back to article Apple tablet will 'redefine print,' says rumor mill

Apple's oft-rumored tablet will appear in mid-2010, have a 10.7-inch display, run the iPhone OS, and "redefine print". That is, if recent reports by Gizmodo and iLounge are to be believed. Gizmodo cites a number of sources from the publishing industry who claim they have been in talks with Apple to provide content for a "new …


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  1. J 3

    Prices high?

    "the lack of printing and distribution costs that ebooks enjoy could cut publishers' overhead significantly"

    "Could" is the right verbal tense. But if other digital media prices compared to the physical equivalents are any indication, prices won't change much. But profit surely will. Damn, I've seen downloads that are MORE expensive than the physical product!

  2. Aaron Gilliland

    Redefine, eh?

    So print's current definition is "something written on paper."

    The new definition will be "something written on paper, as opposed to something you will see on an electronic display."

    Thanks for clearing that up!

  3. DrXym Silver badge

    I bet it will redefine print

    What once used to be purchasable from multiple outlets, resellable, loanable and available in a common format (letters on a page) will instead be locked into a proprietary format, that doubtless Apple will hold the keys to. Perhaps Apple will confound everyone by adopting a relatively open format such as epub but I won't hold my breath. Their past behaviour with music and video show they consider their devices as golden cages using proprietary formats and DRM as the means to hold their customers to ransom. After all, who is ever going to jump ship from Apple if their content doesn't work any more?

  4. compsciguy

    Phone calls

    "While it's difficult to imagine holding a 10.7-inch table up to one's ear to make a phone call, Bluetooth could enable such usage."

    So could adding a camera and a builtin mic.

  5. Renato


    How long will it take to someone port Linux to it?

  6. Renato
    Jobs Horns

    Redfine print

    And certainly, it will come with some redfine print attached to it.

  7. The Avangelist

    It wont change print - not fast enough

    at last weeks Flash On The Beach Conference, Mark Anders talked extensively about the new text capabilities of the forthcoming update from Adobe for Flash and Papervision.

    This I think is going to have a huge drive with regards to the way print is handled on both desktop and mobile devices. It might be a preferred hardware solution, but if the platform isn't there for delivery it's wasted.

  8. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    We'll all want one whether it works or not.

    @ J 3 don't tell anyone. CDs were nearly always cheaper to make than vinyl, DVDs were definitely always cheaper than cassettes but that didn't stop the public fighting to be bum-raped by the industry. The basic argument is that we're prepared to pay extra for convenience. So we were supposed to love downloads so much that we would pay extra for them. Pity for the industry that the very changes that allow them to increase their margins, let others in on the act. Once they realised that they crafted the MPCA (or whatever it is) to save us from ourselves!

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Mid-2010 now?

    How difficult can it be to make an oversized iPod touch?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns


    The one that MS are developing seems much better, it's not running a crippled phone operating system but Windows 7 and won't be tied to iTunes to download software, it looks like Apple are developing a toy version with limited functionality, whilst MS are bringing one out running a proper OS. The dual screens is just a bonus.

    Which will businesses go for? Naturally the MS version (it should run all your business software), and as MS are not Apple, they won't charge $1,500 for something that costs them $5 to make.

  11. GeorgeTuk

    So I reckon it will be just like a Windows tablet...

    ...but will have a nice interface and in brushed silver, will also cost over £300 than even a similar Sony product.

    And somehow it will sell by the buckload and at least 10 people will try to convince they must have one for work.

    I don't how they have done exactly but Apple are the luckiest gits alive!

  12. hypermark
    Thumb Up

    Re-booting the Book

    For what it's worth, I did a detailed analysis of what it would mean for Apple to "re-invent" print media in digital form, concluding that Apple has three key things going for it that make it a natural:

    1. A pre-existing 50M device footprint with the iPhone + iPod Touch that provides leverage for a new device;

    2. A proven dynamic platform (read: integrated hardware-software-services-tools) for end-to-end content creation, application development, distribution, and global reach, supported by deep application and media libraries, and a robust runtime space;

    3. A durable billing relationship with consumers to the tune of 100M credit cards on file (iTunes + App Store, Mobile Me).

    Plus, the history of Steve Jobs dating back to Next suggests that this is strategic to him (and thus, Apple), something the post covers:

    Rebooting the Book (One Apple iPad Tablet at a Time)

    Check it out if interested.


