When the rumours began I can not say precisely. I seem to remember the rumours hitting the mainstream press at the beginning of last summer but we geeks, listening to uncle Leo and aunt Molly, had known for some time: Apple is going to launch a tablet computer. Before the autumn a revolutionary device would appear. No one knew what use a computer without a keyboard would be – essentially an iPhone with an identity crisis – but that did not matter: Steve Jobs’ genius would come up with a reason for its existence. There is so much confidence in the combined abilities of Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ive to give us products we want, nay need, that thinking about what use the device was going to be did not come in to it. There was just a general howling with the pack. Autumn came and went without an Apple tablet appearing.
To be on the safe side, almost every computer manufacturer developed a tablet PC. Steve Balmer of Microsoft revealed the HP version at CES recently and even Michael Arrington of Techcrunch fame was in on it. But that is a different story. The reasoning behind the hurry is that there is going to be a sales vacuum once Apple reveals its perfect product. The rest is going to be just that: the rest. It will take some time after Apple have launched their iteration of the tablet for everyone else to catch up to Apple’s lead. The iPod phenomenon still hurts.
their lips are sealed
Apple has kept very quiet about tablet computers. They never denied nor confirmed the rumours. Their lips are sealed. The rumours however are persistent and no longer speculate whether Apple will introduce a tablet computer. They have now turned to what the mythical machine will look like and how it will work.
sandwiches and lemonade
Apple have announced a presentation on the 27th of January. Even that was a rumour until very recently. A rumour that for a long time pinpointed the 26th as the hallowed date. This rumour turned out close enough to the truth but until the official announcement, it was based on the fact that Apple had rented space at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. No one even considered the idea that this might have been for a company outing. You know, sandwiches and lemonade and shaking the hand of the boss. It had to be the tablet announcement, right?
All this I write as a rather long introduction to two short observations that suggest a cunning plan.
Observation 1: a persistent rumour about a revolutionary Apple product forces other companies to develop that product.
Observation 2: a persistent rumour about a revolutionary Apple product makes it almost impossible for Apple nót to develop such a product.
Extrapolation from these observations offers some exciting possibilities for us geeks. If we want a certain gadget, all we have to do is spread the rumour that Apple is making such a product. Then we get a few hastily bolted together attempts by some of the big manufacturers like HP and Samsung and the like. This is followed by a slick, revolutionary Apple version. At a premium price of course. Which in turn is followed by more well thought out and somewhat cheaper second generation versions of the first, hastily bolted together products. Within a year from nothing to a plethora of choice.
Of course we must not be too modest in this scheme. Before we know it the industry is going to catch on to our little trick. I propose to bombard the rumour blogs with subtle hints that Apple is working on a transporter, based on the technology depicted in Star Trek, only portable. This device will of course look very smart. The destinations will be available on the iTunes store, free of DRM for $4.99 a pop. Seamless integration with iPhoto and iMovie are a given. Photo’s and video’s made at the destinations can be shared with friends and family through MobileMe.
It would be nice if everyone would put a bit of effort into this project. Our recent winter holiday on the Belgian coast was lovely and we have planned the one for next year already. However, the car journey there, on roads that resembled ice-rinks more than anything else, was less pleasurable.