Apple event planned for January 27, should you care?

Apple moved its media event to January 27, and it's widely believed to be the tablet debut. There's a couple of interesting possibilities with the tablet and both revolve around voice.
Written by Jason D. O'Grady, Contributor

Remember that media event that was rumored by the Financial Times for Tuesday, January 26? You know, the one that will supposedly launch the Jesus-tablet? Well, it's now moved to Wednesday, January 27, at least according to "sources in a position to know" via Tech Daily's John Paczkowski.

There's still no confirmation as to what Apple will announce (iLife '10 anyone?) but the odds-on favorite is the media darling tablet that everyone in tech seems to be obsessed with.

But does the world need another tablet?

Not according to Joe Wilcox, who asks, what would you use an Apple tablet for that you couldn't do on an iPhone or laptop? MG Siegler disagrees, claiming it could alter the role of computing in our lives just as the iPhone has.

As for me, the tablet has two interesting possibilities.

The first is as the ultimate eBook reader. The Kindle and Nook have been growing in popularity and Apple could singlehandedly one-up them all with deep content partnerships with publishers. Think iTunes for books, newspapers and magazines. Remember that there were several MP3 players on the market before the iPod, but Apple made its with a better user experience, then locked in the content producers.

The second interesting opportunity is simply a larger iPod touch. Although many pan the iPhone's on-screen keyboard as unpractical for long form writing, a larger form-factor could change that for the better. The addition of a Bluetooth (or USB) keyboard option could transform it into a real notebook replacement.

The real future of these types of gadgets is with voice. The Apple tablet could be a gamer changer with advanced voice recognition, commands and system wide search. I want to be able to ask it, "Is my flight on time?" and get an answer. The other piece of the puzzle is text-to-speech. A tablet becomes eminently more useful if it can read my email, messages and tweets to me while it's sitting on my car seat.

Look ma, no hands!

What's your take on the potential market for an iTablet? Game changer or more of the same?

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