image via Gizmodo
A story on Gizmodo asserts that Apple has been in touch with publishers about getting newspapers, magazines, and other print media up on iTunes for use with "a new device," presumably the long-rumored Apple tablet. The thinking, supposedly, is that the product will be marketed as a "basic repurposing of the stuff found on dead trees today." If true, this report could represent a key piece of the puzzle surrounding the hypothetical device, namely: what is it good for?
According to the report, representatives of The New York Times Company were allegedly contacted by Apple in June about putting the newspaper up on the iTunes Store. McGraw Hilll and Oberlin Press are alleged to be planning to issue textbooks on the tablet, and magazine publisher are looking to deliver their media in digital format over iTunes.
Currently, tablet computers are mainly used as - essentially - portable data entry stations. Given the existing applications, many have been questioning the potential market exists for Apple's new device. In fact, according to the story, Steve Jobs himself asked this question when he was shown a prototype tablet running Mac OS X some years ago. When no one could adequately explain a practical application for the product, Jobs reportedly shelved the project.
The Gizmodo report presents the current thinking this way:
The eventual goal is to have publishers create hybridized content that draws from audio, video, interactive graphics in books, magazines and newspapers, where paper layouts would be static.