Preview at WWDC likely in June, followed by September launch.
What Will be the Killer Feature of an Apple Tablet?
Both Gizmodo and PC World have taken the time to detail why they think that such a product will be a flop. John Gruber, however, points out that these people are incorrectly assuming that such a device would mimic present day tablets and offer no compelling new features.
This is not the first time that Apple has been close to releasing a tablet device. Back in 2003, the evidence for a Mac Tablet had reached similarly high levels, but for whatever reason, Apple ultimately decided not to release that device. We've always felt that the reason has been more a marketing decision than a technical one. Until Apple comes up with that "killer feature" for a tablet, we don't believe that Apple would commit to the market. Apple has always said that they won't pursue a product line unless they feel they can offer something new and compelling. While these promises could simply be dismissed as marketing propoganda, it seems clear that Apple's entries into the MP3 and mobile phone markets have met those standards.
Arguably, the iPhone's killer feature on launch was its excellent mobile web browser. This feature was poached from another internal Apple tablet project called "Safari Pad". Steve Jobs is said to have recognized its value and morphed it into what became the iPhone.
So the question remains, what added value has Apple decided it can provide in a tablet device that its competitors have been unable to offer? Are interactive album booklets alone compelling enough to launch this new device? Or have they finally decided to deploy more advanced multi-touch on a larger screen?