That Wednesday Steve Jobs is expected to don his favorite black mock turtleneck (does he own any other shirts?) and remove the curtain atop the long-awaited Apple tablet, a touch-screen computer that sounds like a super souped-up iPhone.
Only this one doesn’t take calls, which is fine because nobody I know with iPhone likes using the “phone” feature. However, it will be supported by mobile carriers, and that bastion of journalism Fox News is claiming that Apple is in talks with both AT&T and Verizon to carry the device. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the tablet will be shipping in March.
The fanboy craze for the tablet across the Interwebs has gotten so overwhelming that TechCrunch is complaining about it. And I thought the hype for Google’s Nexus One was damn ridiculous — nothing compares to the fervor of Macheads (he types on a Macbook while listening to Iron and Wine on his iPod — you can’t write and listen to Black Flag).
But the tablet is likely to be a game changer in the mobile space — right when Apple most needs it. Exemplifying Android’s rapid rise, a report released today from mobile entertainment destination Myxer shows that Android traffic to the site increased 350% in 2009, compared 170% for the iPhone — which is nothing to sneeze at. However, a slew of new Android devices will appear this spring on a plethora of carriers.
The nation is starting to get Android fever — which is not nearly as cool as cowbell fever.
However, Google is still behind on the smartphone front — Android 2.0 has been dramatic improvement over the initial run, but the iPhone OS has been growing steadily for more than two years. Anyone expecting a Google tablet anytime soon?
A ChangeWave survey noted that 18% of respondents were likely or very likely to pay whatever ridiculous price Apple charges for the tablet right out of the gate. Sound ridiculous? Remember the giant lines at AT&T stores when the iPhone was introduced with a $500 price tag? And you were stuck with AT&T, which sucks no matter how much Luke Wilson argues it doesn’t.
(On a side note, the AT&T/Verizon rivalry could get awesome if they replace the “Can-You-Hear-Me-Now” guy with Owen Wilson. It’s not like he’s doing any good movies — how do you go from “The Royal Tennembaums” to voicing “Marmaduke”? Finally, T-Mobile could get that other Wilson brother to be their spokesperson — he’s about as irrelevant as Catherine Zeta-Jones… and T-Mobile. ZING!)
The tablet, though, is huge — not literally, which is the point. This is an easily portable computer, far nicer than competing netbook (of course it is, it’s from Apple). And consumers will be thrilled if they have the option between AT&T and Verizon (another rumor swirling is that Apple will announce the Verizon iPhone that is expected this summer.)
Frankly, the Google’s Nexus One release pales in comparison. Oh, and the tablet’s unveiling comes right as mobile advertising is starting to boil and players are trying to consolidate before the top of the pot flies off. OK, count me among the fanboys — this is going to be exciting.