What is the Apple tablet actually supposed to do?
Previously we didn't have a very clear picture, but now we're starting to get a sense of the device's position in the current product landscape: The latest rumors from Gizmodo point to it essentially being an external monitor you could take with you. Presumably it would have some kind of dock, turning the 10-inch "giant iPod touch" into a palette monitor that becomes a portable media device when separated.
Other indications are that Apple is quietly striking deals with booksellers/textbook publishers for an "educational" version of the tablet, which would presumably target college students and serve as an e-reader. This makes sense as Amazon has done something similar, with some colleges ponying up the cash to buy Kindle 2s for their student body, and textbook publisher Cengage Learning announced last week they would begin renting (pricey, paper) textbooks to students in an effort to stay competitive.
Third and fourth rumors we find interesting are that Apple is planning on using iTunes for non-music purchases (think PayPal) as well as moving into the social networking space, with features that either work with (or supplant) Facebook, Twitter, et al. If these are true, chances are good Apple will somehow fold the tablet into these processes. Perhaps in a year's time we'll be snapping our external monitors off and using them to Facebook on the go?
via gizmodo, tuaw, ny times, silicon alley insider, the apple blog