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Annotation, subsidies could and should be Apple's 'killer apps'

High technology aside, the two great things about old-fashioned books are that they are cheap, and you can take notes in them. Can Apple's tablet offer both?

The Kindle: affordable, but poor at taking notes. Amazon

Though everyone has been thrilled about the possibilities of today's Apple tablet announcement, the functional purposes and affordability of such a device could be the biggest sticking points.

How much people will pay for a tablet seems predicated on how many devices they already own, and more importantly, how much an additional 3G data plan could cost for a device that wouldn't act as a phone for most people.

To this point, we wonder: could a publisher offer a subsidized Apple tablet to long-term subscribers of normally higher-cost publications such as newspapers or weekly magazines? If Apple's really supposed to be saving the future of print media, that seems like the best way to scratch both backs and make consumers more likely to buy. At the least, it seems like a better tactic than 3G subsidization, since 3G isn't necessary on a tablet device.

Also, in the world of education, can the tablet overcome issues the Kindle and other e-readers have faced regarding poor implementation of annotation? Coming up with a killer way to take notes, share thoughts, and gather research in your collection of books could be the biggest killer app of all.

Stay tuned.