Apple finally came out with a word on their mystery product, ending one chapter of speculation and beginning another. Speculators were split between Apple’s development of a netbook vs. Apple’s development of a tablet. Tablet it is-probably. If it is a tablet it will be Tablet Mac-style, of course. Apple CFO Tim Cook stated that the netbook is simply ‘not something we would put the Mac brand on.’
Why wouldn’t Apple play in the netbook sandbox with everyone else? Probably because everyone else is already there. Apple does its best when it comes out with a product that is distinctly different from the products being produced by the rest of the pack. Going the direction of a netbook would not involve being different enough. Besides, a netbook-style Macbook would essentially be a cheap version of the Macbook, which might risk the sales of their high-priced laptops.
Instead, Apple might come out with a tablet device. Right now, there are very few players in the tablet field, and the existing tablet technology has so much potential. Apple intends to be the pioneer. It just makes sense. Already, Apple holds multi-touch patents that would revolutionize tablet technology. Why not grow it on a new line of tablet products? In addition, the tablet choice is natural because it furnishes the expected link between Macbook and iPhone. From a price-perspective, too, it would fall between them, coming in around $700. Unlike the iPhone, the new tablet will utilize a far more powerful OS, possibly even OS X. The device would be sized at 7 x 10 inches, and boast a multi-functional touch screen.
A tablet-device could also give Apple a foot in the door of the ‘reader’ market. With the kindle warming up, Apple could stock iTunes with e-books, and ramp up sales for a Kindle-competitor device that could do oh-so-much-more. Don’t expect it until spring of 2010.