Jason Snell at Macworld opines on the possibility of Apple selling reading content on the mythical forthcoming Apple tablet. Overall, I pretty much agree Jason’s assessment, but the whole discussion raises another question in my mind. I’m perplexed by the fact that the bulk of the tech media seems to have latched onto the idea that this mythical Apple tablet is going to be about e-reading in general, or that it will be targeted specifically to compete with the Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble Nook.
The Kindle and Nook, and the other minor players in the e-reader space run for around two to three hundred dollars per unit, or approximately the cost of an iPhone or iPod Touch. Does anyone really see Apple releasing a new, larger, e-reading focused device at that price point? I sure as hell don’t. Additionally, as Jason points out, there are already several very well done e-reading solutions for the Mac OS (desktop and Touch versions) that have access to a wealth of content, including the full libraries accessible to the Kindle and Nook.
My wild-ass suspicion is that, assuming the Apple tablet is actually real, e-reading will be a small component of its feature-set; with music and video taking the larger role. iTunes LP and iTunes Extra spring to mind as much more compelling demonstrations of a tablet form-factor device to the general market. To take my suspicions into complete fantasy land. I’m betting that we see initial roll-out of the iTablet including a few (or perhaps even just one) select 3rd party e-reader applications, with full access to the App Store coming at a later date; perhaps coinciding with the release of iPhone OS 4.0.