Analyst: Apple Tablet Isn’t for Books

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Apple may be working on a tablet computer device, but it won't be targeted at ebook reading. Based on hints from Apple executives, RBC analyst Mike Abramsky thinks Apple is focusing on movies and video instead, according to Fortune.

Mr. Abramsky spent some time discussing market opportunities with Apple's Vice President of iTunes and Internet Services Eddy Cue, Vice President for Worldwide Mac Marketing David Moody, and CFO Peter Oppenheimer this week. What they seemed to focus on hinted at a tablet computer geared more towards video content than written content.

"After music, video content is expected to be the next 'exploding' opportunity, but requires overcoming industry rights dysfunctionality, competing with subsidies (cable box, video), and developing the right consumer offer," Mr. Abransky said. "Apple TV, while still a 'hobby,' is well positioned to benefit from evolving market dynamics. Apple was less enthusiastic about the online book/newspaper market, given unattractive industry structure."

In other words, Apple is more interested in video than the written word.

Current rumors peg the mythical Apple tablet as a high-end ebook reader loaded with extra functionality that puts it closer to the iPod touch camp, and many have been seeing it as just the boost newspapers and magazines need to revive dwindling sales. If Mr. Abramsky's interpretation is correct, however, newspaper publishers looking to Apple for a boost in sales may be in for a disappointment.

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Comments

Jeff Gamet

An Apple tablet for watching movies and reading books would be pretty cool, but I’m hoping that if the mythical device ever does appear it also works like a remote version of my Mac. I’m thinking along the lines of a tablet that gives me “lite” versions of my apps so I can keep working when I’m away from my desk.

Lee Dronick

I?m hoping that if the mythical device ever does appear it also works like a remote version of my Mac

Hmmm, Back to my Mac via MobileMe?

aardman

Just because it ‘focuses’ on music and video doesn’t mean it can’t do ebooks.  I see some Apple misdirection going on.

jfbiii

Woah…Apple is going to be focusing on video? and MOVIES? wtf…didn’t see that coming. October surprise, indeed.

jfbiii

Hey, I just talked to an analyst in the next cubicle. He said Apple is going to sell a tablet with a margin of at least 30%.

Christopher Ray Miller

In his Stanford commencement speech in 2005, Steve Jobs said this:

“Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. (...)

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something ? your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

He followed this path with the diskette-less, USB-enabled iMac, with the iPod, with the iPhone, its apps and Multi-Touch, and left options open, trusting in the dots connecting themselves and, more often than not, the hits have outweighed the Cube-style misses. If it’s not obvious that a reader function in a tablet would make for a huge market opportunity, that doesn’t mean he’s not ready to leave the door open for the dots to connect if that’s what happens. You can’t foresee the unexpected uses your platform will be put to in the future (iPhone a major gaming platform, anyone?), but you can give your platform freedom to grow by its own rules (or rather the rules made by its users). And that includes uses as a reader, quite likely enhanced by HTML 5 and other properties of the Mac OS family. Steve Jobs and his other executives just want to make sure they have *some* failsafe fall-back use for the platform, but you can be sure he wants to be sure the “connect the dots” options will be left open.

iJack

Abramsky has his head up his assets.  That “opportunity” done already exploded.

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