Apple is reportedly working on a tablet computer — sort of a big iPod touch — which could be used as an e-book reader, Internet browsing device, movie viewer, game machine, etc.
Look out, Amazon Kindle, Steve Jobs hints in an interview with the New York Times‘ David Pogue yesterday.
“I’m sure there will always be dedicated devices, and they may have a few advantages in doing just one thing,” Jobs said. “But I think the general-purpose devices will win the day. Because I think people just probably aren’t willing to pay for a dedicated device.“
He said that Apple doesn’t see e-books as a big market at this point, and pointed out that Amazon.com, for example, doesn’t ever say how many Kindles it sells. “Usually, if they sell a lot of something, you want to tell everybody.”
Steve’s probably right about this one.
While the Kindle is good for one thing — reading books — most people aren’t going to want to carry around a gadget that only does one thing very well, when they could carry around a gadget that does a lot of things well.
Kindle fanatics like to talk about the Kindle’s e-ink screen, fine-tuned for reading, but they’re also the type of people who have time to sit around reading books for more than 20-30 minutes at a time. The Apple tablet seems like more a device for people on the go, who will read for a bit, play games for a bit, surf for a bit, watch videos for a bit — the way people use an iPhone or iPod touch. E-ink is worthless for those people.
The bigger question, of course, is whether most mainstream people will want to carry around either of these things in the first place — especially if they’re $500 or more.