Apple fans and geeks of all stripes are wound up about Apple's January 27th announcement. In fact, to kill the time, they're burning up cyberspace speculating about what the announcement will be. All the signs seem to be pointing to a new tablet computer based on the iPhone's technology.
But what does it all mean, really?
While there are rumors that the Apple tablet will be delayed until June, Apple has a reputation for announcing products the same day that they are available to buy. So the impact of whatever Apple announces on the 27th will likely have at least the immediate effect of turning Apple retail stores into zoos.
But there are other things about the announcement that could shake up the market very quickly, and change how you use your smart phone—especially if it's an iPhone.
Apparently, Apple has been in discussion with the New York Times, as part of the newspaper's plan to start to charge for much of its content. Tablets and e-readers are being eyed by many publishers as a way to finally make money off electronic content, and some think that Apple's tablet could be the end of free newspaper web sites.
One of the things expected out of the announcement is a new version of the iPhone OS, that will upgrade existing phones with new features. One of those features might be multitasking—the ability for some applications on the iPhone to run at the same time.
There will be changes on the horizon for how iPhone customers get service as well. Some pundits expect Apple to end its exclusivity deal with AT&T. Multiple experts have said that Apple will offer the new iSlate with service from both AT&T and Verizon, and team with Verizon for "4G" cellular service this summer.
A 4G cellular network can handle peak data speeds of up to 100 megabits a second—similar to WiFi and home Ethernet networks—making it suitable for streaming video off the Internet. I wouldn't recommend watching movies while walking, however.