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About the New Apple Tablet Computer

Wired:

The teaser for Apple’s press event, “Come see our latest creation,” has a double meaning. Content creators, not gadget freaks, will be the biggest target of Apple’s Wednesday press conference.

Although most of the speculation has centered on a tablet device that will likely be announced at the event, Apple CEO Steve Jobs probably has bigger plans in mind. (Click for live coverage of the Apple event, which starts 10 a.m. Pacific time on Jan. 27.)

Apple’s goal is to offer a new platform for content creators to reinvent books, magazines and online content — in addition to offering a new avenue for content producers to make money. That platform will likely be far broader than just a tablet device, and will extend to every device or computer that iTunes touches.

HTML5 and iTunes will form the centerpieces of Apple’s new content strategy. The new iTunes content will not be packaged as apps sold through the App Store, though Apple will likely provide a tablet app for displaying new content created with this new platform, and developers will still be free to create apps. Instead, HTML content will be presented similar to the way iTunes currently presents enhanced music and video content.

“The focus is going to be on content creation and participation,” a technologist with close ties to Apple told Wired.com. “If the tablet is going to be an answer to things like the Kindle, which are purely about consumption, what you’re going to see is Apple is going to be full-blown about creation.”

Our source said he inferred the arrival of an HTML5-and-iTunes book platform based on a combination of knowledge from Apple and his own analysis of news reports.

By creating a business platform for content producers, Apple would be recycling a winning strategy for its iPhone’s App Store: the genius of crowdsourcing. Apple opened up a software development kit to third-party developers to code for the iPhone and sell their apps through the iTunes App Store. The result? 100,000 apps and counting, a lucrative industry worth over $1 billion, and a 30 percent cut for Apple with each sale.

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