  13. garetht t


    [brokering deals with] "one of the largest magazine groups"

    So.. this thing'll be wipe clean, right..?

  14. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Redefine Print?

    I don't think so.

    Hold on, I'll just fetch my 1939 copy of 'The Wind In The Willows' for another read.

  15. rho
    Jobs Halo

    Lower the barriers

    "What once used to be purchasable from multiple outlets, resellable, loanable and available in a common format (letters on a page) will instead be locked into a proprietary format, that doubtless Apple will hold the keys to."

    On the other hand, a low-barrier to publishing allows greater diversity of works to consume.

    The counter-argument to that is that the high-barrier acts as a shield against dreck. Nobody who's been to a bookstore recently can make that argument. What's available now is dreck, but easily marketed dreck. The current ecosystem keeps out folks like Penny Arcade, who are profitable, if not in the way that appeals to a big publishing house.

    Reserving judgement for the actual product, but for now it sounds very interesting.

  16. Robert E A Harvey
    Thumb Down


    If apple have done a deal with the publishers, then they will have access to the digital verision of the books. Why on earth would they need physical books trucking in?

  17. Paul E


    it has an e-ink display then its not likely to be much good as a book replacement is it? I thought the idea was that reading a lcd type display was a strain on the eyes which is where the e-ink systems win?

  18. Hollerith 1

    a yes, another classic consigned to the dustbin

    The orchestra was replaced by the Mood synthesizer and various instruments, such as the violin, were rendered obsolete by digital sound-making systems. We were told this.

    Tonight I was in the audience, with every other seat filled, when Viktoria Mullova played Bach's Chaconne from the Partita No. 2 for solo violin, and somehow she gave us a transcendental experience of thrilling mastery combined with astounding depth of feeling, despite playing from the dustbin.

    Sometimes, things are perfect. These would include the violin and the codex. They can be supplemented, but never replaced.

  19. Slappy Frogg

    If I keep predicting it, it'll eventually come true

    Keep clapping boys and girls, you can save Tinkerbell, really you can, clap clap

  20. h4rm0ny


    I don't want a giant iPhone or iPod. I'll more likely be grabbing one of Microsoft's new Courier tablets, if its performance is acceptable (and price low enough). It looks better thought out and we might be about to see the amusing spectacle of Microsoft having a "cooler" product than Apple.

  21. Martin Nicholls


    Word of warning Apple, if you're reading this which you probably are because you blatantly can't come up with your own ideas:

    Don't even bother bringing this thing to market without a stylus. E-Ink is the name of the game and if you don't get that down it's gonna be another in a long line of flash-in-the-pan hype-fest products.

    Finger interfaces are nice.. Until you want to write something down - which is where the iPhone falls appart - because you can't do it.

    "How difficult can it be to make an oversized iPod touch?"

    It wouldn't be which is kind of the point. Trouble is the whole platform is woefully off the mark for such a device. Microsoft have been playing this game for years, good look to you, I saw Microsoft's prototype the other day :)

  22. stc


    how dumb; why do people want this? when i buy a book, i feel like i am adding a treasured item to my library that will outlive me. if i wanted it to be ephemeral, i'd just go to the library. no point in paying probably like a thousand dollars for something rigid that you can't just toss around and furthermore requires a charging unit! and then to pay on top of that good money for virtual texts, that are gone when your disk fails or revoked when the vendor doesn't feel like you should have them anymore. no thanks. and digitizing textbooks, that is a tragedy. i have tons of interesting old textbooks on all kinds of subjects that i have gotten out of free piles at my local university or for pennies on the dollar through ebay, abebooks, or amazon used. some of these books are fifty, seventy-five years old. some are seminal classics in their field. that's never going to happen when print goes digital. i guess if people want to buy this thing for being a tablet pc in and of itself, that's one thing, but i don't get the ebooks fad. and i don't think i'm the only one; there was a lot of hype when the kindle first came out but i think now that the novelty has worn away, folks are finding them wanting compared to the real thing.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Sure it will

    Just like the Kindle and Sony Reader did.

  24. thomas k.

    No Boot Camp then?

    iPhoneOS? So, no Boot Camp to install Windows 7 on it then?

