iTablet Leak or Assumptive Speak? New York Times Executive Editor Says "Apple Slate"

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Bill Keller, Executive Editor of the New York Times, when discussing the evolution/revolution underway in the print media industry, mentioned off-the-record and in passing:

"I'm hoping we can get the newsroom more actively involved in the challenge of delivering our best journalism in the form of Times Reader, iPhone apps, WAP, or the impending Apple slate..."

And so the question becomes, was this an unintentional leak based upon content discussions the NYT has been having with Apple, or is Keller -- like all of us -- just so inculcated with speculation about the near-mythic Apple iTablet that he -- like all of us -- speaks as though it's inevitable?

Footnote: 
[via Gawker, thanks to everyone who sent this in]

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Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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iTablet Leak or Assumptive Speak? New York Times Executive Editor Says "Apple Slate"

17 Comments

This is NYT, so I'd go with option 2, they speak of everything as if it were inevitable, ala global warming style.

IMHO, Slate sounds a lot like a service not a product. If I were a betting man and believe that this guy knows something and believe that the Times is a launch partner then I'd say that Apple is launching a content service for printed media similar to iTunes. Slate, IMHO, would be an ideal name for such a service.
Taking the argument one step further, while there is precedent in a single feature device (iPod) I can't see Apple simply letting it launch with a single killer app feature. Those days are long gone. Even the iPod is moving beyond its humble origins as a music player and now stores photos, plays movies and video, plays FM radio and now shoots video with likely more on the way. Plus, if the intent is to have a focus of the iTablet be on digitizing formerly printed media then the web has to be a component because there's a big difference between breaking news (newspapers) and news analysis (magazines). Combining the two begins to be a business model from which content providers can develop a strategy around because now they have multiple media to offer to customers. Can you picture the Times covering breaking news with interviews, pictures, video and a written piece? Far more powerful than print alone.

@The Reptile:

Times is a launch partner then I’d say that Apple is launching a content service for printed media similar to iTunes. Slate, IMHO, would be an ideal name for such a service.

I think you are spot on.
I think Slate refers both to the Tablet AND the Service.
It will focus on Print media but, I predict, try to Eat Kindle and Nook's lunch as well.
Print Media is going interactive, going digital, going direct delivery. Dead Trees is so LAST Century.
All the print media you want, Continuously Updated, with or without the advertising, without the recycling. If you own stock in Paper Mills, sell it now.
If its HALF as good as I suspect, it will do MORE for Print media than iPod did for Music.
iPod/iPhone is a miserable reader. All the pinching and spreading just to get text large enough, reading tiny little pages. Imagine picking up something the size of a magazine and have it instantly show you the news, your magazine subscriptions, maybe your books and blogs too.
Nice big displays, clear images, maybe sound, maybe video as well. Not just static web pages any more.
Those of you (frog and friends) insisting you won't buy it, get out your best silverware, your meal of Roasted Crow is coming next year.
You WILL buy it. Yes you will.

Print Media is going interactive, going digital, going direct delivery. Dead Trees is so LAST Century.

Not to mention no more "Dewey Defeats Truman" headlines.
Newspapers and magazines will no longer be required to have several future issues near complete at all times while waiting until deadline day to to fill in the remaining current content to rush to print. They could instead, literally change, rearrange, reformat, and/or replace content instantaneously... even have different versions of the same stories ready to choose last minute with one simple click of a button... and more importantly, make corrections, updates, or even remove irresponsible content after publishing.
Amazing to think about.

Can you explain to me why you're publishing something even though you know that it was meant to be OFF-THE-RECORD?

I agree with The Reptile. Whether or not there is a tablet planned for release in the near future, -if- Apple were to want to work with existing print media companies for content distribution and sales, it would have to be a service integrated with the iTunes Store and almost certainly operable from a computer running iTunes. The iTunes LP would be a similar case: integrated multimedia content viewable in iTunes right now without a new hardware device, although it could be viewed in a future Apple device.

@Lady Kaede, it's potentially the name of a service not a site. For example, there doesn't need to be a URL www.itunes.com for Apple to have a service with that name (BTW, entering that URL takes you to the iTunes section of the Apple website).

@Reptile, yah sure, I suppose - and tho' I still don't think they'd confuse Internet junkies with 'Slate' (which after all is a venerable and well-known content provider), they could always go with 'iSlate' or something similar. I'm buying the tablet idea, I just don't think 'Slate' is part of the deal.

This is Apple we are talking about. They will not release a product, without good features, good memory, good battery. Most of all this will no be a netbook, it will not be a notebook, it will not be a iPhone or iPod touch. It will be something new with new features that haven't been seen. Something worth the price.
So don't say you won't buy it, don't say it won't sell, you cannot mock what isn't real.
You people have to realize this.

You actually covered a few interesting points in this article. I came across this by searching Google and I've got to confess that I am currently subscribed to your blog, it is extremely decent :D