updated 11:50 am EST, Tue January 26, 2010
Apple tablet would be savior of newspapers
Apple's tablet has been designed with no less a goal than saving the paid news media, a detailed leak hinted late Monday. Referencing those who have supposedly seen the tablet, the New York Times says CEO Steve Jobs personally believes in the need for a free press and that the tablet is instrumental to keeping this alive in the digital era. The large 10-inch touchscreen would give a reason for companies to charge for newspapers and magazines by offering large, color publications through iTunes.
Tapping internal contacts, the authors also say that the Times is developing a version of the newspaper optimized for the tablet, but it stops short of explaining how this would work. Publishers such as Bonnier and Condé Nast have been developing their own tablet material, though most of this has been without Apple input.
The same sources echo many of the most common rumors about the hardware in question, including the presence of a 3G connection for always-on Internet access as well as Wi-Fi for shorter-ranged use. iPhone apps should still work with the device and would already play into publishers' hands, as apps for GQ and the Wall Street Journal provide access to text in a smaller but adaptable format. Current or upcoming controls on paid access, such as at the Times and Journal would prevent customers from simply getting unfettered news access at the website.
The insiders don't, however, expect an iTunes TV subscription to be part of the Wednesday introductions. Major studios have so far rebuffed the idea, which would give access to multiple shows for a flat but discounted rate per month. Studios have often been captive of cable and satellite as the revenues from these outlets are still more lucrative than Internet content.