The tablet that Apple is expected to introduce during an event scheduled for Jan. 27 is likely to shake up not only the e-reader world but the app kingdom - which Apple, with its 100,000-plus applications, already rules.
Mobile analytics company Flurry, which collects data about applications being used and by what device, has noted a new device being used around Cupertino, and the use of new kinds of applications that take advantage of the slate's large screen.
"We saw a lot of testing of applications that deal with daily media consumption. Like news, books, streaming music and radio. But we are also seeing so many social apps, like multiplayer games you can player with your friends," Peter Farago, vice president of marketing for Flurry, told The New York Times.
According to Flurry, the slate will run an updated version of the iPhone's operating system - OS 3.2 - not wanting to get in the way of all the developers who are now so comfortable designing for the iPhone.
On Jan. 24, Flurry wrote on its blog that of the 200 applications it noticed, approximately 150 of those downloaded and launched were games. Other apps were geared toward entertainment, news and books and also business-oriented apps. The prices of these new applications, designed to do more with more screen space, are additionally expected to climb above current pricing.
Analyst Roger Kay, with Endpoint Technologies, also expects to see more complex apps at likely higher price points.
"Apple got the touch experience right on the iPhone and wanted to spread the joy to larger real estate, making the experience that much more immersive," Kay told eWEEK. "Depending on how Apple prices the hardware, it could set the tablet market on fire."
Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, expects a more modest number of new apps - and tablet buyers.
"I think it's not going to be quite the explosion we've seen from the iPhone and the iPod touch," Gottheil told eWEEK. "While I think a well-executed and properly priced tablet will be successful, I don't think you can expect iPhone-type level of success. It's going to be a nice to have, not a must have."
The Apple tablet, in addition to multi-user input, is expected to feature a webcam, given the remarks of a France Telecom executive on Jan. 11, as well as likely 2G, 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity, strong battery life, an industry-leading applications processor and strong e-reading features.
"To be sure, reading has now joined other forms of media (e.g., listening to music, watching videos) that have faced seismic shifts in distribution over the Internet, with far-reaching implications for traditional business models," Daniel Amir, an analyst with Lazard Capital Markets wrote in a Jan. 25 research note.
"We believe that the mid-range of a successful year for the tablet could be the equivalent of 35.4M iPhones," Amir continued
According to a former Google China executive, reportedly with ties to such knowledge, Apple expects to sell 10 million of the tablet devices in the first year of their release.