If you’re even a casual reader of any one of the hundreds of gadget and tech blogs out there, chances are you’ve heard aboutApple Inc.’s iTablet device.
Apple has not even confirmed its existence, but pretty much everybody agrees the company will be releasing the touchscreen computing device in the very near future. Earlier this year, many industry analysts pegged a summer announcement date and an early 2010 launch date for the device.
Of course, MacWorld came and went and the announcement was nowhere to be seen.
That brings us to the reason for this post, as just last week, the iTablet was again being speculated about by the DigiTimes. The Web site said the device might not be released until the end of 2010. The reason for the delay is Apple’s decision to switch the OLED panel to a 9.7-inch model from LG Display, the media outlet indicated. This technology apparently isn’t cheap either and will probably be responsible for driving the retail price for the iTablet up to about $2,000. However, OLED panels are expected to drop throughout 2010, which might be another reason Apple is delaying, according to many sources.
In my view, however, this isn’t the real culprit behind the delays.
Now I’m not going to deny that the iTablet actually exists like some industry observers are starting to argue, but it’s obvious that Apple is not happy with what they’ve been building. This is the rare instance where so much hype has actually been a bad thing.
On paper, the iTablet was already a pretty sketchy idea. Consumers and business users already have the iPhone for their mobile and online browsing needs. Apple’s Macbook series is doing great in the laptop market, so they’ve got that area covered too. What market is this going to serve? Not even Apple can sell a $2,000 netbook. For this to be successful, it has to blow everybody away.
None of the rumours we’ve heard thus far inspire much excitement, so it’s no surprise that Apple has kept it under wraps.
The device is actually starting to remind me of Duke Nukem Forever, the expected sequel to the 1996 hit PC game Duke Nukem 3D. Upon the release of Duke 3D, the developer 3D Realms said it had begun work a sequel.
About 13 years later, the game still isn’t finished and might actually never be finished thanks to some recent legal issues halting and possibly ending production. Thisincredibly funny list really drives home how long Duke Nukem Forever was in development for and I learned that Steve Jobs was still running NeXT when the game was first announced.
Now while the iTablet hasn’t been in production for nearly as long (if it even is in production), I predict it’s heading toward Duke Nukem territory. In both cases, it appears that the designers probably failed to create something with truly special. Apple is probably sitting on some sort of iPod Touch/MacBook hybrid. The problem with that is we’ve seen it all before.
The typical Mac fanatic never hesitates to open their wallets up for quality and innovation, but if it’s more of the same, Apple might take a hit to their reputation. A brand like Apple is built on the cool and new factor, so one serious miss would hurt them dearly.
And when you’re spending millions of dollars on OLED screen panels, you can’t afford not to be a game changer.