In the past we’ve had our hearts broken by rumors that didn’t pan out. But could it be that Apple has simply been delaying the device for commercial reasons—that such a gizmo has indeed been around in prototype for two or three years? Just a guess. But oh how in character it would be for the oft-secretive Steve Jobs, who, for all I know, has a pile of ’em stashed away in Hangar 18, Area 51.
So what do you think, gang? Will it be good or bad if Apple comes out with the tablet and maybe even dominates the e-book industry? We’ve seen how Amazon has tried to inflict the Kindle format on the world. Will Apple try to do the same with its own creation or with a DRM ally such as ScrollMotion? Might Apple try to lock out third-party products like Stanza that combine e-reading and distribution infrastructure? And about Apple’s censorship of Knife Music?
Meanwhile here are a few more details from TechCrunch’s Arrington:
Prototypes have been seen and handled by one of our sources, and Apple is talking to OEMs in Asia now about mass production.
Apple has been experimenting internally with large form tablet devices for years, one source says, but there was concern that users wouldn’t like the device. The difference now is the iTunes app store, which has thousands of games and other applications that are perfect for a touch screen device with an accelerometer. Apple says more than 300 million applications have been downloaded since the App Store launched in July 2008. Combine the App Store, iTunes and a browser and you have one heck of a device.”
In the post, Arrington says he expects the price to be “significantly higher” than the current $399 for the 32G iPod Touch.
So what’s the likelihood of the rumor panning out? “I’m not saying Apple is definitely launching a large form iPod Touch,” Arrington writes. “But sources I trust are saying they are currently planning to, and one source has actually held the device.”
Related: Techmeme roundup on the iPod rumor.
Question of the day: What’ll Oprah do after she’s encouraged her fans to buy Kindles and thus Kindle books—if Apple has a better machine and the price drops? Oh, the perils of blessing such proprietary devices. I’m rooting for Oprah eventually to Get It and encourage Amazon to embrace ePub. We’re talking matters of trust here. Proprietary formats, especially with DRM involved, are inherently untrustworthy.