The big news today is that Apple's much-anticipated new tablet PC, previously rumored to be hitting stores early 2010, could be coming out as soon as September of this year. Apple's 10” tablet has created a lot of media buzz, and now the question on everyone's mind seems to be just what niche the gadget is going to fill. Many feel that the new device will be a Kindle killer.
Most e-readers, including the Kindle DX, fall into the $300 and under price bracket. Apple's tablet, on the other hand, has been predicted by an Oppenheimer & Co analyst to run between $600-$1000. The tablet's role in the marketplace will be determined partially by capability, but primarily by price.
In terms of what it can do, the tablet is going to beat the pants off of any e-reader currently on the market. Hollywood is eager to release more content to iTunes in order to support the tablet as a media player, and Apple is working with several record labels on 'cocktails' that combine albums and multimedia elements together into a more attractive package. Book publishers are also talking with Apple to turn the new tablet into an e-reader of sorts.
Basically, Apple's tablet will be a color Kindle that can browse the Internet, watch movies, play music, store files, and act as a (limited) netbook while being able to use apps and games from the App Store. It has several times the functionality of an e-reader, at double or triple the price. A lot of customers are going to find that an irresistible deal.
If the tablet ends up costing in the $1000 range, I don't think e-readers have much to worry about. At that price, the tablet will be competing with handheld media players like the Zune HD and the iPod touch, not $300 e-readers. But, if Apple releases their tablet at the low end price of $600, they'll provide a serious challenge to the e-reader market. An extra $300 isn't that much of a price to pay for a gadget that can do...well, everything.