This week's Apple tablet rumors are incessant and ever-mounting, but a big rumor rundown from the Wall Street Journal that posted late last night introduced several new wrinkles to the expected Apple tablet, the most notable in my eyes being the use of the tablet as a "shared media device."
According to sources, not only will the tablet (or iWhatHaveYou) aim to reinvent the concept of shared media, but the device will focus on multi-user sharing, with concepts such as sticky notes and a camera that could identify the user and, possibly, bring up their personalized content.
The real question, however, is this: can a shared device really work?
I say this because I'm relentlessly territorial over my own gadgets. My home laptop is a device I prefer to use myself, and when my wife uses it I'm overcome with a sense of invasion. I've learned to relax this feeling, but the truth is she has her own laptop but prefers the software on mine (and its capability to play Hulu).
The possessiveness doesn't end there, though, especially in Apple's own concept of ownership. iPods and iPhones are the very definition of personal devices, and the way they sync to one's personal media libraries is a one-to-one mapping. Most of my personal gadgets, with the exception of cameras, are devices I tend to use for myself. I certainly would love the idea of a more open, shared approach to media from Apple, but with a device as lustworthy as a potential Apple tablet, would anyone really want to share theirs with anyone else?
Of course, the most likely reason for a shared approach could be price. If the tablet is $1,000 as some have guessed, and it's being sold to people who already own MacBooks, iPhones, and perhaps even iPods, a "one per household" approach might be the only way to sell such a device to consumers until a future date when the price becomes more manageable.
How do you feel about personal gadgets? Do you play nice and share? Or is Apple about to teach us a whole new way of using our bright and shiny new toys with others?