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Jan. 8 2010 - 3:25 pm | 133 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

Ihnatko on the Apple Tablet

Andy Ihnatko, my nominee as the most valuable tech writer in the universe, indulges in a wallow of speculation about the device he’s dubbed the RAT (“Rumored Apple Tablet”). It’s a read that’s both fun and comprehensive, even with the requisite “Nobody knows anything” caveats:

It’s not so much the quality of the latest “Apple will unveil their long-rumored tablet” scuttlebutt that convinced me to {buy a plane ticket to the possible product announcement}…it’s the velocity. It’s hard to codify but as the debut of an under-wraps Apple device becomes imminent, Apple begins to collectively sigh with relief. The noise leaks out through the weatherstripping of the company’s legendary Storm Door Of Silence and though it doesn’t say anything as helpful as “10.2-inchOLED touchscreen, $699, mobile broadband contract is optional” it does say “Andy, book yourself a trip to San Francisco.”

Particularly interesting is Ihnatko’s persuasive argument for why Apple won’t throw open the doors of the iTunes Store to books and periodicals:

…they’ll stick to the mechanism that the iPhone uses: publishers and distributors can release their own apps and build their own storefronts for their own content. It saves Apple from innumerable headaches and opens the RAT up to be “the reader of Everything.” It also emphatically continues Apple’s momentum as the publishing platform of choice. Are you Time-Warner? Great. Release a free “newsstand” app for your group’s publications. Apple’s SDK supports in-app purchases. The user can buy or subscribe to magazines easily; the publisher gets ongoing sales through the biggest store for digital mobile content, and as usual, Apple gets a big cut of every dollar spent on that planet…. Honestly, Apple just sits back and counts the money, without having to worry overmuch about being editors, censors, or arbiters of quality.

Ihnatko saves the best for last: The final few grafs speculate shrewdly on why the RAT will be what it will be. This kind of prognostication is where Ihnatko always excels — nobody has a better feel for the inner wiring of the tech world’s most famously buttoned-up company. As always, he’s a must-read.

Thoughts on what an Apple tablet should be – or not :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Andy Ihnatko.


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    About Me

    I'm a writer in Santa Monica, CA. I spent some years at Newsweek and some more writing for TV. My freelance journalism has appeared in The New Yorker, Time, Slate, The Boston Globe, Fast Company, Fortune Small Business, Washington Journalism Review, American Journalism Review, American Heritage and TV Guide, and on PBS.

    I've been writing about popular culture for more than 20 years, and about technology for almost that long. I've been fascinated the last few years with the way the two have started to intertwine, so that's what I'll be looking at here: Technology, pop culture and the places where they meet. I'll also be poking around in the world of blogging, microblogging, nanoblogging, micronanoblogging and whatever comes next.

    You can reach me at billbarol.com.

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