The Apple Tablet

The Loop reports that Apple has sent out invites to the media for an event to be held at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco on January 27.

There have been several rumors that have cropped up since the last time I wrote about the tablet. Jeffrey Trachtenberg has heard that HarperCollins Publishers has been negotiating with Apple, TG Daily has heard that Apple has bought up all available supply of 10.1-inch multi-touch LCD and OLED displays, and John Gruber has heard that the tablet won’t have a webcam.

All the rumors are interesting but I’m more interested in the number of writers speculating about what the tablet will and won’t do (Tim Van Damme did some speculating and also linked to many of the more interesting tablet speculators). Just like with the build up to the iPhone, we all just assume that this thing exists. I’m not doubting it’s existence, I just find it fascinating that almost no one is questioning it anymore.

Clayton Morris writing for FOXNews.com has went to the trouble of “confirming” that the tablet will be announced at the January 27 event.

Apple just announced an event on January 27th that will no doubt dazzle us with what the company is calling its “latest creation.” At the event, Apple will unveil the company’s long-rumored tablet device.

Honestly, does anybody really care about this confirmation? Like I said, everybody has just assumed for months that it was coming sometime in the first quarter of this year.

All of this build up has made me wonder why we’re so interested in the tablet at all. Whenever I ask anyone why they want a tablet, they don’t really have a good answer for me. Apple wouldn’t release a product without finding an answer to that question. But, John Gruber said it best:

“I’d use it on the couch and lying in bed” is not a good answer. You can already use your iPhone or MacBook on the couch and in bed.

If no one has a good reason for why they’d buy a tablet then why are we so intrigued by the idea of Apple building one?

I don’t think that anyone wants a tablet just because Apple wouldn’t release it without having a reason to include it in their product line. I think the real answer is more about our hope for a new way of interacting with our computers. I believe we’ve all grown tired of the same old user interfaces. No one wants to deal with files and folders anymore.

Put more simply, people are interested in the tablet because it is literally a clean slate (pardon the pun). The tablet isn’t about the hardware, it’s about the software — a new way of computing — done right this time (not like Microsoft’s tablet initiatives).

After countless rumors about the display, the technical specs, whether or not it will have a webcam, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is the software — how we will interact with the device in new ways. The only absolutes with the tablet is that it will have Safari and a video player, beyond that it’s just pure speculation. It’s almost as if we’re all trying to come up with brilliant ideas before Apple manages to ship the product.

I’m not going to say that the tablet undoubtedly be announced on January 27, specifically (because who knows, maybe it’ll be like the iPod touch’s camera) and I’m not going to write several hundred words about what I think the tablet will be, others have done that.

I just want to remind you that the tablet will ship at some point, and when it does we’ll all be thinking the same thing: “I can’t imagine it working any other way.”

Image credit to Andy Ihnatko.