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The Nillabyte Perspective: Technology

Apple Mac Tablet To Compete Directly With Amazon's Kindle?

Rumored details have been emerging regarding the fabled Apple Mac tablet. Some details are more of the same and other details are laugh-worthy hokum. But finally, there is speculation that actually points to a specific purpose and market for an Apple tablet.

As I have stated previously I am skeptical of the success of any tablet from any company. Tablets generally do the same tasks as laptops, but less effectively and at a greater price. There is a small niche market, such as architects and other artistic jobs, that may benefit from tablet computing, but because of the small target market of such users, Apple would have very little to benefit by producing a typical tablet. Because of this, I have always concluded that the rumored Apple tablet isn't going to be a tablet, and I have beaten anxiously awaiting news on what the main purpose of the speculated device may be.

Gizmodo offers, in my opinion, the best speculation on Apple's "tablet" saying that it is designed primarily for digital reading—textbooks, magazines, newspapers, novels, etc. This would make it a competing device for Amazon's Kindle reader. Not to say that the Mac tablet would be just for reading books and articles, it would likely have iPod touch functionality, making it more appealing than the Kindle which currently has a black and white screen.

Many students would benefit from a digital reader that would allow them to carry all their text books in a single, light, and portable device. And having a distribution method via iTunes would make text book shopping a much easier process. But will this justify the rumored high price? Personally, I feel that $599 - $799 for a 10" iPod touch type of a device is too much for what it does, or doesn't, do. A device with a 10" screen can't fit into your pocket very well and if you had to carry it around in a backpack, you may as well go for a fully functional laptop.

Although I think the speculated price tag is far too high, I do think the e-reader idea is interesting. Based on that, this Apple tablet really isn't going to be a tablet computer, but rather a large iPod touch with an e-reader focus.


  1. Mitchy's Avatar
    The idea is nice, but I don't think its going to work if it is $599. Students live month to month and shelling out $600 for the device and then all the money to get all the e-text-books would drain a students wallet into oblivion. Some hardcore Apple fans will get it, and I'm sure it will be useful, but I don't think very many people have extra money laying around to spend on this companion type device.
  2. Antonio's Avatar
    Graduate students might find this product more appealing (depending on the discipline) than undergraduate students. They typically do a great deal amount of travel and taking out a laptop to read journal articles (usually in pdf) and take notes is not always practical (think about being on public transportation while trying to type). A tablet (with a stylus) lets one do this best assuming the user can alternate between the pdf and whatever program you are using to take notes. The other caveat is that syncing this program with your computer, so that notes can transfer over.
    Of course, apple shouldn't stop their. Put all the media capabilities on their too. Itunes, DVD player, etc. And be sure to include bluetooth capability so there's no need to put down the tablet to answer the phone. Instead you should be able to answer and make phone calls and send texts through the tablet itself.


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