Apple envisions Tablet as family device; Planning web based version of iTunes

Wed, Jan 20, 2010

News, Rumors

Over the past few months, the WSJ has had a number of Apple related scoops pertaining to anything from the iPhone to the health concerns surrounding Steve Jobs. Often times, these scoops are nothing more than controlled leaks disseminated out into the public by the puppet masters at Apple.

A few weeks ago, John Matellaro detailed how Apple goes about “leaking” information to the press. Some of the hallmarks of an Apple leak, Martellaro said, were the use of multiple authors and a publish time well after the close of the stock market. And lo and behold, that’s exactly what we saw tonight with a juicy Wall Street Journal article detailing Apple’s efforts to market its forthcoming Tablet for a variety of different uses.

Citing the ever-popular “people familiar with the situation”, the report notes Apple developed the Tablet with a focus on how it might be used in the home and in the classroom. Interestingly, Apple doesn’t necessarily envision the Tablet as singularly personal device, but instead views it as something that might be used by a number of different family members to “read news and check email in homes.” And though it probably won’t end up in the Tablet (at least in the first iteration), the WSJ notes that Apple experimented with camera technology that would be enable the device to recognize individual faces, and presumably adjust the user experience accordingly.

As for what the Tablet might be used for, Apple has been talking to publishers over the past few months to gauge their interest in providing content for the mythical product, with some even speculating that the recent decision of the New York Times to implement a metered payment system for its online content is connected with the impending Tablet announcement from Apple. When reached for comment by the WSJ on the matter, Times chairman Arthur Sulzberger cryptically responded, “Stay tuned.”

The people familiar with the matter say Apple has also been looking at how content from newspapers and magazines can be presented differently on the tablet. Other people briefed on the device say the tablet will come with a virtual keyboard.

One of the more curious and intriguing nuggets of info is the mention that Apple is planning to create a web based version of iTunes that would allow users to purchase content via the web without first needing an iTunes account. Also in the works is a plan to deeply integrate iTunes links in as many places on the web as possible.

People familiar with Apple’s plans say a central part of the new strategy is to populate as many Web sites as possible with ‘buy’ buttons, integrating iTunes transactions into activities like listening to Internet radio and surfing review Web sites.

This strategy, though, isn’t entirely new as integration with iTunes can already be seen on websites like YouTube and the music streaming site Pandora.

The WSJ article also reaffirms a previous report stating that Apple has been negotiating with television networks in an effort to establish a subscription service for media content via iTunes

… Apple pitched media companies on a “best of TV” subscription service to television networks under which customers would pay a monthly fee for on-demand access to programs from a bundle of participating TV networks, giving consumers another way to readily access TV content.

At a meeting in New York with one network in October, an Apple executive said the company was specifically looking to access four to six shows per channel, said one person familiar with the meeting.

And finally, the report corroborates previous reports that Apple is also looking to position the Tablet as a viable alternative to textbooks.


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1 Comments For This Post

  1. Gary Says:

    What I see happening here is that Apple is creating a whole new class of computers, all running on the same Touch Operating System. It is now just the iPhone OS but it will soon evolve to include a whole new class of controlled content computers with touch screens. iPhone, 10″iPad, iPod Touch, 5″iPod, 7″iPad, 22″iTouch Desktop and more all running the same Touch OS. All content will come from iTunes: Music, Newspapers, Magazines, Books, Text Books, Movies, TV Shows, and Apps.

    iTunes will keep all the media and apps you own in the cloud for you to access from any of your devices. You will be able to add content to your iTunes account from anywhere on the internet. If you want the latest copy of Sports Illustrated, there will be a iTunes button right on Sports Illustrated’s web site. Just click on the button, enter your iTunes password and you own it. You can then access it from your desktop computer, iPhone, iPad, laptop, or connected TV. They will offer very easy integration with all Apple hardware and they will make it more difficult (but not impossible) to access your iTunes content from non Apple hardware, as we have seen playing out with the Palm Pre.

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