An analyst who claims to have seen a prototype of Apple’s new secret project says the company is building a multimedia device that will play videogames.
The new source adds to a growing list of eyewitnesses who insist they have been shown Apple’s newest product.
Several separate sources have already said that Apple’s new gadget is a touch-screen tablet; one that bears a similar look to the iPhone, complete with a 10-inch display.
It had been previously suggested that the alleged device will offer an experience similar to laptop computing, yet the newest anonymous analyst claims that Apple’s tablet will be a home media hub that can play games, connect to the internet, stream music and movie content over a WiFi connection, and access other Apple devices.
It is said the tablet will retail at around $800, with multiple sources claiming that Apple is rushing to get the device on shop shelves before Christmas.
Apple has so far declined to comment on the alleged eyewitness accounts, though Apple’s COO Tim Cook said during a recent earnings call that Apple was working on something "very innovative".
The tablet’s multi-touch-screen display, notably larger than the iPhone’s, will offer game developers more opportunities in designing touch-screen games. If the anonymous accounts are indeed true, then the device will likely boast more processor and GPU power than the iPhone.
With the App Store providing even bedroom-developers a chance to make their games a global phenomenon, it is highly probable that indie games will emerge on the device, if Apple allows.
“There’s a received wisdom that people use connected mobile media devices only when they’re out the door, during natural pauses in their daily habits like waiting for a train to arrive,” says Tim Green, veteran journalist and executive editor at Mobile Entertainment.
“Yet this is only partially correct. Research suggests that many people enjoy using devices like the iPhone from home, watching TV and movies and playing games on the couch, around the house and in bed.
“So the transition from small home-based devices to larger, more powerful media-based devices would seem to be a sensible area of the market for Apple to tackle.”
After dramatically reforming the mobile phone and portable music landscape, Apple is said to be embarking on tackling several new markets at the same time.
The Apple tablet will supposedly be positioned as a device that will encourage consumers to access e-books, watch home movies as well as shift their music consumption habits.
The seminal rise of the iPod brought about with it an epiphenomenon; consumers moved from buying whole albums to cherry-picking key tracks from artists, thus casting much album-filler to digital dormancy.
The tablet will aim to reverse these trends. Sources claim that Apple is partnering with the four major record labels – EMI, Sony, Warner Music and Universal – to offer interactive album art and exclusive CD sleeves with album purchases.
These extras will supposedly be viewable via the tablet, bundled with album purchases via the iTunes Music Store.
Apple’s aura of success – brought about by a unprecedented string of popular multimedia devices – has to an extent buoyed the pessimism surrounding tablet devices.
Meanwhile, according to Oppenheimer & Co analyst Yair Reiner, the tablet could cost between $600 and $1,000 – a high price range that, nonetheless, is relatively cheap for Apple PC solutions.