Those of us who are particularly cynical will have noted that the people most actively laying down this line of patter are from firms like Forrester Research -- which is probably claiming that Amazon has sold eighty kazillion Kindles by this point -- and various start-ups in the digital reading space. In other words: these are people who are trying to deliberately create hype so that they can shift some of it in their direction.
But let's be honest. Even if this rumored product is the Apple tablet -- and indications are pretty good that it will be -- and even if this device has an iTunes-like book and magazine store built into it, as it probably will, it's not going to radically change the landscape for electronic text readers, let alone the larger world of reading in general.
This device will most likely:
- be at least twice the price of currently existing dedicated book readers
- have far less than half the batter life of those readers
- bulk much larger and heavier than those readers
And I remain skeptical that millions of people will suddenly rush out to buy a new portable computer. Even with Apple's phenomenal success with the iPhone this decade, the Macintosh's market share has only ticked upward slightly; the new Apple audience has not shown a massive willingness to trade Wintel cheapness and ubiquity for Apple design.
One final thought: the people who claim this device will "save publishing" are crowing about the iTunes model. Has anyone thought to ask the music companies -- so devastatingly reduced in size and profitability this decade -- how well that model "saved" their business?