Seven Questions Before Today’s Big Apple Tablet Unveiling
This afternoon, Apple will finally unveil its long-awaited, much-anticipated Tablet device. When the big announcement begins out in San Francisco at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT), we’ll be live-blogging the live-blogging by Engadget, Gizmodo, Vanity Fair, AppleInsider, and other tech blogs who will be there in person, breathlessly describing every square inch of the new, revolutionary device, and giving a blow-by-blow of all the cool features that were long predicted and all the game-changers that no one saw coming. The Internet very well may crumble this afternoon, so beware.
As excited as we are to see the device (the photo above leaked yesterday, but it’s unconfirmed) and how it will change the way we experience media (magazines, newspapers, books, games, TV, movies, the Internet, and more) we do have some lingering questions and doubts about the Tablet (or iPad or iSlate or whatever it’s going to be called). Seven of them, in fact, and they’re after the jump.
1. Do I really need another Apple product?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a diehard Mac junkie, and have been since my Quadra 610 days. I have in my possession a MacBook, a BroBible-issued MacBookPro, an iPod Touch, an iPod Nano, a 2nd-generation iPod, an Apple Express, and even an Apple keyboard. Do I really need yet another Apple device? The question would be even harder, I think, if I owned an iPhone. A tablet is essentially going to be a cross between an iPhone and a laptop. If I had both of those, would I really need their steroid-injected offspring? Especially in the first generations of the tablet, I think the overwhelming consensus is going to be, “I really want a tablet, but do I really need one?” I needed a music player, I needed a computer, iPhone users needed a phone. Do I need a tablet? Here’s the counterargument: lots of people felt they needed a Kindle, even though it was yet another device to charge every night and lug around with; surely many people will convince themselves they need a tablet as well. Yes, but…
2. How much is it going to cost?
Estimates are between $600 and $1,000, and if I were to guess, I would say probably $699 for the base model and up to $899 for larger models with more GBs. Is there any chance that that base model gets closer to $500, to make it really attractive to everyone trying to figure out how much they “need” it? Perhaps, but you’ve got to ask yourself…
3. How much is the Tablet really going to cost me on a monthly basis?
In other words, the Tablet will surely come with 4G service; how much will I have to fork over for that service each month? Yes there will be “free wifi” service on a Tablet, just like on an iPod Touch. But anyone’s who’s been out in a city where hookers on street corners are more common than free wifi hotspots, knows that a Touch is more or less worthless for the Internet. Unless you have 3G or 4G service, you’re screwed. So Internet service is going to run at least $50/month, which leads to the next question…
4. Don’t tell me we’re all going to be stuck with AT&T?
I don’t think Apple is that dumb. Adding the Tablet to the AT&T network exclusively would bring AT&T to its knees — and cause every New York iPhone customer to perform hari kari. Expect some combination of Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile to round out the service, which would be a great step to getting the iPhone out of AT&T’s exclusive hands.
5. So if I have Verizon 4G service on my Tablet, does that mean I could make a call with it?
While we don’t expect to want to hold a Tablet to our ear, we could see some Bluetooth earpiece action going on. Maybe as long as the Tablet was within 5 or 10 feet, for example, you could use it with your earpiece as a phone.
6. Will anyone really want to type on a Tablet?
This is the second biggest reason why we don’t own an iPhone (the first is AT&T’s New York service). We hate typing on glass. Every iPhone addict we know says it gets infinitely easier and quicker, but whenever we try to type on our iPod Touch, we find the experience to be miserable. We don’t think the Tablet is going to be that much better, especially since it’s likely going to be an even newer format of typing. Where on the iPhone and Touch, typing is usually a one-handed, index-finger pecking affair (or two very small thumbs), I think the Tablet, purely because of its size, is going to require two hands, and lots more fingers, which is going to lead to more errors. I don’t know, maybe I just hate typing on glass and need to get over it already.
7. Any other big surprises in store today?
Steve Jobs is known for his “one more thing,” which today will of course be the Tablet. But what’s going to lead up to the Tablet? What’s the appetizer, as it were? We haven’t done the research to see what items are due for refreshing, but don’t be surprised if the iPhone gets a refresh, perhaps to 4G and perhaps to include Verizon and other carriers. That would be sweet.
Is it 1 p.m. yet? “