Apple Tablet By Holidays, With “Revolutionary” New Kind of Digital Album

apple_tablet_mockup

Apple is designing an entirely new entertainment experience designed specifically for its upcoming tablet, the Financial Times claims today in an interesting but rather vague story.

Apple’s fabled touchscreen tablet will have a 10-inch screen and will be more like an oversized iPod Touch than a full-fledged tablet computer (a key question is what OS it will run).

Contrary to previous rumors, the tablet hit stores in time for the holidays, the FT says, citing record label sources out of New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

To accompany it, Apple is working on a new entertainment package to rival the album experience in days of yore, when the release of a new album was a cultural and social event.

“It’s all about re-creating the heyday of the album when you would sit around with your friends looking at the artwork, while you listened to the music,” one executive told the FT.

Codenamed “Cocktail,” the entertainment bundle would resemble an “interactive book,” but be more than a bunch of hotlinked PDFs, the FT says.

Apple is reportedly working on Cocktail with the big four record labels, who describe the project as “revolutionary” and are hoping it will offset declining album sales. When consumers buy music online, they biuy low-margin singles, not profitable albums.

Unfortunately the FT doesn’t have many details of this intriguing idea. Reminds me of the hype surrounding “multi-media CDs” in the late ’90s when CDs with music and video were supposed to provide a similar revolution in entertainment and education.  There was talk about amazing immersive encyclopedias, but instead we got unreadable digital books with tiny embedded QuickTime movies.

Its also hard to imagine friends sitting around an Apple tablet reading band biographies while listening to music.

Much easier to imagine a couple of kids on the couch sharing the device to watch episodes of Spongebob.

Indeed, one record exec told the FT: “It’s going to be fabulous for watching movies.”

The FT says Apple is also in talks with book publishers who are “optimistic about their services being offered with the new computer.”

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About the author

Leander KahneyLeander Kahney is the editor and publisher of Cult of Mac. He is the NYT bestselling author of Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products; Inside Steve’s Brain; Cult of Mac; and Cult of iPod. Leander has written for Wired, MacWeek, Scientific American, and The Guardian in London. Follow Leander on Twitter @lkahney and Facebook.

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