Commentary: Apple’s rumored tablet may write next chapter in publishing

I love Apple and the hysteria surrounding tomorrow’s media event, allegedly announcing a new tablet or slate device.

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-ct-apple25-2010jan25,0,1757881.story

Here is my wish list:

1. A thoroughly modern update of the PowerBook Duo laptop (1992-97). While you could use this ultra-light laptop anywhere, it was designed to slide into the Duo Dock, which connected to a large screen, full keyboard, mouse, printer, etc. Modernizing this could be a “tablet” notebook based on iPhone OS that not only runs all the current apps, but also a full suite of content-creation applications -> iWork 2010 and iLife 2010. This effectively could replace the MacBook, leaving the MacBook Pro running OSX. Use this new device wherever you are, and sync/hook up to large screen and cornucopia of peripherals.

2. I would love to switch from print to digital for reading “newspapers” and “magazines,” but netbooks don’t suffice. Mostly because I don’t want to lose the user experience of efficiently flying through pages, sections; making notes and sharing; and saving “issues” for at least a few days. Reading the New York Times on a netbook was painfully slow, and I don’t need a regular keyboard when sitting on my couch when simply consuming content. The keyboard just gets in the way.

3. This device would have to be perfectly comfortable to hold while sitting down and standing. It can’t be too heavy. And the ergonomics, assuming a tablet design, have to accommodate my thumbs in front without blocking the screen.

4. For comfortable portability, this device needs to be obscenely durable. At least it’s designed to withstand drops like my iPhone does. But I want to be really blown away. Could it be flexible, allowing me to roll or fold it?

5. Like the iPod, this device has to be part of a new business model that makes buying content stupidly easy. The iTunes service will, of course, encompass new kinds of content. Further, Apply may want/need to rename iTunes to more fully reflect what’s for sale.

6. Apple could “go” social. Imagine the power of iTunes including a recommendation engine that reads your content Ratings and is tied to your social networks. Further, iTunes could have an open API that connects to your reviews on Netflix, etc.

7. Another exciting possibility is hooking up such a device to your TV as a supercharged AppleTV – which Apple execs had been saying still needed a business model. I’ve been saying that AppleTV becomes much more useful and exciting if based on the iPhone OS, essentially being a higher-capacity iPod Touch. All the apps become available on your TV, including all those amazing accelerometer-based games!

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