Apple yesterday announced its iPad media tablet. The media tablet device category, which began to gain traction in 2009, will come into its own during 2010 and beyond, and it's the entertainment field that will be its most lucrative, forecast analysts.
"While laptops are focused on productivity, and mobile phones are still primarily about communication, the main focus of media tablets is entertainment," says ABI Research senior analyst Jeff Orr.
A new ABI Research study on media tablets forecasts 4 million devices will be shipped worldwide this year.
"Home networks and mobile broadband data services make viewing possible without wires. These media tablets could not have come to market any sooner than 2010."
Designed for use in the home or office environment, the Wi-Fi-powered 9.7-inch touch device (US$499-$699) resembles and functions like a large iPod touch.
The iPad will utilize existing Apple services available for the smaller Apple media player and iPhone, including the iTunes music and app stores. An additional eBook storefront, called iBooks, is also being added.
Three additional models of the media tablet will include 3G wireless radios ($629-$829) for mobile data access over mobile operators. Initially available in the US, special pre-paid pricing plans from AT&T Wireless ($15-$30) will be available. International carrier agreements are anticipated mid-year.