Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Paging Apple

It looks like as early as January 2010, Apple may be entering the e-reader scene. They’ve been working on the iTablet -- a lot of that work has been happening behind closed doors. Rumor is they’ve been having secret talks with newspaper and textbook publishers to negotiate content.

Just this past Thursday, we were talking about e-readers for school kids. An article in MacNewsWorld addresses some of the comments that were made here on Straight From Hel. What would the iTablet have that other e-readers don’t?
Basically, multimedia books instead of simple text-based e-books, multimedia magazines instead of print mags, lush and rich electronic content rather than the cramped and stripped-down content you can currently get on an iPhone or iPod touch.
Besides taking a weight off kids’ backs, how would they benefit from the iTablet?
Meanwhile, students would have something more useful -- searchable text, handy-cut-and-paste snippet tools, multimedia, and up-to-date information.
What about magazines and newspapers? According to the Huffington Post,
Apple has been negotiating with major print media companies to acquire content for the new device, Gizmodo reports, including the New York Times, McGraw Hill, and Oberlin Press.
ComputerWorld seems to believe that this new iTablet, whenever it appears, will be more than just an e-reader.
"It's more than just an e-reader," said Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research who follows Apple's moves. "It's an application platform, it's a game and social gaming platform. It certainly will be an e-reader, that will be part of its ecosystem, but that won't be all it is."
With all this hype and speculation, you (and me, as well) may be wondering what the price will be. ComputerWorld is guessing between $500 and $800.
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29 comments:

  1. Be interesting to see the response. Not all students can afford such an item!

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  2. My sister wants an e-reader and thought she'd heard rumors of Apple coming out with one - now it sounds like more than a rumor. I'll pass your blog on to her. It seems like everything Apple does they do well so I have a feeling this is no exception. Of course, for that price, it'd better be good!

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  3. And that's US $?
    Expensive. That's a whole lot of books that could be bought for US$800. I just don't see books being replaced. Call me crazy... :)

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  4. Too expensive. After a couple of years, though, the price should come down, I'd guess.

    I'm all ready for e-readers for mags and newspapers. I've finally made the mental adjustment. And it *completely* makes sense for textbooks.

    Elizabeth
    Mystery Writing is Murder

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  5. Nope, haven't made the mental or physical switch to e-books yet. Took me forever to start buying cd's instead of cassette tapes, so I'm a bit slow with new technology.
    Karen

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  6. My two daughters are in college, and they tell me how technology- oriented the campus is, their generation is so very much into tech. I think not only is Apple being very forward thinking, but they will have a surprisingly interested and engaged market.

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  7. I'd be interested in one, but only if the cost came down. New Technology is always pricey. Give it a few months on the market and I'll take a gander at the cost.

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  8. It is pricey, but like just about everyone else, I think it will come down in price. I don't have an ereader, but I think eventually I will. The twenty-somethings and younger don't remember a time before computers. Even I, as old as I am, live on the computer. Most young people do not have the nostalgia for print books, newspapers, magazines the way older generations do.

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  9. $500 to $800 is a bargain. The GAO found that the average, first-time, full-time student in college spends $898 a year at a 4-year public college and $886 at a two year public college. The College Board found similar numbers. The cost of textbooks is one of the biggest impediments to college for first-time students.

    Faculty are unhappy with the textbook situation, too, because most of them don't like relying on a single textbook.

    According to the GAO report, textbook prices have risen faster than prices of commodities nationwide. Grant aid is insufficient to cover textbook expenses for low and moderate income students.

    Here's a link to the government report: http://www.ed.gov/about/bdscomm/list/acsfa/turnthepage.pdf It recommends e-books as one of the solutions to textbook cost.

    I think Apple would be smart to make their tablet available to colleges at special discount rates and encourage colleges to adopt them for all their students. Apple has always had a strong presence in education anyway.

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  10. At first I thought that the price was too high. But Mark Troy is correct. Textbooks ARE very costly. Even the 'used' ones.

    I love holding and reading books, but I have spent time on a plane with an ereader, and was surprised at how much I liked it.

    Ah, progress.

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  11. Thanks Mark. It's great to hear from someone inside the higher education community. I agree, especially if the iTablet allows students to highlight and bookmark pages. My textbooks were always highlighted so I could go back and easily study.

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  12. It would also be nice if the tablet had a post-it feature for margin notes.

    I've been drooling over a little netbook for traveling. If the Apple reader could combine internet, email, and Word, it would be perfect for me.

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  13. Interesting technology development. My guess is they'll have to come down off that price a bit, though.

    The Old Silly

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  14. From what I've heard, it will most likely have all the apps that you could get on an iPhone.

    The price probably would come down over time, but even at $500 - $800, as Mark said, if the e-textbooks are cheaper than print books, it could be overall cheaper for college students, esp over a four year period.

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  15. Mark has made a very good point, and Apple has never appeared to be a dummy when it comes to marketing. Good deals for college students could result in a large portion of the generation loyal to Apple. I can't see Apple thinking that was a bad thing.

    Elspeth

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  16. Although I've not been an Apple user for a long time (I'm not saying how long) I think this is a great idea--especially for the college students. College textbooks are way too expensive and it can be difficult to keep them completely up-to-date. And with all the different apps...

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  17. I can attest to how expensive college textbooks are. Sheesh. We're on our second round now.

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  18. Pricey, but if a child could take it all the way through College...it would pay for itself in a semester and a half. I however, I am a highlighter, underliner, margin writer. Cannot imagine not having the feel and touch, not to mention the smell of books. Hmmmm

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  19. It is hard to imagine, but I used to write letters by hand. I rarely do that now. And I don't think my kids or my eventual grandkids will have any trouble working on an e-reader or iTablet.

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  20. Apple always overprices everything, but they usually make it better too. I'm looking forward to getting my iPhone next year because it has a pretty good e-reader of its own.

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  21. Yikes! This was all sounding good until I got to the price. :-)

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  22. Maryann, the iTablet will most likely be too large to carry around and use as a phone, but if somehow you could get a discount if you also had or got an iPhone, that would make it more affordable. But I really think the iTablet will be aimed at college students or those people who want to read books, newspapers or magazines on one device.

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  23. Oh, no, another gadget craziness is coming along?

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  24. Everybody's gotta try to get in on the action. I just wish they'd all be compatible.

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  25. I love your blog! I learn so much here. Personally, I would love to have an e-reader. Waiting for the price to become a little friendlier though, lol.

    Nancy, from Realms of Thought…

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  26. sounds good for college kids and news hounds. Apple might want to have a couple years of real-world apps before they move downward to high and jr high content.

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  27. I haven't even learned how to use iPhone, iPod or xBox, and another new gadget is out. Sigh!

    Bargain with the Devil

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  28. So I guess in January folks will be falling over themselves, hysterical about how Apple "created" the e-reader world or something like that. It gets old after awhile!

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  29. It will be a cool device, if it happens, but the main drawback as an ereader is lack of eink. I have just recently started reading content on my cell phone and iPod Touch and quickly discovered how useless these kinds of devices are out in sunlight. I think eInk is what sets the other ereaders apart. You really can read them anywhere.

    Still, I might buy one. I like multifunction over dedicated. I just won't read out in the hammock.

    Oh, and since it's Apple, expect the price to be on the high side of expectations.
    ~jon

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