While the rumors surrounding the event continue to swirl, a commonplace belief appears to be that Apple could be revealing either their apocryphal tablet, upgraded iPhone 4.0 software, or [gasp!] both.
Needless to say, hardcore Apple fanboys and iPhone wielding soccer-moms alike should be interested to see what Apple unveils as its "latest creation." But, what announcement would actually have the most impact?
The Apple tablet, potentially to be dubbed the iSlate, has been in the tubes for a while now. It is almost an issue of when, and not an issue of if, it will be released [answer: January 27th?]. While this product will in all likelihood be both drool-inducing and probably will be loaded with awesome features [and don't forget about those apps!], I just don't see it having an initial mass-market impact.
First of all, the price point will simply put it out of reach for many consumers. The [rumored] nearly $1,000 price tag will certainly preclude me from owning one. Second, there are latent concerns about connectivity for the device. What carrier will cover the data connection? Will users have to pay twice for data [billed once for their cell-phone, once for their tablet]? Will tethering between devices finally be enabled?
Given AT&T's floundering attempts to cover iPhone users, it seems unlikely that its network could handle both devices. Without a reliable and fast data connection, the iSlate is simply not as compelling a device.
The iPhone 4.0 software, on the other hand, will have an immediate impact for the millions who currently use an iPhone, or those looking to purchase one. While it might be dismissed or overlooked as just an upgrade, this new reiteration of the software will ultimately be pushed out to most users, and it will likely be an improvement. What these improvement might be, remains to be seen. Apple has been rumored to have kept the 4.0 upgrade under wraps, because it happens to include numerous references to the tablet. [Does this mean that iSlate will be running an iPhone OS, and not OS X?]
Whatever Apple eventually announces, the truth is that the January 27th event will be over-hyped and over-analyzed throughout all of next week. Further, every single minute of the event will be scrutinized by the tech media via live blogging and social media updates [after all, Steve Jobs is a rock star...]. What will we be left with come January 28th?
Whether Apple announces a tablet or the iPhone 4.0 software, or completely floors the tech world with something else, one thing is for certain: Apple continues to impact the industry unlike any other company today.