  25. Glenn Amspaugh

    Media player

    I'm not so much interested in an Apple tablet as a book reader but as a media player for our home server. Currently, have a Mac Mini holding 360+ movies, several gigs of music, and family iPhoto collection. It's hooked to our tv and can stream movies and such out to a laptop and sync files up to iPhone. Would be nice to have a larger screen than the iPhone that's lighter than the laptop and able to browse and play from home server, wirelessly, without synching.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I see what attracted Apple to this market

    "Apple's purported discussions with textbook publishers is especially interesting, considering the scandalous prices students now pay for those essential items"

    How could Apple resist the lure of scandalous prices?

  27. Fremma


    I love my Sony PRS-505 with its e-ink screen. But, unlike Paul E and Martin Nicholls, I don't kid myself that it is the way of the future. For the mass market who can't see the point of a dedicated e-reader and demand multi-function devices, LCD screens will beat e-ink now and in the forseeable future. I also don't buy the "eye strain" argument (at least for most people; I accept it is a real problem for some) as most people (the "mass market" again) cope with LCD screens eight hours plus a day at work.

    E-Ink Readers are great for reading novels (particularly in bed). I do a lot of that and I hope Sony and their ilk continue to develop and release devices that focus on that one task. I hope they also produce the sort of LCD multi-function tablet that this article focuses on - I'll probably be in the queue for one of those as well. But, for me, I see them as two complementary rather than competitive technologies.

  28. Charles Manning

    Better than the Windows Tablet

    Using Windows and x86 for a tablet like this is pretty broken. It will need a heavy battery etc.

    Using ARM and a lighter wieght OS is a way better idea.

    Until you can drop one and spill coffee on it, these won't replace books.

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Just 'cos Lord Jobs sticks his head in the oven, doesn't mean we all have to!

    'According to the Gizzers, Apple has hosted meetings with The New York Times, textbook publishers McGraw Hill and Oberlin College Press, and "several executives from one of the largest magazine groups" to discuss moving their content to the aforementioned "new device".'

    Hmmm.....what you mean like relase you stuff in a locked up DRM PDF file, ebook, LIT file or God forbid plain TXT file? Hmmmm....takes a lot of meetings to decide that doesn't it?! Then again these are director and marketing types we're talking about.

    Kindle, Sony reader et al all managed to get their stuff off the ground quickly and quietly without a lot of fuss, FFS! Why 'cos it's Apple, does it have to be a major event?

    Books are dead eh? FFS! Just 'cos the Saviour from the Church of Jobs is releasing a pad big enough to read books on, suddenly the world and his wife will do what they have been trying to do for the last 25 years, kill the paper printed word? What a lot of bollox! I didn't see the iPhone stop people talking to each other or stop them using pen and paper, did you?

    I am partial to being an Apple fanboi owning a couple of Macs, but this sycophantic worship of the Lord Jobs gets right up my nose ( good idea for a Reg icon? ). He's a business man with a knack for hiring talented types and fleecing fools like me from their money, he's not JC incarnate!

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I love these comments

    Let's see:

    "amusing spectacle of Microsoft having a "cooler" product than Apple"

    "Trouble is the whole platform is woefully off the mark "

    "nice interface and in brushed silver, will also cost over £300 than even a similar Sony product."

    Where do you lot get these amazing crystal balls? I wish I could see the future so clearly.

  31. Mark Aggleton


    Apple and Adobe in the same sentence. What a terrible pairing.

  32. Neil Stansbury
    Gates Halo

    Courier New

    I've been looking for a Palm grafitti-esk dual screen eSomething to replace my paper A5 notebook for years. If MS can give me half the functionality presented in this video I won't be waiting for Jobs.

  33. Juan Inamillion

    Trolls are out in force today I see

    That's all.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Money Saving

    From the linked website:

    "This semester I spent almost $300," said KCC student Barak Maor, 18. "The most I spent on textbooks was $350 in my first semester."

    So how is this going to be cheaper. Rough guess, tablet at cheapest $500, plus books, say another $250.

    So $750 is cheaper than $350?

    Maybe over 4 or 5 years, it may work out cheaper, but of course, then you'll need to buy a new reader. Also can you resell the e-books? Can you get them from the library for free? Can you share them?

    Cheaper? My arse....

  35. Cody

    It will be insanely great!

    It will be great, insanely great.

    At last we will have someone who will maintain a list of books it is proper for us to read. Right now, I just download books I want, and the other day I came on a site offering a copy of the Kama Sutra. I can't tell you how distressing this was. Well, when Apple introduces its ebook, this will never happen, because the good folks there will make sure nothing upsetting is included in the store.

