Only in today's hyper-compressed media cycle could it happen like this. For the past few months, the tech world has been frothing for news of the Apple Tablet, a slate-like device expected to revolutionize the personal computing market. Now, a day before the expected launch of the tablet, bloggers are already tripping over themselves in an attempt to downplay the significance of a product that doesn't even officially exist. Let the Apple Tablet backlash begin.
Leading the charge is David Coursey, a self-styled contrarian and the author of PC World's popular Tech Inciter blog. As Coursey points out, the Apple Tablet is in some ways a reductive device. It will likely do a lot of things that a laptop can do, and a lot of things that an iPhone or iPod Touch can do, but it probably won't have a lot of unique capabilities. Here's Coursey:
There is also the expense: Whatever Apple charges for the tablet will likely be more than what many Windows notebooks and netbooks cost. The tablet is likely to seem "cost-effective" only when compared to a Mac portable. My bet is business users won't immediately embrace the new tablet. That could change over time, though connectivity, battery life, and cost are likely to be ongoing issues. If the machine isn't rugged enough to survive a reasonable number of drops, that will be an issue, too.
Meanwhile, over at Wired.com, blogger Daniel Dumas is conducting a thought experiment he calls "5 features the Apple Tablet definitely won't have – but should." Dumas ticks down a pretty outlandish list – he suggests that the Tablet could have been free, and that it could have had a flexible interface, like a big piece of floppy plastic. However, he's totally right about one thing: The Apple Tablet is not going to be a panacea for the ailing newspaper industry.
"With a rumored $1,000 price tag, we’re betting that even die-hard early adopters won’t be showing up en masse to buy the tablet. Financially, the print industry needs a new mass audience, not a small coterie of dedicated Mac lovers," Dumas writes. This seems to us to be pretty accurate. The Apple Tablet might help churn up a few extra subscriptions. It's not going to bring the Rocky Mountain News back to life.
Of course, it may not matter what the Apple Tablet does. It could probably be a chunk of plastic with a nice-looking screen, and if Apple ginned up a pretty enough advertisement, we'd suddenly decide we need the thing in our lives. Think back: Did you ever really think you needed an iPhone? And now you can't live without it. Thus the title of a half-satirical post from Ian Chillag at NPR: "I have no use for the Apple Tablet I am definitely going to purchase."
Are you sick of the Apple Tablet chatter? Or will you be the first in line at the local Apple store, waiting for a Tablet to drop into your hands? Drop us a line in the comments section or on Twitter.