Originally Posted by SpamSandwich
I just don't agree with this assessment. Demand does not yet exist. Kindle is breaking the ground for future products from Apple and others. iTunes has established a method of delivering digital content that already had huge demand, even though it was "illegal" trade. Competition for the Kindle is the iPhone, magazines, newspapers, and portable computers.
I don't really consider the kindle to be Apples competition, nor do I expect a lot of demand for the tablet to come from the ebook reader area. It could kill the kindle, but you are right there is no significant market to gain there yet. Adding an ebook store to itunes could help maintain demand for this device further down the road though.
Love them or hate them, netbooks are selling, and I would expect people to pick this device up as an alternative. If Apple does get these things subsidized through a carrier, they could have very similar price to unsubsidized netbooks. Since most people only look at the initial purchase price, that shouldn't be a problem, this tablet will be viewed by the population as cheap as a netbook, but with much more to offer.
The other major source would be the personal media player market, which is very well established, and Apple dominates there. Some people would get it just to have video on a larger screen.
If this has decent note taking capabilities it could be a hit with students too. Which was where tablets should have taken off if they were done right in the first place.
Personally, I see variety of sources for Apple to draw from and I do think an announcement will be enough to drum up demand for the device, just look at how many pages of comments this rumor is generating (high, even for an Apple centric site).
If Apple does this right, in a few years Apple haters will be saying that Apple didn't invent the tablet, just like now they are saying that Apple didn't invent the mp3 player. Apple has spent years on this, and they've been able to analyze countless examples of why previous tablets have failed. I think the time is right for them to reinvent the tablet.