    They will safeguard the user experience by locking the ebook to the bookstore. This will make sure that those of us who are too weak willed to refrain from downloading the Kama Sutra when it is offered to us will be preserved from, I was going to say, breaking the law, but of course the KS is legal, why I cannot imagine, but Apple will preserve us from reading inappropriate material. All that stuff about the sound 'phat', well, really!

    And then there will be an app store, which will keep us from downloading any deviant apps.

    And we will be prosecuted under the DCMA and any other laws Apple legal can think of should we jailbreak Apple's machine. Copyright included, because the purchase agreement will explain that this is not bought but only licensed. This will preserve the user experience as well, by protecting us from unfamiliar events.

    Yes folks, its going to be insanely great, and in the great Apple tradition. Looking forward to it.

  36. MarcF


    "and the other day I came on a site offering a copy of the Kama Sutra"

    I'd suggest you invest in some screen wipes.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Won't work

    CDs cost 50p each to you and me, so probably about 10p to a bulk buyer. Thats why downloads don't cost less.

    Books cost 50p-£1 to print. It will make no diffrence to the cost of text books. The real cost is in that these books are 2-3 years of work for several people and will be lucky to sell 1000 a year.

  38. Adam T

    Eye Strain

    Did someone mention eye strain?

    It's strange because I've always had crystal eyesight, but the past few years it has started to degrade (midlife wear & tear I guess).

    As such I didn't think I'd want to read books on a display, but strangely enough I find it easier to read at night on an iPhone display than from a paperback - and I think it's because of lighting. It's virtually impossible to get perfect page-and-eye-friendly lighting in bed... I've tried various lamps, shades, uplighters and even head-mounted camping/reading lamps, and it's always a pain in the arse (I'm a fidgetter, I can't lie in one position for long).

    With the iPhone (or to be more accurate, any reasonable size handheld backlit LCD), I'm free of where the lamp is, and get no weariness from lightsources at the 'edge' of my vision - which is what usually results in weariness.

    That's my experience anyway. Not sure I want a full 10" display in a book reader tho...maybe 8"...

  39. bish



    Except it's not coming, because it never does, and it won't be amazing, because even if it does finally appear, we'll all know everything there is to know about it LOOONG in advance and there won't be much to get excited about.

    Jobs wants to make a game-changer portable computer. This has been his aim for as long as I can remember. The problem is, technology hasn't caught up to his vision, and his mortality is catching up with him. This leaves two possible outcomes:

    1) This constant cycle of rumour, speculation and "this time next year" commentary will continue to add up to nothing, as Jobs keeps pulling back on going into production, because the best Apple can do still doesn't measure up to what he wants.

    2) Jobs - worried he'll never see the day that cool kids with good hair iChat on their iTabs (or whatever) in Starbucks - goes ahead and launches the damn thing, but it's massively underwhelming to everyone and way too expensive, and while a few people shell out and sit in public places cooing at their overpriced gadget, most people just make do with a crappy netbook or phone, and get on with their lives.

    It can't be thin enough or battery-efficient enough until someone invents fast-refresh flexible eInk, preferably with multi-touch capabilities. There have been prototypes of most of those ideas individually, but no one (that I know of) has put them all together, and certainly not affordably. It isn't likely to happen in Jobs' lifetime, and I for one wish he'd just shelve it, with detailed instructions on what he wants the Apple geeks to build when the tech is finally available. Why rush out a half-realised product? It's becoming a bit of a vanity project (like most Apple stock, I suppose).

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    What a lot of fuss over nothing really. It's amazing how one company can polarise opinion so much. No, it won't redefine print. It *may* redefine publishing, but wasn't the internet supposed to do that? What an sensational example of fuckwittery…

  41. TeeCee Gold badge

    Re: Wow.

    You obviously don't get a continuous drip of invites to sodding "Mac parties" from starry-eyed Apple lusers then.

    You start out being all open minded and accommodating, but after a while you realise that it's like having the Jehova's bloody Witnesses around and you end up wishing the whole sodding lot of 'em would just fuck off and die horribly somewhere.

  42. Robin


    While we're on the subject of definitions of things, here's one:


    (verb) form a theory or conjecture without firm evidence

    That is all.

  43. uhuznaa

    Nobody interested, eh?

    I always think it's endlessly amusing that some say nobody is interested in an Apple tablet, but there're nearly daily new articles discussing it in detail (with no details available) and these articles draw comments like no others.

