Apple executives will take the stage at Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco Jan. 27, and are expected to unveil the anticipated Apple tablet computer.
There is a lot of information seeping through the reality distortion field around the device, the official name of which (iSlate? iPad? iTablet?) no one aside from Apple CEO Steve Jobs, his executives and their partners seems to know.
No one can agree on its price, said to be between $500 (good) and $1,000 (bad). There is, however, a consensus building that the tablet will be a gaming device geared to support basic social gaming applications of the type people use on Facebook, as well as multiplayer games.
Jeff Scott, founder and publisher of the 148Apps blog, wrote on TechCrunch Jan. 25 that, in addition to Apple supposedly making deals with Electronic Arts and developers to create and demo games for the tablet, publications that cover the gaming arena have been invited to the special Apple event.
But so have writers from every major high-tech blog and traditional news outlets such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Where’s other evidence of the Apple tablet being a gaming godsend? Scott said the supposed dimensions and traits of the device point to a proper gaming console.
The tablet is expected to have anywhere from a 7-inch to 11-inch screen, but Scott said he expects two models, the smaller one targeted at gaming and the larger for more general use.
He also said a screen resolution of at least 640 by 800 and a stronger processor than the one powering Apple’s iPhone 3GS will make the tablet well suited for gaming. Scott wrote:
““A device with a larger screen will make that experience much more compelling. Both traditional games, like board games, and arcade games could take advantage of the larger screen and increased multi-touch capabilities to support multiplayer games. Imagine a high resolution Scrabble, Chess, Checkers, etc. game on the tablet device where you can play either simultaneous multiplayer on a single device or across multiple devices. Beyond traditional games, a first person shooter could use the device split screen and allow multiple players to compete in the same game.”“
Much Ado About Gaming for the Tablet
On the software side, there is budding evidence that the tablet may run an expanded version of the iPhone OS 4. Indeed, Flurry found approximately 50 devices that match the characteristics of Apple’s rumored tablet device on Apple’s Cupertino, Calif., campus.
Moreover, Flurry uncovered evidence of an as-yet-unidentified OS running on those machines. What did people run on those devices?
Flurry Vice President of Marketing Peter Farago said, “Across all applications detected, there was a strong theme of sharing and/or social interaction including social games, social networking, photo sharing and utilities like file transfer applications.”
Meanwhile, Scott said he expects no joysticks or control pads on the device. Instead, multitouch control will rule the machine, which has an advantage in ease of playing but the disadvantage that people obscure the screens with their fingers and hands when they swipe.
Meanwhile, the Apple tablet is also spawning actual games, not just stories about games. The New York Times has crafted this Apple tablet game, which those attending the anticipated tablet launch can complete as each detail is revealed.
Once they download and print the PDF game sheet, players are invited to place an X on the square that aligns with the details Apple reveals Jan. 27. The player with the highest number of X’s after the event concludes wins.
Details in the squares range from price–$699, $999 or even “$99 subsidized with a lifetime contract”–to whether the device will include a stylus and a QWERTY keypad.
This is a nice reprieve from all of the serious talk about what the device will and won’t feature.
Finally, some more bullish news for Apple investors and fans. According to Apple Insider, RBC Capital Markets analyst Mike Abramsky has projected a $600 average selling price for an Apple tablet.
At minimum, selling 5 million Apple tablets in the first year would earn the company $2.8 billion in additional revenue. That’s the kind of cash Apple is known for generating from its consumer electronics devices.