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iPod or Newton?

January 27, 2010

My love affair with Apple officially began in 1994 when I was starting business school and obsessing over the forthcoming Apple Newton. I romanticized it to be the solution to surviving my MBA, a one stop note-taking and calendaring device that would vault me into the forefront of learning. I found out the handwriting recognition was poor and the Newton couldn’t store more than one page of notes. I never bought one.

Tomorrow, Apple will be launching something – and everyone expects it will be their entry into the tablet/e-reader space. And everyone, including myself, believes it will be a radical innovation. What will it do? We’ll find out tomorrow, but the best G2 I have seen is from the folks at Flurry, who have analyzed traffic seen around One Infinite Loop in Cupertino, on about 50 unknown devices that seem to imply the phantom tablet.  Flurry noticed that the devices downloaded apps (like iPhone, iTouch) in the following distribution:

Not surprisingly, games & entertainment (likely video) leads the pack, although I would be surprised if Steve were aiming the iWhatever at the DSi or PSP.

My bets (and wishes) for what we’ll see tomorrow:

  • Print Media: I suspect Apple will take a shot at print media (big duh), specifically magazines and textbooks. I was on a panel at CES a few weeks ago where the topic was e-readers, where these two applications were front and center and I voiced my prediction.
  • Video: I love my iPhone, but it stinks for watching full length feature films.
  • Universal Remote Control: I would love to see Apple include RF control to make the iBlank a universal remote for the home  – TV, Audio, and home control.
  • The New Dream Machine: I loved the new Sony Dash shown at CES, but but the iStar in an angled holder and it instantly becomes a clock-radio, weather station, digital picture frame.

What I worry about:

  • Battery Life: The Kindle lasts at least a week without recharging. The iPhone with all connectivity turned on lasts for an hour.
  • Typing: I hope they have included haptic technology, like that from Immersion, to make the input experience more realistic.
  • Screen: I am a huge fan of e-Ink’s displays as they are incredibly readable for print-style media. I would be shocked if Apple has included the e-Ink display and worry that what they have used may hinder longer term readability.

Whatever tomorrow brings, I am excited to find out – and suspect unlike the Newton, I will buy one. More after the news.

UPDATE:

Just saw this on CNBC which seems to support text books are a coming to the iTrapperKeeper:

http://plus.cnbc.com/rssvideosearch/action/player/id/1396376379/code/cnbcplayershare
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