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7/27/2009
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Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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Report: Apple's Tablet To Be Media Focused, Coming In September

Today, the Financial Times ran an interesting piece on the collaboration between Apple and the music industry to revitalize music sales. Part of the plan is to offer interactive booklets and other content as part of digital music sales. Oh, and consumers will access it all from a new, tablet-style device from Apple that has yet to be announced.

Today, the Financial Times ran an interesting piece on the collaboration between Apple and the music industry to revitalize music sales. Part of the plan is to offer interactive booklets and other content as part of digital music sales. Oh, and consumers will access it all from a new, tablet-style device from Apple that has yet to be announced.Here's the money quote from today's Financial Times report, "The new touch-sensitive device Apple is working on will have a screen that may be up to 10 inches diagonally. It will connect to the internet like the iPod Touch - probably without phone capability but with access to Apple's online stores."

The information comes from some sources in the entertainment industry -- not Apple, and not the music labels, which declined to comment on the article.

The whole idea behind this product is to bring energy back to media consumption by consumers. Sales of physical media -- aka, CDs -- has fallen precipitously the last five years and digital media downloads are not strong enough to make up the difference in lost sales. The music industry has famously blamed P2P sharing sites, The Pirate Bay, and thousands of individuals who share vast libraries of music.

According to the FT's sources, this tablet -- paired with some form of new media -- is what the music industry is pinning its hopes on to help it regain some sales. Interactive booklets, sleeve notes, downloads and other content will be bundled with digital sales of albums.

"It's all about re-creating the heyday of the album when you would sit around with your friends looking at the artwork, while you listened to the music," said one executive.

I am a voracious consumer of music. Between concerts and (legitimately purchased) downloads, it is my biggest entertainment expenditure by far. I've been somewhat impressed with what artists have done to incorporate DVDs with physical CDs that offer in-studio footage, rough cuts, alternate takes, videos and other content to those willing to actually go to a store and buy them. It hasn't been enough.

Can this new collaboration with Apple produce a different result? Who knows. I mean, I already use laptops and phones to consume a large percentage of my music and video content. Do I need another device that it only a media player? Seems like it would be redundant. How many people already own and use the same devices that I do? Let's face it, Apple fanatics are the most apt to purchase such a product, and if they are already using the same equipment I am, what's the point?

The number of questions left unanswered will have the blogosphere guessing for months until Apple gets around to making any sort of announcement. Will it be a full computer? Will it run iPhone/iPod Touch OS? How big will the screen be? Will it replace the iPod Touch? What about regular iPods?

Any information that arises regarding those points will be pure speculation until we see something official from Apple.

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