By now, we have a fairly good idea of what to expect from Wednesday's Apple event. It's been all tablet news, all the time for the past week, and through a series of leaks, it's becoming clear what the main focus of the media event will be: a 10-inch touch-screen tablet that costs less than $1,000.
Be sure to check out our live blog of the event here starting a bit before 10 a.m. PST. If CEO Steve Jobs does unveil the much-discussed Apple tablet, it's not likely to be a tablet in the sense of what we've seen from the PC industry in the past decade or so. Here's a look at some of the lessons that can be learned from previous attempts at a tablet for consumers.
Hewlett-Packard, Dell, and other PC manufacturers have been making tablets for a long time. Yet none of them have generated the buzz Apple has in this category. Some recent models, such as this HP Touchsmart tx2 tablet, from PC makers get pretty decent reviews from my colleagues at CNET, but they have yet to really catch on with consumers. The category has been a nonstarter for a long time, and continuing to churn out the same old tablet idea, albeit with updated features like a touch screen and some new touch-friendly applications, isn't going to excite many people.
This is where Apple has a leg up on the competition. Just like with the iPod and the iPhone, Apple didn't invent those categories; it just took something that already existed (MP3 player, smartphone) and improved the experience with good hardware that works in concert with good software. The way iTunes works is what makes the iPod special, and the iPhone OS and App Store are the most innovative parts of the iPhone, so the content and operating system will be the keys to Apple's tablet.
January 27, 2010 4:00 AM PST
Photo by: CNET
| Caption by: Erica Ogg
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