially new product called an “iPhone” – but no one was quite sure what features it would have.  Looking back, even the most optimistic and wildly imaginative mockups and descriptions of the iPhone paled in comparison to what Steve Jobs eventually introduced. While most people were thinking about how Apple might add a phone to an iPod, Apple was busy working on adding phone functionality to multitouch media and Internet device.

If an Apple tablet is going to succeed and sell, Jobs and company will have to come at it with a completely fresh take on the tablet, much like it did when it designed the iPhone.  But a revolutionary product like the iPhone doesn’t come around once every 3 years, or even once every 8 years.  So while we’d love to be proven wrong, we can’t help but wonder if rumors about the impending Apple tablet have gotten out of control.

What do ya’ll think?  Will an Apple tablet deliver the goods?  Or will it be a hyped up, yet still attractive, disappointment?  Hit us up in the comments below and fill us in!


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2 Comments For This Post

  1. Constable Odo Says:

    Of course, people are hyping the Apple tablet into something it is not. There is no Apple tablet. Apple never said there would be an Apple tablet. Due to the overripe imagination of a few bloggers or analysts, the tablet has become everything to Apple and Apple fanboys. Not one concrete shred of evidence or even consistent rumors indicate a tablet on the horizon. Just an order of 10″ displays from Wintek. That is pretty thin evidence of the rest of the package. Apple could be just building some standalone displays for retail advertising purposes.

  2. kl Says:

    Don’t forget that there are PC tablets, even with special version of windows, and nobody cares about them anymore.

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