Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Year of the Tablet

Around the geek community it's been much discussed that Apple will soon be releasing a new product. Dubbed "The Tablet" there are many rumors, and thoughts about what this device may be. The basics are this - the device would be either 7 or 10 inches, full color screen, 3G & Wi-Fi connectivity, a forward facing camera, and tons of other possible components. One of the best thoughts about the device is from the Daring Fireball. And check out This Week in Tech episode 228 (around 3 min they talk about the Tablet)

So these are all rumors, but some seem more plausible than others. Most of the rumors center around a 10 inch device, so about the size of a piece of paper. That's a great size to view books, magazines and textbooks. They also focus on the fact that publishers have been contacted by Apple execs to see if they would be interested in publishing on a device like this. The implications for AT are large. Imagine a device that could read text, re-size text, and include graphics, videos, and interactive content. A textbook would be something interactive, and could include content from all over the internet. Textbooks are usually out of date before come out and have no way to make them more accessible (see Joe's Non-Netbook) this device would create something that could be changed at any time.

Connectivity is what everyone is looking for in devices these days (just look at the rise of the iPhone, Droid, etc...) and more than likely a Tablet would include 3G cellular service. Personally I'd love to see 4G or WiMax (broadband speed access spread over an entire city), but not sure that's a possibility due to limited coverage (only available in about 20 cities around the country). Now imagine an always on internet connection combined with Alexicomtech. Now you have a portable communication device, that can be changed as a child grows. Combine that with the ability to access the internet, and you have an amazing AAC device for any student.

Another rumor that seems to be prevalent is a forward facing camera. This would allow a person to hold the device and look into a camera, making video conferencing very easy. Programs like Skype are great, but they are tied to laptops and desktop computers. The iPhone has a Skype app, but you are limited to voice calling. I can imagine using "The Tablet" device for students to sit at their desk and contact other students, professionals, or friends.

I am really excited by the possibilities that 2010 seems to be bringing. I'll be looking forward to seeing what Apple might do (apparently they have reserved a space at the end of Jan. for a product announcement) and will post once something is announced! It's going to be an interesting year!


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