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Apple’s Tablet – Game Machine?

John Gruber’s lengthy and thoughtful take on what the Apple Tablet could be has been making the blogospheric rounds. His reasoning is solid I definitely think he’s onto something:

Do I think The Tablet is an e-reader? A video player? A web browser? A document viewer? It’s not a matter of or but rather and. I say it is all of these things. It’s a computer.

What I found surprising is that Gruber doesn’t say that the tablet will be a game machine. Apple has a checkered history when it comes to gaming — though encouraged with the Apple II, it wasn’t at all supported with the original Macintosh (Steve thought it would make it seem too much like a toy), and some think that’s part of the reason that PCs dominated the home market. With iPhone and iPod Touch, Apple has all but rebranded them as a gaming platform, after seeing which apps were the most popular.

So, along with being an e-reader, video player, web browser, document viewer, I would expect the new tablet to be a game platform, and a potentially game changing one at that. With a flat form factor, accelerometer, iSight (especially if there’s two iSights, one on the front, one on the back), and wireless, the gaming opportunities are remarkable. You could have a driving game where what you’re holding actually held like a steering wheel. You could have two lined up side by side and play air hockey. You could do some crazy augmented reality stuff, or body control stuff, and come up with game ideas no one has thought yet.

Anyway, yeah, games. Oh, the other thing I suspect is that the only way to get software on the device will be through an App Store. The model is just too attractive, especially if they sell it as a “not-computer” (yes, it will be a computer, but they will very likely sell it as some type of appliance).

  1. How come, a while back when I pointed out that the iPhone was more a toy than a tool, all I got back was flack from iUsers proclaiming the total toolness of the instrument? Are we all now agreed that the iPhone is man’s second most popular hand toy, though first in usage?

  2. Hi

    I thnk that like the iPhone and iTouch, the iTablet (iSlate or whatever) will ndeed be great for games, but my guess is that Steve will be pushing it as a Kindle Killer. Expect to see comics and glossy magazines, as well as top brand newspapers (Wall St Journal, Times, FT and others) to get a higher billing, initially.

    Don’t expect it to be cheap either… that’s not Apple’s style. Steve won’t be pushing this as a netbook but as something uniquely Apple.It may well be cheaper than a MacBook but nowhere near the low-end netbooks from the likes of Acer.

    However, I do believe it will be a game-changing appliance and will create its own niche, just like the iPod and iPhone before it. It will also generate an even bigger market for Apps… now if only they can sort out the messy and clunky approval process!

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