Follow live blogging of the Apple Tablet unveiling
The day has finally arrived! No, Jesus has not yet returned, nor have aliens landed. But Apple will unveil its Tablet e-reader today, a device company superstar founder Steve Jobs reportedly has called “the most important thing I’ve ever done.”
Of course, everything about the Tablet is based on rumor and speculation. Jobs might actually have said, “My cat needs a bath.”
Nonetheless, the Tablet is expected to be a “game–changer” (now there’s a word that’s already worn out its welcome!). Since we’re all a-Twitter to find out details of the new gizmo, Publishers Weekly columnist Craig Morgan Teicher offers links to various blogs that will be reporting live from Apple’s annoucment event in California.
If you can’t wait a few more hours, or simply want to get in some last minute rumor-mongering, no end of reporters and commentators have weighed in these last few days on the Tablet, its likely attributes and consequences. NPR in particular is all over the story.
NPR’s Joshua Brockman reports the Tablet “must go beyond e-reading” to “create a new kind of need for consumers.” Great — more distractions from the actual practice of reading.
Speaking of built-in distractions, nonfiction writer Eric Weiner, also at NPR, writes of the first time he ran into a reader who had his book The Geography of Bliss on a Kindle. Still, he thinks it will be impossible for traditional narrative to compete with the news feeds, hypertext, video and gossip sites only a click away on the next generation of e-readers.
Bestselling memoirist Jen Lancaster, also writing at NPR, thinks traditional books and e-readers can exist side-by-side. She loves the convenience of her Kindle, the lower cost of new titles and the millions of classics available for free. Bound books make great interior decorating motifs, she says, and they don’t explode on airplanes.
Again at NPR, Lynn Neary finds writers even more worried about e-readers then Weiner. Electronic book distribution will alter not only the way readers read, but also the way writers write. She quotes writer Nicholas Carr: “As we move to the new technology of the screen … it has a very different effect, an almost opposite effect, and you will see a retreat from the sophistication and eloquence that characterized the printed page.”
For a typically measured assessment of the Tablet, and the impact of e-readers in general, turn to The New York Times. And Entertainment Weekly‘s Keith Staskiewicz ponders the likelihood the Tablet will give Apple the same monopoly on book, newspaper and magazine pricing and distribution that it gained in the music industry with the iPod and iTunes.
Finally, if all this brave-new-worldish speculation of digital reading technology is depressing, you can read about a happier topic at The Guardian: Euthanasia. Apparently aging enfant terrible Martin Amis has ignited a controversy in Great Britain by calling for street corner euthanasia booths for the old and infirm.