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Wireless Foes May Have to Share Apple's New Toy

By Erika Morphy MacNewsWorld ECT News Network
Jan 22, 2010 11:40 AM PT

More rumors are emerging about Apple's much anticipated -- but not yet officially confirmed -- tablet computer. One is that the product is designed to support both Verizon Wireless and AT&T Wireless services. Another is that Apple is in talks with the educational arm of McGraw-Hill to bring e-textbook content to Apple's tablet device. The discussions also include McGraw-Hill's Connect online learning system, "people familiar with the discussions" told BusinessWeek.

Wireless Foes May Have to Share Apple's New Toy

Apple did not return a call from MacNewsWorld in time for publication.

Credence to the Rumors

These reports are detailed enough that there is a good possibility they are actually true, said Rob Walch, host of Today in iPhone.

"Apple is not tipping its hand at all, but there have been a few signs of what it is going to release next week," he told MacNewsWorld. One such indicator is the change in royalties for publishers on Kindle, which now is a 70/30 percent split in certain price categories.

"What happened, I believe, is that these publishers spoke with Apple and then went to Amazon and told it that they would be receiving 70 percent from Apple," said Walch. "Amazon had no choice but to match it."

That suggests that Apple is pursuing another weak spot in the Kindle -- it's lack of headway in the classroom. Complaints about the Kindle have ranged from its limited use for sight-impaired students to its lack of interactivity, Walch said. Students can't use it to take notes, for instance, or send emails on the fly.

Apple's table computer, by contrast, is rumored to have this functionality, along with wireless phone capability.

It makes sense for Apple to target students, Walch added. "If you introduce them to Apple products at this stage in their lives or younger, they will continue to buy them even as they enter the business world."

AT&T vs. Verizon

As for Verizon and AT&T both getting carrier deals, there hasn't been much indication that Apple will offer a tablet supporting both the CDMA and GSM wireless networks, Walch said, other than the rumors that the tablet will come equipped with a Qualcomm chipset, which supports both.

It makes sense, though, that Apple would want to accommodate both carriers, Walch argued.

It would want to accommodate its fan base that is locked into AT&T contracts with their iPhones, but AT&T's 3G network is already saturated and may not be capable of taking on a horde of new users.

Verizon Wireless is the obvious alternative, Walch said. "Plus, it gives Apple a gateway for opening the iPhone to Verizon." But that's an entirely different rumor.

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NICE inContact February 12 webinar