• Tablet Speculation Goes Mainstream: "Spectacular Graphics" and a Webcam

    After months of the tech press and blogosphere spreading every type of rumor about the still-unconfirmed Apple tablet, CNN has gotten into the action. Referring to it as "a magazine-sized, touch-screen, hand-held, all-in-one device that is half-iPhone, half-Macintosh computer," CNNMoney.com highlighted the device in a post today. They talked to a panel of experts who basically recapped the rumors to date, with one significant new speculation: "stunning graphics," better than the iPod or iPhone, and a webcam for videoconferencing.

    The story -subheadlined "the everything killer" - made much of how the tablet was being positioned to replace many different handheld devices now in use. According to the analysts surveyed: Laura DiDio, principal analyst at ITIC; David Wertheimer, executive director of the University of Southern California's Entertainment Technology Center; and Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with Yankee Group, the device is being prepared to fill the gap between the iPhone/iPod touch and a low-end Mac Book. The idea that the device will "kill" single-function devices like the Amazon Kindle by offering books, Web browsing, gaming, entertainment and on-the-go computing in a single package was touted by DiDio and Wertheimer, though Kerravala sounded a note of caution.

    "What we've found in the past with these multi-function devices is that they're better for ad-hoc purposes, like quick and dirty tasks," said Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with Yankee Group. "They're not for any prolonged, high-performance use."

    For instance, smartphones have cameras for quick snapshots, but when you go on vacation, you're probably going to want your digital camera to come along with you for high-quality photos.

    Kerravala said the same logic applies to the tablet's other functions, including its e-reading capability: "If you want to sit and read a book, the ergonomics of a device that's specifically designed for reading are going to be better."
    Walt Mossberg at the Wall Street Journal, however, recently added his voice to the chorus of those who believe the tablet will be a true general-purpose computer. The influential pundit responded to a written question from a reader to the Journal's AllThingsDigital site by saying that he hadn't "seen any evidence" that Apple was planning a single-purpose device, noting that the iPhone and iPod touch can run Kindle software.

    As to the price of the still-unannounced device, speculation ran from as low as $600 to as high as $1000 - but DiDio noted that Apple had an early fail in pricing the iPhone at $599, far above the competitive price for the smartphones that existed at that time. The implication was that Apple would move to price the tablet to compete with similar products currently on the market, such as netbooks, which are generally priced much lower.

    image via Gizmodo
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