2010 Tablet Predictions

The Apple Tablet (“iSlate,” “iTab,” “iPhoneBigScreen”) will be released in the first half of the year. It will cost too much for widespread acceptance, though many will want one. It will launch with media partners buying in. It will have magazine or newspaper subscriptions available at a relatively low cost. You might even get The New York Times free for a month or two with purchase, just to get you hooked.

By Christmas time 2010, the price will be cut by just enough to make it attractive to about 25% more of the audience that said they wanted one, but couldn’t afford one.

In January 2011, Apple will announce the next version of the tablet, correcting many of the problems people had with the first version, but that Apple couldn’t ship on time with the first one. The price will also be cut once more, and you’ll see much wider acceptance.

Yeah, it’s a lot like the iPhone’s history. Or even the iPod’s. George Santayana said it best, kids: Study history.

Here’s my far-out prediction for the Tablet: There will be some kind of integration between the Apple Tablet and the Apple TV. If a ten inch screen isn’t big enough for you, move those files to the Apple TV, use the tablet as a remote control, and enjoy it on your home theater.

If this happens, don’t be surprised if Apple announced a new Apple TV just before announcing the Tablet at the end of this month. Cable TV-like subscription packages would be cool, but I’d be happy with podcast subscriptions on my Apple TV directly, without needing to worry about hooking it up to a computer. (That’s just me being selfish, since I can’t get my TV and my computers to see each other right now.)

In the end, I think most of the far out predictions (gesture-based interface? voice-based interface?!?) will be proven wrong and silly, just as happened with the original iPhone. At this point, we’ve all speculated on it for so long that anything Apple releases is almost guaranteed to be a little ho hum. What could Apple really surprise us all with?

If the latest rumor of a $1000 price point comes true, then we know they’re positioning this more as a laptop replacement device than an e-reader/iTunes player. Check back in three weeks and we may have most of the answers.