Assessing iSlate rumors

Everyone’s waiting for the Apple’s rumored tablet device to be released. It looks like the wait may soon be over. I’ve been going through the rumors, assessing what I think is likely to be true and what is not. Here is my current assessment of where things stand (based on nothing than my own speculation and experience):

• The name of the device is iSlate.

Accuracy confidence: 75%. Ultimately, whatever it’s called won’t matter as much as what it does.

• The iSlate will be announced on January 26 at Yerba Buena media event.

Accuracy confidence: 95%.

• The iSlate will be more like an iPhone than a MacBook. In particular, it will be based on the iPhone OS rather than Mac OS X. It will have an iPhone-like Home screen rather than a Finder. Many apps that now run on the iPhone will run on the iSlate as well. Of course, this all means that the iSlate will have a touchscreen.

Accuracy confidence: 90%.

• The iSlate will have a 10″ display, or close to it. Some iPhone apps will need to be rewritten to accommodate the larger screen size.

Accuracy confidence: 80%.

• The iSlate will include a new “ebook reader” capability. Some rumors suggest that the iSlate will be entirely an ebook reader, not a tablet computing device at all. I am skeptical of this. My gut tells me that Apple is planning something bigger than just a competitor for the Kindle and Nook. Much bigger. See this Daring Fireball article for exactly how big; I completely agree with the overall point of this article.

Accuracy confidence: 95%.

• The iSlate will feature expanded streaming audio and video features. For example, I expect a subscription service that offers movie streaming, akin to what is now available via Netflix. Actually, this is likely to be expanded to all iTunes users, whatever device you have.

Accuracy confidence: 45%.

• The iSlate will not be released in January. More likely, it will not be available until March or even later. Some suggest that its arrival may have to wait until iPhone OS 4.0 is released this summer. I doubt we will have to wait that long or Apple would not be announcing the product in January. But it’s possible.

Accuracy confidence that we will have to wait at least until March: 75%.

• The device will not be a phone, but it will support 3G/4G data services.

Accuracy confidence: 85%.

• The device will not have a foldable cover or a physical keyboard. That is, its form factor will not resemble a MacBook. Rather it will be more of an open “slate,” as its name implies. In that respect, it will look and behave more like the Kindle. There will similarly be no physical keyboard.

Accuracy confidence: 75%.

• Will you be able to attach standard computer peripherals to the device? Most critically, will there be a keyboard accessory? I am going to go with yes here. Will there be a USB port? Will you be able to attach optical drives or hard drives to the device? I am going to go with no here, at least for this first iteration of the iSlate.

Accuracy confidence: 40%.

• Apple stock will take a hit immediately after the announcement. When it does, it may be an excellent time to buy Apple, as stock will bounce back after iSlate becomes a big success.

Accuracy confidence: 70%.

• The iSlate will not be on display at Macworld Expo (even though the event takes place a week later at almost the same location where Apple will host its media event). For whatever reason, Apple appears to be determined to snub the Expo as much as possible.

Accuracy confidence: 60%.

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