Despite denials from Steve Jobs and interim CEO Tim Cook, Apple appears to be working on a Netbook-like, so called Media Tablet. This appears to be a 10inch touchscreen tablet without a keyboard. The Seeking Alpha reviewers are raving and already talking $300 price for Apple stock. Now this blog has already written extensively on the NetBook Tipping Point problem faced by Apple (and Microsoft as well) … and we beg to differ on the media tablet’s success depending on what is missing.
The conjecture is that the Apple Media Tablet will have
a)no keyboard – possibly an imbedded on screen keyboard. Serious deficiency in either case. Given the popularity of texting but the speed possible with full keyboard – this would be major deficit and would not blunt the growing popularity of Netbooks.
b)no mobile phone connection – this simply may not be true and Apple would offer an extra cost mobile phone+media tablet. If it is true and there is no or limited web connectivity, this product is an Edsel. If there is web connectivity, then Skype et al provide a web based phone alternative. In either case Apple has some very tough choices to make – cannibalize laptop or cannibalize iPhone sales. Also recent and extensive negotiations with Verizon would seem to discount this option – i.e. Apple chooses some iPhone cannibalization.
c)limited number and/or apple proprietary ports – this would help Apple tackle cannibal problem above but would interfere with device being able to interact with its own iPod, iPhone and Macbook devices unless they are infra-red or BluRay enabled. This choice of limited device support/availability is unlikely but…
d)dollar bill size screen – this is a high resolution screen allowing movies and iTunes media/shows to appear very crisply on the device. But again this will not deter Netbooks. This might be a temporary iPod-like strategy until Apple can build up a bigger supply of large touchscreens. Then the bigger screen could become a 8-month ahead logical add-on to Media Tablet II.
As one can see Apple is skirting a very close line between its current Brand – “we bring you superlative innovation at a fair leading edge price” versus how do we protect our iPhone and laptops from the incoming tide of Netbooks and other Taiwanese/Chinese electronic innovations. Our prognosis is that if Apple misses on two of the above four feature decisions, then fruit they will be delivering will be a Lemon.