updated 12:30 pm EST, Mon January 25, 2010
New York Times team working on tablet app
Apple has been pushing hard during the last month to secure e-book publishers for its imminent tablet, a pair of sources in the publishing industry claim. Both are said to agree that Apple will probably have some sort of deal secured by launch, although one or more may be in principle only, rather than worked out in detail. Apple may be able to say it has partnerships with "all the major publishers" during this Wednesday's press event.
The company is moreover thought to be undermining two other businesses in the e-book world, Amazon and Scrollmotion. Amazon is being deliberately targeted in Apple pitches, say the sources, and countered with an agency model that gives publishers more control over aspects like pricing. Scrollmotion is the biggest book contributor on the App Store, but has allegedly been left out of tablet talks, since Apple is contacting publishers directly. "The smaller outfits are going to get screwed," one executive is said to claim.
In practical terms the tablet will cost well below $1,000, the sources say. While it has been kept away from publisher meetings, the tablet is described by one person as "a very-readable 10-inch glass screen smaller in size than the Kindle DX with a similar weight." Apple is also allegedly comparing the difference between the tablet and the Kindle with the leap from black-and-white TV to color.
The sources add that Apple has been hoping to show off e-book content at Wednesday's event, but could have as little as one example, and no substantial libraries until the middle of 2010 at the earliest. Helping to showcase the tablet in another fashion may be the New York Times, which has reportedly had a team at Apple's Cupertino headquarters in recent weeks, working on a tablet-sized version of its iPhone app. The improved app should further integrate video, a source for the LA Times suggests.