Above: The iPhone unveiled, 2007 (part 1). More Apple keynote videos after the jump below.
Well, it’s finally Tablet Week.
After months and months of hype and speculation and rumor and threat of lawsuits, it’s finally here. On Wednesday, Apple will announce its “latest creation,” most likely a touchscreen tablet computer (most likely called an iPad) along with possibly new details of the latest iPhone OS, maybe (but probably not) a new 4G iPhone and (most likely this year but probably not tomorrow) a new version of iTunes that puts your entire music library in the cloud.
It’s a tall order for Apple, whose fan base expects each big keynote to deliver more than the last. And considering Apple’s track record of innovation in the last 10 years or so, expectations are justifiably high.
Gizmodo's oft-posted Apple Tablet mockup
And Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ tablet (or iPad, or iSlate, or “new” iBook, whatever) has the potential to be another iPod/iPhone-class disruptor, a device that literally Changes Everything. (Jobs apparently believes it’s the “best thing he’s ever done”.) It’s a device that aims at the heart of most major media sectors: software, book publishing, video games, music, movies, TV, newspapers and magazines. It might even alter how we physically interact with computers, depending on what innovations it contains in its user interface, most likely dominated more multi-touch enhancements.
Or, Apple will show up, unveil iPhone 3Gses in assorted colors, “Thanks, that’s all folks,” show’s over and the Internet explodes. Which would be nearly as entertaining!
But seriously, an Apple tablet on Wednesday is a high probability. On Monday, Jobs even commented that the company is “starting this week with a major new product.”
The Classic Keynote
So what market is Apple going for with its tablet? Netbooks? E-readers? Laptops? Portable gaming devices? The answer is probably a mash-up of all of the above, with emphasis on the portability of netbooks and the functions of an e-reader.
In fact, one can imagine the classic Jobs keynote unfolding on Wednesday, where Jobs talks about the current marketplace for both devices, runs through their limitations and shortcomings, and remarks how ugly and cheap those devices are before unveiling his solution: the powerful, elegant, multimedia powerhouse that will be the tablet.
The business models behind the device might be just as compelling, particularly to publishers and developers. Will this device be backed by an ecosystem that allows magazines, books and newspapers to thrive digitally? Will the software’s capabilities add to a publisher’s toolkit, allowing him to create truly interactive, valuable electronic products that finally justify the price of purchase or advertising?
The New York Times has details today:
It will run all the applications of the iPhone and iPod Touch, have a persistent wireless connection over 3G cellphone networks and Wi-Fi, and will be built with a 10-inch color display, allowing newspapers, magazines and book publishers to deliver their products with an eye to the design that had grabbed readers in print.
Whatever Apple unveils on Wednesday, it’ll be another chance at seeing some truly great innovations, leaps in hardware and software that soon reach down into our everyday lives.
To get you ready for Wednesday, we’ve posted videos of some of Jobs’ most notable keynotes, including the first iMac, the first iPod and the Mac Mini, after the jump. Boom.