Apple's recipe for 2010: Add iPhone, iPod to TV

Apple's recipe for 2010: Add iPhone, iPod to TV

Apple's recipe for 2010: Add iPhone, iPod to TV

Apple is expected to start the new year with the launch of its latest gadget: a tablet computer that will allow users to surf the web, watch TV shows and read the next generation in online magazines and newspapers.

Speculation is rife that the Californian technology group will unveil the device, which has no keyboard and resembles a large iPhone, at an event on 26 January in San Francisco. Some technology bloggers have already christened the touchscreen device the iSlate after it emerged that Apple has registered the internet domain name.

Apple has used the month of January to launch revolutionary products before, in part as a way of diverting attention from its rivals presenting their latest inventions at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which Apple does not attend, and that takes place the same month. In January 2008, Apple unveiled its ultra-slim MacBook Air computer, and the previous year saw Steve Jobs, Chief Executive, announce the first version of the iPhone.

Pushing out rivals
Apple has previously investigated the possibility of producing a tablet computer but shelved the idea at the last minute, and there are already tablets available in the market from rival PC manufacturers. France’s Archos, which pioneered digital music players but saw its market lead stolen by Apple, has already created an internet tablet based on Google’s Android software. Microsoft’s latest tablet prototype, codenamed Courier according to rumours, involves two 7in multi-screens side by side in the form of a booklet.

But the explosion of legitimate digital content services, the rise of downloadable applications – fuelled by the iPhone – and the widespread availability of wireless broadband has created a market for a tablet PC that is more of a multimedia device than merely a “keyboardless” computer. It would essentially be a cross between the iPhone, Apple’s TV service and an iPod.
Apple refuses to comment on speculation about new products, but there is talk that it is working on two versions of the iSlate, one with a 10in screen and a smaller version with a 7in screen.

Users would be able to download applications produced by third-party developers onto the device just as they can for the iPhone.
There are also a number of content deals in the works that would make the iSlate a valuable platform for media groups. Apple is rumoured to be trying to cement a deal with American TV companies including Disney and CBS that would see top shows appear regularly on the device.

Several American publishers, meanwhile, have got together to create an iTunes for magazines. Condé Nast, owner of Vogue and Vanity Fair, has teamed up with Cosmopolitan owner Hearst, Meredith, News Corp and Time to set up an open magazine platform that will allow readers to buy and browse titles on so-called e-readers. The iSlate would be a perfect device for the next generation of digital publications, not least because it will be in full colour, unlike the current generation of electronic books such as the Amazon Kindle.

In a recent note on Apple, Piper Jaffray, an  analyst at Gene Munster, estimated that there is “a 75 per cent likelihood that Apple will have an event in January and a 50 per cent chance that it will be held to launch the Apple Tablet … if Apple announced the Tablet in January, it would likely ship later in the March quarter.”
Speculation about the arrival of the latest Apple creation helped shares in the company close Christmas week at a new record high of just over US $209, making Jobs’ stake worth more than $1.1bn.

The shares have gained almost 150 per cent this year as the iPhone, and its success in persuading users to download applications from the iTunes store, has cemented Apple’s position as the world’s leading consumer electronics brand.
The company has rented a stage at the Yerba Buena Centre for the Arts in San Francisco later in January. It is the same venue that the company used in September for Steve Jobs’ to make his first public appearance since his recovery from illness, when he launched a new range of iPods.