It’s mid-January, and the date is fast approaching. Our sweaty palms and anxious fingers click away, searching for more tablet rumors, more secrets specs on Apple’s iSlate. Apple has always been the quiet, mysterious company when it came to new products—nothing for months and then all of a sudden Apple announces a new lineup of Mac hardware. We applaud Steve Jobs’ strategy: It keeps the consumers waiting and wanting and hungry for whatever Apple-stamped gadget may be thrown at them.But with the variety of tablet PCs on the market right now and the multitude revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) last week, where does Apple stand with its long-awaited wonder slate?
Digital Trends Editor Scott Steinberg feels that if anyone stands a chance of bringing a tablet PC or slate device to mainstream popularity, it’s Apple. Steinberg admits that even with the increasing number of companies jumping into this newfound tablet space, Steve Jobs and company may be the most successful in it. “If they’re able to position it like an iPhone, but with a larger screen, then Apple may be able to crack the market,” says Steinberg. “The reality is that in many ways the iPhone has been a prototype for this type of technology all along.”
Steinberg has big hopes for the Apple tablet—he sees it as having the potential to be the tablet PC to end all tablet systems, just as the iPhone has become the de facto smartphone standard in the mobile market. He also considers that the future of other categories of electronics entirely may be affected by Apple’s new slate. “We keep hearing about eReaders, but a tablet like Apple’s could well render all those devices irrelevant,” he claims. This has been a common notion and fear within the tech industry—Apple once again will develop something that works across an array of platforms and with ultimate functionality—rendering other new technologies obsolete.
Steinberg is confident though that other companies—as always—will continue to challenge Apple’s innovations. The tablet wars have just begun, he says, and it may be too early in the game to see an actual outcome. Other titans like Microsoft and Google will continue to “fight the good fight,” and put considerable effort and manpower towards launching projects aimed at gaining a foothold in this space.
“If anything, don’t judge a slate by its cover,” says Steinberg.