Apple marketing machine has been working in overdrive by continually circulating tablet rumours. Everywhere you go (technology wise) you are bound to hear speculation on what the damn thing is. I can’t wait utill Jan 26 when they finally announce it so we can all be over it.

This Week in Tech has a dedicated half hour every show for the past two months about the iSlate and that’s getting a bit nauseating. I commend Valleywag for making light of the situation.

Now that I offloaded my disgust at the hype around the device I can offer my 2c. The two things that make this a non-niche device are:

  • Haptic display that will give you feedback when you touch it. This, IMHO, will make more-than-two-finger typing somewhat feasible.
  • A hybrid LCD/E-Ink display as suggested by Techdirt. Combining high-contrast and low battery consumption of E-Ink with versatility of LCD can make such hybrid an absulute killer.

As far as I am concerned if the device is less groundbreaking than the above, it’ll flop. I think that in order for Apple to pull this off, the device has to be perceived as the technology of the future, even though the original product is ordinary.

I also think that the hardware itself has to be innovative. There has been a bit of a murmour that the success will depend on the content deals Apple makes for this device. I think that’s less relevant. The content availability hasn’t made the Apple TV successful and I think that because there wasn’t much innovation in the device. It’s almost as though the device needs to be able to play stuff that wasn’t bought through the store (read pirated) easily in order for it to be successful.

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18 January 2010