It has been rumored for some time that Apple is going to announce a new tablet device at the end of the month, and while no one has any official news on its existence, there are still many people enthralled with its perceived existence. With Apple’s rise to dominance within the last couple of years, it is believed by many that the tablet will be a game changer just as Macs and the iPhone have done. There is one problem that I see with this, however. For their Mac products and the iPhone, Apple came into an already established market and made products that were better than the products that were in that market.
The product, which is rumored to be called the iSlate, is supposed to be like a larger version of the iPhone – although it is still unclear if it will run an Operating System similar to the Mac OS or the iPhone OS. Despite not knowing these critical details about the iSlate, developers have already started to think of creative ways to use the new medium,
There have been many other tablets introduced (even by Apple themselves) and there really hasn’t been a demand for them – people actually prefer traditional laptops for the most part. There is a very niche market for tablets because they are only more effective than traditional laptops in certain situations, such as for artists or students. While they could possibly market it to these select people, I don’t believe that it will make enough of a splash to become “the next big thing” like people are hoping. It seems to be, just like most tablets that have been introduced, a gimmick item that will slowly fall out.
In the other markets that Apple has entered (and controlled) in the last 10 years, there has been a high demand for those types of products. There is an established demand for PCs. There is an established demand for mp3 players (although the iPod might be the exception to the rule here). And there is an established demand for cellular phones. By taking the time to make better products in those markets, Apple has been able to be a dominant player in those markets. With the tablet, however, they are entering a market that has had no proven success.
I want to wait until the product is officially announced and I know its full capabilities before I make a final judgment, but I don’t see it becoming as mainstream as iPod or MacBook. I have no doubt that it will be an interesting product with a lot of support from developers, but it is unclear how it will be utilized before the ins and outs of it are officially released. If the demand isn’t there, I don’t see how this can possibly a “breakthrough” product.