By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Questioning Apple’s latest iHype

In my latest for the Guardian, I offer some thoughts on why Apple’s forthcoming tablet computer, rumored to be called the iSlate, may not be such a great idea after all.

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  1. Neil

    Why do you choose to work for a foreign newspaper instead of an American one? Is there an argument to be made about spending your sweat equity here in the good ol’ US of A, especially as our journalism industry is shrinking faster then the L Street brownies’ packages?

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Neil: I write for the Guardian because they asked me to. The Guardian Web site has a huge American readership, and my editor is based in Washington. There aren’t that many good freelance gigs out there. This is one of the best.

  2. Harrybosch

    I’m always impressed by the quality of comments on the Guardian site. Folks there are a lot smarter than me.

    But those seahorses were really, really cool. Still pissed I couldn’t talk my parents into the life-sized submarine.

  3. Steve Stein

    Here is an interesting analysis from local technologist Chris Herot of where the form-factor/functionality sweet spots are, and what it might mean for the new devices from Apple and Google.

  4. Mike F

    I’m not sure having a keyboard will necessarily be that important going forward. Sure, people who do a lot of writing will still want one, but the near future may see most computing done by a combination of touch screen functionality and voice recognition. And it makes a ton of sense for Apple to do everything they can to be at or ahead of the curve with any technological shift or trend.

  5. Newshound

    Every once in a while Steve Jobs might make or allow a mistake, but not very often. He is extraordinary in his insightfulness, and a true leader in the technology-product-design-marketing world to the extent that most others in the business follow.

    It will be interesting to watch. Every hit is not a home run, but with Jobs he is damn good at what he has been doing the last quarter century.

  6. LFNeilson

    Maybe it’s just about tardiness. I’s late.

    Actually, I think you’re a bit early. We haven’t seen all the details yet. Apple may have had a boner or two in the deep past, but of late, they’re flying high.

  7. Michael Pahre

    I thought I read a year ago that Apple had already announced their latest product, a computer with no keyboard.

    It’s called the MacBook Wheel. Here’s the video announcement of its features.

    You iGuys are behind the iTimes.

  8. I wish the archives to the old online-news list were available. I remember making a post once circa 1997 that the device I wanted would be about notebook size (8.5 x 11 ish), would easily store my contacts, calendar and I could take notes on it as well as surf the Web.

    The “iSlate” sounds like the first product that is really going to get close to being what that vision in my head was.

    That said, I don’t think this is going to be a newspaper saver, and in a large part for reason’s you allude to, Dan. It’s not going to have broad enough appeal.

    Look at how popular the iPhone is, and what’s it’s market share? Less than 10 percent, isn’t it?

    Publishers just need to get used to the idea that packaged goods media is dead.

    There isn’t going to be one single, ubiquitous device that all consumers are going to adopt, which is what would be required to get anywhere close to the idea of some device saving newspapers.

    The best a newspaper publisher could hope for is a single-purpose flat screen device that was cheap enough he could bundle it with a subscription and foist it on his customers. But with the Kindles and iSlates out there, why would a consumer want to carry that around when he or she can carry the world in a more functional tablet-like device?

    But journalists should maybe be excited about the iSlate. It sounds like something I would want to own — it wouldn’t replace my laptop, but if I had one, I would carry it everywhere and more often than my laptop … assuming I could take notes will (with a stylus or virtual keyboard), record interviews with it, and still have the world (and my personal information) at my finger tips.

    (The only reason it wouldn’t replace my laptop is because of all the other things I need a fully functional computer for to run my business — edit video and pictures, keep my books, build ads, etc. … but all I were was a reporter, the iSlate sounds like it would be my dream device.)

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Howard: If you could do actual work on a tablet, then I’d have to revise my opinion. I don’t want a stylus, but a truly functional virtual keyboard could turn the iSlate into enough of a work tool that I’d consider it.

  9. lkcape

    Howard Owen makes a great point.

    Market share for Apple’s products has never matched the press releases.

    People leave the Apple barrel after their machines get orphaned two or three times with a cost of $1500-$2000 to get back to operational,

    They’ve now moved to Intel chips, so why pay a premium price for a commodity? Because Steve Jobs is cool?

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