In perfect holiday fashion, the e-reader is set to become the "must have" gadget for the gift-giving season almost upon us. The newer Nook device has a small color screen that allows easier content locating (but no keyboard), the ability to "lend" digital books to a friend and built-in wireless internet.
But, with all these gadgets storming and about to storm the market, is anyone considering Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL)? The (arguably) most influential company in consumer technology right now has tens of millions of iPhones and iPod touch units in consumer's hands. A long-standing rumor has it that Apple may have a tablet-type computer in the works (a laptop without a keyboard?). What if Apple tries to do what it did with the most recent iPod nano? That is, add a video camera for free and take market share away from the $100 palm-size camcorder market just for fun?
The iPod nano did not need a camera. However, Apple saw the growing sales of products made by Flip (now owned by Cisco) as a market it apparently could not afford to miss. Would the iMaker want to turn its huge installed base of handheld products into very capable, color-screen e-readers? Sure, there are apps that already do this.
But, nobody knows Apple devices like Apple -- they could put the e-reader update into all these devices and market it like only Apple can do. Then, release a tablet computing device that's an e-reader plus web browser plus anything else. If Apple chooses this strategy, all the newer e-readers that are still in their infancy won't look so charming any longer. There's a burgeoning market, here -- and it's not like Apple to dismiss such a thing entirely.