The Wall Street Journal has published an interesting piece today with language that all but announces a new tablet device from Apple. The Journal claims that Apple CEO Steve Jobs bets the tablet will "reshape businesses like textbooks, newspapers and television much the way his iPod revamped the music industry." That's a lot of upheaval going on. Are the progenitors of said media aware of all this?According to the Journal, Apple's new (and completely unconfirmed) tablet computer is going to shake things up. The device, which many believe will have a 10- or 11-inch display, software QWERTY keyboard, many of the iPhone's features and a $100 price-point, is going to be all about changing media consumption habits.
Apple is said to be in talks with numerous content companies, such as CBS, Walt Disney, Electronics Arts, New York Times, HarpCollins, Conde Nast, and others to ink content deals. One of the ideas being floated is a "best of TV' feature that provides users with access to the best five programs on any given television station on a subscription basis.
Apple has pitched the device to the education market, and believes the device can be used to easily share information with others. In fact, it hired a a former executive at textbook publishers Cengage Learning and Pearson Education. This person has been charged with driving growth of Apple's online education store.
How Apple will continue to integrate its iTunes Music Store and Apps Stores into such a device is unknown, but many think that a major overhaul of iTunes is on the way. Without knowing what OS the tablet will run has led to a guessing game. Will it run a stripped down version of OS X? An enhanced version of iPhone OS? Something in between? Giving the device the same OS as the iPhone -- but with more features opened up by what should be more capable hardware -- could really win over the iPhone developer community by giving them another avenue to make money.
What about newspapers and magazine publishers? How will their content make its way to the tablet? Enhanced RSS feeds? Over-the-air downloads? And what about electronic books. It would be silly for Apple to go so far and not include that feature, as well. Will bookmakers respond positively?
All of this remains speculation, despite the Journal's clever word-smithing. Nothing has been confirmed by Apple -- and won't -- until January 27.