    In case you haven't noticed: Apple is building the hype right now and you're part of it. When (if) this thing is finally announced, worlds will crumble, companies will struggle to be part of it and people will buy the thing like crazy.

    And while I share the concerns of all critics of DRM-infested content the fact remains that print publishers are really desperate right now. They're catching at every straw and if there's a straw that's actually an Apple branded log... I don't think there's a shortage of print publishers who would give an arm and a leg to be in the same position as the music industry with regards to the iTunes store.

  44. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse


    Never have I had the misfortune to read such a complete pile of crap as that spewed from these manufacturers and resellers.

    Do they really not realise that the world contains billions upon billions upon billions of people in hundreds of countries who either really don't give a flying fuck about about their products, or who are lucky enough to have never even heard of them. Luckily I'm in the former camp, but I'd rather be in the latter.

  45. David Kelly 2

    Books delivered to Apple HQ?

    I can't believe Apple would be stupid enough to pay California wages, taxes, and real estate to scan books at their HQ as Andy Ihnatko suggests.

  46. Richard 102

    So let me get this straight ...

    ... this is all conjecture and rumor, Apple has experience in this sort of thing, they have the infrastructure in place, they make desirable devices, they are well-liked and well-respected by many in the publishing industry, and people are already claiming they'll fail?

    First, let's see if it actually comes out, okay? Right now, we don't even know what we don't know. What we *do* know suggests that if Apple were to do something like this, they might sell a lot of them. They laughed at the iPod (No wireless. Less space than a Nomad. Lame.). They laughed at the iTunes store. (Who would pay for DRM-infested money when they can download it for free? Monthly subscriptions are the way to go!) They laughed at the iPhone. (No stylus?! And Enterprise IT won't use it!). Now they're laughing at something that might not even exist.

    Of course, we also laughed at a dancing monkeyboy shouting "Developers!" repeatedly.

  47. Robert Hill
    Jobs Halo

    IF the battery life is decent...

    then I can't wait to get one. I already use my iPhone as a book reader, using pdf's that I import using QuickOffice's WiFi transfer to my iPhone, but a larger screen would be great.

    But I don't buy that this is a replacement for books - the Sony readers are really book replacements, but this looks to be a portable multimedia platform, with lots of embedded pictures, video, spoken words, music, etc. The next generation of books, as Apple would have it.

    I agree with the poster above that states he could see himself wanting one of these AND an e-ink reader for pure printed content.

    @Hollerith 1 - Nice to see that you enjoyed the concert, but perhaps you are not aware that a great many professional orchestral performers HAVE lost their jobs to the use of synthesizers playing the music in theatre pits lately? Many theatres have totally replaced live performers with synths, and a number of others are now using 1 -2 live performers of each section with many of the others synthesized. In New York such practices have eliminated a huge number of jobs for professional musicians...

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    I'd love a huge, mutant iPod Touch..

    It's as simple as that really, moar, bigger faster- it's a nice little media player, and Stanza is fantastic, plusI have a few good games. I'd happily consider an overgrown one.

    The flaming back and forth be damned, if it's as good as my old first gen Touch (still going strong), then it'd be a nice gadget. In the meantime, the world won't end before it comes out.

  49. Till Dipper

    'Cut overhead significantly'

    By the time you find an academically viable author, get it written, edited, edited, edited, edited, proofed, proofed, proofed, fact-checked and revised and fact-checked again and edited again, designed, typeset (yes, even digital texts must be typeset), configured for all five zillion of the pointless DRM platforms and THEN try to get a lecturer to review and recommend it to his class before you think about things like aggregators/retailers or one's own ecommerce system, then, yeah, sure, not printing it on paper will really cut those overhead costs.

  50. ratfox

    the way it's going...

    Apple stock will plummet if Apple does NOT produce a tablet...

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm not a gambler, but...

    I'd be prepared to wager a couple of pounds (or Dollars) that we'll never see an iTablet.

    All Apple's products are replacements for naff predecessors. Desktops, laptops, music players, phones, they all existed but were a bit naff. However, what they all had in common was potential - they filled a very real need.

    But a tablet? There is no potential. It's a solution looking for a problem. If you try to think how you might improve a tablet through, you end up designing a laptop or a net-book or a large screen iPod.

    My money's on either a small screen MacBook Air, or a larger screen iPod Touch.

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