With Apple lining up one of the most hotly anticipated gadget launches since the iPhone – a new handheld flat-screen tablet device is expected to make its debut in California later today – the technology boffins at Deloitte didn’t really need much of crystal ball to predict that “Net tablets” were likely to be the big thing in 2010.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs is a maestro of hype and has choreographed a frenzy of expectation ahead of his big product launch this afternoon. On the back of a strong first quarter results announcement earlier this week - a quarterly profit of $3.38bn on turnover of $15.68bn, up from $2.26 and $11.88bn respectively for the same quarter last year – Jobs said the company was getting ready to introduce “a major new product that we’re really excited about”. Throughout Silicon Valley and beyond, everybody is anticipating an “iSlate” device that will support similar applications to the iTouch and iPhone, but in a larger, flatscreen case.
Two problems remain for Apple. First, the actual device may not live up to the intensity of the company’s diligent marketing preparations and second, Apple does not actually own the trade name that has been bandied about for its new device. Keep an eye on this story for updates on both points.
Apple is not the first to market with a handheld “net tab”. Toshiba previewed it’s 7in Journ Etouch last November at the IFA event in Berlin, while both Dell and HP unveiled their tablet designs at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this month.
According to Deloitte’s Technology Media and Telecommunications predictions for 2010, net-connected tablets are the Goldilocks of devices – “not too big, not too small” and are likely to be bought in their millions during 2010.