Opinion: You should buy what Apple's selling

There is no hotter rumor right now than the content of the announcement Apple is set to make on January 27th, largely predicted to be a tablet computer device. For what it's worth, you might as well set that money aside--you will definitely want to buy it

There is no hotter rumor right now than the content of the announcement Apple is set to make on January 27th, largely predicted to be a tablet computer device. For what it's worth, you might as well set that money aside--you will definitely want to buy it.

There are so many takes on the Apple tablet rumors it is hard to know where to begin. I have read most of the top blog and rumor sites and I must say, I'm feeling the excitement. And you should too. The tablet is not only going to be a great gadget to kick off the new decade, but it will be yet another significant stepping stone in personal computing with an Apple logo on it.

In July of this year, when tablet rumors reached a fever pitch with many sources citing an October arrival to coincide with the Snow Leopard release, I wrote an article that outlined my version of the predictions being posted around the Web. Over six months later, let's see where those predictions stand against the latest rumors.

  1. 10-inch screen. Of all the reports floating around, this one seems to be the most solid. Perhaps it's simple deduction--Apple has a 13-inch MacBook and a 3.5-inch iPod touch/iPhone and they need a product in the middle. There are rumors of two separate devices with two separate screen sizes though.
  2. iPhone OS. I still think that the OS of this device will be closer to the iPhone than OS X, but I do like the idea that Apple will release a third major OS to compliment the device specifically. The upgraded version of the iPhone OS would be able to handle the increased computing power that the tablet would no doubt offer, allowing more robust applications to run (simultaneously). The UI design will be sure to take advantage of mobile entertainment, making the tablet a perfect traveling companion for watching movies, viewing your photographs, and yes, keeping up with your reading (e-books, e-magazines, and e-comics). Also, don't forget how well the new iTunes LP format will integrate with a touch screen UI.
  3. Hardware. Besides screen size, there are many hardware solutions to consider. As I stated in July, expect at least one (but probably two) USB port, a dock connector for third party hardware compatibility, and if we are lucky, an SDXC-compliant card slot (which would afford external storage capacities of up to 2TB). I see this device as a portable communicator as well, so expect a front-facing camera for chat sessions on the go.
  4. Price points. The other more agreed upon rumor is the pricing of the tablet. Most analysts have a contract-free device in the $800 range with subsidized tablets touting built-in 3G around $600. Look for Apple to open up the network possibilities and make good on some of those Verizon chit-chats they have been rumored to be having over the last few months.
Skeptics of the Apple tablet generally ask the very reasonable question, "who is buying this?" For my money, this is the perfect second computing option. I currently have a late-2007 15" MacBook Pro and an iPhone 3G. As a consumer, traveling can be more of a hassle than I would like. The MacBook Pro weighs in at over five pounds on its own and once you add the power cables, a case, and other accessories, my computer bag can be quite cumbersome. But, I need the computing power because my iPhone alone is not a great traveling media device (I have been the recipient of more than one neck cramp due to straining to get a good angle on watching the latest blockbuster) nor can it handle things like storing photographs I take.

So the tablet slips in that middle ground, offering powerful computing (I think an iLife/iWork Mobile application suite may be included) in a truly compact and easily portable form factor. And, as I mentioned in July, I think the business community really benefits from the tablet. Allowing third party hardware to interact with a tablet will allow all sorts of professions to expand their capabilities in accessing, storing, and assessing data.

So, now that you've read all the hype, start saving those extra coins and get ready to be in a long line the day Apple makes the tablet available. I will definitely be buying what Apple is selling. Will you?

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About the author

    Joe is a seasoned Mac veteran with years of experience on the platform. He reports on Macs, iPods, iPhones and anything else Apple sells. He even has worked in Apple retail stores. He's also a creative professional who knows how to use a Mac to get the job done.


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