I thought that I was going to avoid the Apple Tablet rumor bandwagon, but I couldn’t resist: After searching for and reading documentation for Apple’s iTunes Extra and iTunes LP format, I began to think about why Apple had not opened up their SDK sooner. The search for this software was instigated by asking why popular podcasters and vloggers had not begun using this extended format as a vehicle for more immersive experiences for their subscribers. Using a subscription model for the extended format would change how people engage their favorite podcasts and provide a delivery vector for content, visuals and, potentially, advertisements.
In October last year, Apple had announced their plan to introduce the enhanced format to iTunes users. The format allows end users to not only listen to audio content or watch video content, but to browse provided content and interact with the media (effectively replacing the experience large-format vinyl provided). The format is taking advantage of the already provided HTML/CSS/JS support within iTunes and provides an experience akin to a well designed website. The format was met with a luke-warm response, but there were few examples provided in the iTunes store and interest waned.
Why would Apple announce such a review-driven feature with no support or easy method of development? (Apple Rumor): To fold the adoption of this new media-driven format into an Apple Tablet release. Documentation that is provided in the iTunes LP Format SDK indicates that an automated system for submitting produced files is set for early 2010 (coinciding with a yet-to-be announced press release). A tablet device would be an ideal vehicle for browsing the LP or iTunes Extra format with a defined navigation structure and click-driven user interface. The distribution vehicle would be built-in with the Apple iTunes ecosystem already widely adopted by the audience.
I think my prediction is a conservative, but I do not think that Apple will introduce a completely alien solution to the idea of the “Tablet” as a device. What is likely is that they will provide a fantastic piece of hardware housing an adaptation of an already excellent user interface and make the tablet something it has not been since it’s introduction to the public by Microsoft in 2001: desirable.
If you are subscribing to my rumor idea, download the Apple iTunes Extra SDK and be ready for the Apple Tablet craze.