Apple hasn't commented on the rumors, but I've not seen this type of buzz since the iPhone debuted, and maybe this device can have a similar impact.
Besides all the rumored names -- iSlate, MacTab, iPad, etc -- the machine is rumored to allow you to surf the web, play games, music and watch HD movies. There are also rumors that it might serve as a keyboard for, say, an iMac, or a remote for the Apple TV product (similar to NetFlix online). Most folks also think it'll be a Kindle-like e-reader, but also one that might help the ailing print magazine/newspaper/comic book industries, by allowing readers to view the content the way they traditionally would on the printed page. But now those online pages would be interactive with ads and videos and photos.
Instead of going to the mailbox to pull your new Sports Illustrated or Charlotte Observer, you get an alert on your tablet to download the new product.
Sports Illustrated recently released a demo of what an interactive magazine might look like.
A product like this would save students from lugging around heavy textbooks and families from having large stashes of papers and magazines in the garage (if yours is like mine). Everybody might get a little greener. I guess my only issue is price. If you want everyone to have it, $500 to $1,000 isn't going to get it there.
There's also a debate over whether the device will have a 3G card built in for internet access along with WiFi or just, say, a USB port to allow you to plug in a 3G card if you choose. I think tying it to a 3G provider, so long as it's more than one, might not be a bad thing. It would tie you to a $30 or $50 monthly contract, but it would drastically drop the cost of the machine. I think Apple could also work out some sort of deal with content providers who stand to gain from a device like this to make it cheaper to the public.
I wonder, though, if AT&T customers who have iPhone might get a break if they sign up for a new agreement and AT&T allows users to tether the iPhone to this tablet device for coverage.
Lots of questions.
Today, the Wall Street Journal reports that textbook maker Coursesmart -- a digital publisher of five major textbooks -- thinks the Apple Tablet will be better than traditional e-readers like the Kindle, which doesn't have color graphics or ways to scribble notes onto the digital pages.
Coursesmart executive VP Frank Lyman thinks the tablet could allow students and other consumers to interact with the written material through the use of colors and videos and links.
Here's a video Lyman created to show the possibilities (embedded from WSJ site).
I find equally interesting the news that Apple has purchased Quattro Wireless which is a big-time mobile ad company.
Something big is brewing. It'll be interesting to see what happens next.