Thursday, February 11, 2010

Is Apple's Tablet Unpalatable?

So we return to the iPad and its Flash denial and current Camera shy offer. It has certainly stirred the market, but will Appleworld, its geek following and its renown agoraphobia be enough to compete?

We now find ourselves with yet another proprietary and restrictive world for books. Apple may support ePub but only their way. We will have yet another locked DRM ironically named ‘Fair Play’, which could mean Appleworld books are restricted to iPhone, iPad and iTouch. Not exactly the interoperable world that many have campaigned for and we all seek and probably even more restricted than Amazon’s much derided position. We effectively will have a common epub format restricted into different worlds, but who cares when Apple has the Midas touch, Google aspires not be evil and Amazon has to be brought down to size. Maybe a bookseller will feature somewhere?

"You know, I'm a big believer in touch and digital reading, but I still think that some mixture of voice, the pen, and a real keyboard—in other words a netbook—will be the mainstream on that," says Bill Gates on the iPad.

It appears the Appleworld is based on the content as well as designer touch. The worlds of iTunes, IBookstore and what maybe iTV.

It is strongly rumoured that a new TV pricing scheme is being formulated by Apple to offer US production houses TV shows to consumers for less than a dollar. Apple currently offers TV shows for $1.99 for standard-definition episodes and $2.99 for high-definition episodes. For an entire season, consumers might pay $49.99 in high-definition for a popular television series. The new price is very likely to be that famed 99c. The price is aimed at driving more consumers to buy the iPad and enjoy music, games, Tv and books all price pointed to attract and where possible locked to Appleworld.

Microsoft has not laid down and has announced Windows 7 based tablets from partners such as the HP Slate, Archos 9 and Acer. Asus has announced their “killer product” which is due in June. The Archos 9 PC Tablet is claimed to be the thinnest tablet on the market. The interesting thing is that when a tablet runs on Windows 7 it means it can run anything that can run on a Windows computer. Another tablet is the JooJoo by Fusion Garage, a Singapore based company. Originally called the CrunchPad it was designed to be a complete web browsing tablet.Then there is the Adam Tablet from Notion Ink, which will come with Google’ Android operating system so offering a different perspective.

Finally, Panasonic is launching a industrial strength tablet built for the tough life of supporting maintenance, law enforcement and field sales workers, which is hardly for the designer ‘media luvvie’ and comes at a 'tough' $3,379 price.

The big question is whether we are really heading towards tablet take-over or to a bigger cloud game in the sky and a different consumption model for media and access. Who will get the consumer time when games, video, TV,music and books sit side by side on the same device in full colour, stereo and animation?

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