There has been a rapid development in the e-reader world where many have just recognized the power of e-books, although rumors abound regarding Apple’s plans for this field in which are as yet uninvolved. Apple are due a new product shortly and there has been a great deal of activity, both in development and verbally. All that remains to be seen is the form that the expected new product will take.
It is almost a given that e-reader capability will be incorporated but whether or not this will be the main focus of the product is unknown. It is highly unlikely, however, since Apple have not professed a great desire to enter the eBook reader market in recent months. Whether or not this is a subterfuge however, will be established only when the new product is unveiled. Will be it be a tablet with e-reader functionality, or an e-reader that can also do other things? The consensus is the former.
In a January 2008 media interview, founder Steve Jobs stated that the Amazon Kindle was not finding significant use by Americans and that Apple intended to enter the market with a new e-book reader that would serve their needs. He recently told the New York Times that Apple aren’t interested in a single-purpose eBook reader, so there is a wealth of predictions of what Apples’ new product will be.
While we are still waiting, it would make sense for Apple’s planned new tablet to be released before Christmas, and even more likely that it will incorporate an eBook reader as part of a multi-purpose application platform. It has been heard that this will incorporate the iPhone operating system, either as currently or in a modified form. Some, however, are quoting the first quarter of 2010 for the main launch, with details of the hardware being released in advance of that to allow manufacturers to develop applications, as Apple did in 2007 with the iPhone.
The current buzz is that it will have a 9.6 inch color screen using OLED technology, although others have mentioned a 13 inch tablet. The rumors possibly arose from a leak earlier this year that LG were working on a 10 inch OLED touch-screen for a new Apple tablet. As it was described in article “How to Choose the Most Suitable e-Reader” (Digital Book Readers), the Kindle DX offers a 9.7 inch grayscale screen, and it has also been reported that 9.6 inch color touch-screens are being assembled in Taiwan for Apple.
This might or might not figure with the belief that Apple will focus on its e-reader capability with a $500 price tag, but others expect a launch at $800 with a more complex product offering e-book readability as only one of many of the capabilities that the reputed OLED product could also provide.
As discussed earlier, the Apple screen is said to be using OLED (organic light-emitting diode) technology in the screen, similar to that used with TVs, and incorporating new touch software that allows the user to turn pages easily, and enlarge them with the use of two fingers, and also that it will be suitable for both books and newspapers. It is conceivable that the technology can enable press advertising to contain links that will enable the reader to directly access advertisers’ websites. It has also been rumored that a low-cost subscription will be applied for access to newspapers and books, although the problems of price for downloaded products that has beset the music world might also intervene.
It is likely that the hardware prices being quoted are too high for a dedicated e-reader, and it is highly unlikely that Apple would fail to incorporate music and games technology into any new product. Whether this is fact or fancy remains to be seen, but what is fact is that the competition is not sitting around waiting. There will be a few new products in the stores this Christmas, and Apple’s competition will be different to what it was when they began their development.
What is also true is that many people are awaiting the new product with a great deal of anticipation. Will it be a burst bubble, or will it blow the competition away? Naturally, Apple is saying little, but the iTunes store has just introduced a comic book called “Mayhem” which is currently available with one song from the store.