There’s been a slight confirmation of all the rumors swirling around about a possible Apple tablet, from the pages of BusinessWeek no less. Now these are still unconfirmed rumors, but according the BusinessWeek’s source the upcoming device will “define the … category” of tablet media pads.
BusinessWeek writers Spencer E. Ante and Arik Hesseldahl have the full scoop, and include a few details about an “iPhone lite” smartphone Apple is supposedly developing for Verizon Wireless. The iPhone lite will be slightly smaller and thinner than the iPhone currently gracing AT&T’s network. Software or other capabilities are not mentioned, but BusinessWeek’s sources state that the device is manufactured using a “system on a chip” design and will therefore have an enormous profit margin. Apple is expected to continue manufacturing the original iPhone for AT&T while simultaneously selling Verizon iPhone lites.
The Apple tablet, or “media pad,” as it is dubbed by BusinessWeek, is another intriguing development. Supposedly slightly smaller than a Kindle and all touchscreen, the device would let users listen to music, view photos, and watch high-definition videos. The media pad will also let users place calls over Wi-fi using Voice-over-IP (VOIP) services. BusinessWeek’s source states that the media pad will define an entirely new category of consumer products.
One of these devices is expected to be released this year. Since Apple is already prepping a new version of the iPhone for this summer, it’s likely that the iPhone lite will wait. Apple may introduce the new media pad as a “one more thing” surprise at WWDC this summer. Developers would certainly need to adapt to the 10″ screen expected on the device.
There is definitely consumer interest in such a device as well. Apple is likely to use its iPhone OS on a media tablet, albeit a modified version targeted for a larger screen. If this tablet takes off, Apple will solidify mobile touch as the company’s second core computing platform. The company has been moving in the consumer electronics direction for years (since the original iPod’s introduction), but a new device midway between the iPod touch and a Macintosh signals that the company is preparing to put all its might behind the new touch platform.