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Rumor: music labels briefed on tablet, but not a focus

updated 08:35 am EST, Tue January 19, 2010

Apple tablet to dwell more on books, video

Apple has been briefing record labels about its tablet but clearly doesn't consider music the focus, details slipped out today suggest. The iPhone maker has reportedly been briefing labels this month in advance of the January 27th event but is, according to insiders, only doing this as a "courtesy" to keep them informed. iTunes LP albums may be part of the design but wouldn't really need label talks as they've already been developed.

One of these tells MediaMemo that Apple may look to sell music on iTunes beyond the 256Kbps it offers today, though it's not clear what quality would be involved and any changes wouldn't be directly connected to the tablet.

Instead, attention is expected to be placed on e-books and video. No direct sources are given for these directions, but rumors of HarperCollins negotiations, New York Times allusions, a desire for harmony with iTunes and Apple's obvious connection to Disney through Jobs are all given as logical indicators of Apple's plans.

Most expect Apple to pitch any tablet that appears next week as a superior alternative to an e-book reader like the Kindle as it will function like a general-purpose device. Color, enhanced e-books, apps, Internet access and video would raise the price compared to the usual sub-$300 prices of e-book readers but also improve on their slow, grayscale e-ink displays.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. luckyday

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2008



    Not sure how Apple's tablet will compete with eReaders for two reasons. Firstly... the price. Speculation seems to place the tablet at over double the price of any eReader. Secondly, this article seems to couch eink as a bad thing, but it has many advantages over an LCD or OLED screen for the purpose of reading books (i.e. an anti-glare experience similar to reading an actual book). Especially since the macnn/electronista cult has already pegged OLED as a bad thing since it doesn't work in direct sunlight.

    Color is nice and all, but I stopped reading picture books at least TWO years ago (magazines are a different story, but most magazines also have a website that can be viewed on any computer). In other words, if a person just wants to read books they are going to buy an eReader regardless of how good the tablet is. But if they want a eReader and a small computer replacement, perhaps they will consider apple's tablet.

  1. JulesLt

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2005


    Coffee table, magazines

    I think the answer does lie with the kind of books where colour and glossy makes sense - and while magazines often have websites, they are usually a far cry from the kind of design we are used to with print editions - i.e. they typically use lowest common denominator typography and CSS.

    I can't see them introducing something that is not, fundamentally, based around HTML/CSS/etc - i.e. iTunes LP is based on web standards, but expects a baseline that IE doesn't implement, plus some extensions. But one of the key points is that it's a bundle of content you download and look at offline - there is no going back to the web for more. It's more PDF-like in that respect.

    I can easily imagine a magazine format that is closer to that experience - and it's easy to see how a higher resolution (if smaller) screen will mean a default of better quality images, rather than ones (as now) optimised for download speed.

    There's obviously going to be room for both e-ink and a more 'glossy' experience, as there is in the physical world - but in the long run it's likely that dedicated e-readers will be replaced by software (the e-ink based readers coming to market are already moving beyond reading, into simple web browsing, RSS feeds, etc)

  1. Feathers

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: Oct 1999


    ...without a contract

    Whilst I doubt that it will happen, I would love a device that doesn't require a contract with a cellphone company! It seems that Apple have fallen in love with this revenue stream that the British head of Vodafone once described as "...the closest thing to free money..." Conclude what you may from such a remark!

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