After Apple made iTunes, it soon became quite clear that it was the best place to sell music digitally. The store became so very important that it ended up playing a major role in helping the music industry get digital and get online. Now, Apple is looking to pull up another struggling industry into the digital age – the print industry.
Currently, the only comparable stores are owned by Amazon and Barnes and Noble. But they are not nearly comprehensive enough to buoy up the industry. If Apple has its way, we will have everything from newspapers and periodicals to graphic novels and literary criticism available on the iTunes store. Okay, so that last one might take time to arrive on iTunes but the buzz created by Apple’s (not so) covert activities point towards such things happening.
Right after the rock n’ roll event, Steve Jobs was interviewed by David Pogue where Steve was asked directly about eBook-readers. What Steve said in response was interpreted as him saying a flat no. That is what it seemed like after Pogue re-wrote the interview.
But then techcrunch dug up the cached version of the transcription that Pogue had originally posted before the re-write. And as they rightly point out – Steve is not saying that Apple will not partake in the eBook market.
Instead, he is actually saying that Apple is not interested in making a dedicated device like the Kindle and that general purpose devices will ultimately be the norm in the future. That is a nice way of saying “We are making a general purpose device that will own all such dumb devices (like iPhone owns other smartphones).” [read]
This small event set off a big round of speculations in the tech world. Tyerese Gibson’s Mayhem became available on iTunes for $1.99 in the iTunes LP rich media format.
The speculation was that this was just a test. The tools created by Apple for this job are likely to become the base for the tools that will be given to other such authors to ready their material for the iTunes stores. Logically, the iTunes LP/Extras format is the prefect medium for this kind of content. But Apple is might even tweak it further before it is deemed fit for most of what print media has to offer. [read]
After the iPod haze lifted, there was the Gizmodo article on Apple’s activities with the top rung of the publishing industry. This included editors, owners and others who were apparently being briefed about a new device. Word was that they were also having extensive meetings regarding selling their content on this new device/platform. [read]
This is a more recent slip leak where the venerable Bill Keller, executive editor of New York Times, slipped the words Apple Slate during an internal meeting with the newspaper’s digital team. The video was never meant to be seen by the public but this was too tantalizing to be kept under wraps I suppose. He mentioned the device as impending and probably gave the closest thing to an official confirmation of the existence of the Apple Tablet.
And here’s the latest bit of relevant rumor. A newspaper in Australia reports that Apple has contacted various media companies in the country about a new device. It wants to know if the companies would be interested in selling their content on this new device. The new device is portable (duh) and is described as being too big for the pocket but small enough for a handbag.
None of the companies have commented on this and if they know what’s good for them, none of them will till the embargo is lifted. [read]
Both Apple and Microsoft had envisioned a future where tablets rule the world. Bill Gates had famously said that people will go back to the pen very soon. Well, that did not happen but we did see both companies trying.
Apple had their Newton pad and Microsoft had ideas. Nothing really worked out. The ideas were too far beyond the capabilities of consumer tech at that point.
Now however, in the post-iPhone world, the idea of owning and using a tablet is completely plausible and it is possible too. Along with that, the eBook market is really heating up. Judging by the sheer number of new and under-development eBook readers we have seen recently, it is obvious that everyone sees opportunity here.
Apple has never really been the type to jump in medias res. Instead, the company has tirelessly developed and tested out products to make them perfect in every possible way and then released it. Of course, nothing will ever be perfect but the first iPhone did blow everyone away. A few product cycles down, the iPhone 3GS is the hottest thing around.
So my guess is that when Apple releases their tablet/slate early next year (and we are pretty sure they will), it will be another game changing device. If you are still skeptical, see me after the launch.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.