What If the Apple Tablet, iSlate, is… Just a Big iPod+?

{This post was from 2 days before the Apple Event that announced the iPad.}

I had a thought today. I have been expecting the iSlate to be a full fledged tablet computer with “netbook” capabilities. I have been expecting it to be able to run real computer programs.

But when has Apple ever just entered a market? Do we really expect Apple to release an $800 “netbook” tablet device? The price point is a lot higher than the competition. That’s not something that Apple has shied away from before. But this market isn’t like the regular laptop market, where buying a PC of similar power means spending similar money.

Or do we expect Apple to come out with a device we didn’t know we needed before Wednesday, but can’t wait to get?

What if it is just a big iPod Touch? 10.1″ screen, with 3G capability. It acts like a big iPod. Runs all iPod apps, and introduces a whole new class of apps for the larger screen. Has a USB port and Bluetooth. It’s not a phone, but you can Skype and iChat with it and a built in microphone and camera. It can access Mobile Me files via a new interface.

And then Apple launches the iGuide service, which is a media delivery service for books and magazines. And the iSlate has a great e-reader app. And the books sell for a Kindle-killer price of $7 each (the price of a paperback).

And the starting price? $300 for a 16GB model. $400 for a 32GB, $500 for 64GB.

It would face the same sorts of criticisms that the iPhone did. There would be all manner of comparisons with actual “netbooks” that sell for similar amounts. Multitudes of articles would be written complaining about the lack of whatever it lacks. And Apple would ignore it all (until they fixed the glaring “mistakes” in a later update) and just keep selling them. The question would be, is this the next new thing, or just a niche product?

And the real question, would I buy it?

But then again, maybe it is a real tablet computer.

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