The whispers have been getting louder lately that Apple will be be announcing the long-rumored Tablet next month at its September keynote.
We have all learned that these rumors are often wrong and Apple moves at its own pace, but the idea of an Apple Tablet with a 10 inch touch-screen--effectively an iPhone with a large screen--is so intriguing that it's hard for a blogger like to me to ignore. That's why I've come up with a list of five reasons you'll want to own this baby if in fact it ever comes to fruition.
1. Super eBook Reader
As I wrote about in Apple eBook Reader Could Change Everything, a tablet could be Apple's entree into the eBook market. When interface guru, Jakob Nielsen analyzed the Kindle, he wrote that the interface was great for book reading, but it failed as an internet device. An Apple Tablet would be the best of both worlds. Folks already use the iPhone as an eBook reader, although the screen size makes it a bit uncomfortable reading for a long period of time. The Tablet would provide that larger form for more comfortable reading and it's an Apple, so you know the display and interface would be superb.
2. Watching Videos
On a recent plane trip, I used my iPhone to watch TV shows I had downloaded from the iTunes Store. I found it surprisingly comfortable watching video, but the screen is small for extended viewing and the battery life is less than optimal. Watching content like TV shows on a 10 inch Apple Tablet would be an infinitely better experience. I would hope a Tablet would come with similar long-life battery technology as the new Mac Book Pros that would enable you to watch video for 6-8 hours, rather than the couple of hours you are limited to on the iPhone.
Along with the Tablet, the Apple Netbook has been a persistent rumor even though Steve Jobs has said he doesn't want to attack the low end of the market. As my son pointed out to me recently, the 10 inch screen would be large enough, so you could have the touch screen keyboard along the bottom of it, providing a way to type in a natural fashion without an external keyboard. But if Apple really wanted to make this a portable computer, they would let third-party manufacturers develop a wireless external keyboard.
4. Business Device
The Tablet PC business never took off the way people expected, but it did find its niches. For instance, my doctor carries around a bulky Tablet PC to do his work. Wouldn't the job be infinitely simpler with a light-weight, thin 10 inch device? The Apple Tablet would provide all of the functionality in a much smaller footprint.
5. Gaming Device
The Apple iPhone has changed the gaming market as developers flock to the device to develop new games. A 10 inch Apple Tablet would give Apple a portable gaming device to rival Nintendo and Sony for the portable gaming device market.
Nobody really knows if Apple is planning such a device or if they are if the announcement is really coming next month, but for now it's fun to speculate what it would mean if they did.