∞ Prediction: Apple to release two tablets, and other prognostications

Everyone is weighing in on what the new Apple tablet will look like, how it will work, what it will be named, and even when it will be released. I decided to throw my hat into the ring and give some predictions of my own. First, I expect Apple to release two 10-inch tablets, not one. There has been speculation that Apple would release a 10-inch model and a smaller model (maybe a 7-inch), but that makes no sense to me.

What makes more sense is that Apple would follow the precedent it set with the iPhone and iPod touch. And that’s just what I think will happen.

One tablet will have connectivity via Wi-Fi and AT&T’s 3G data network. The other tablet will only use Wi-Fi for its Internet connectivity.

Besides the connectivity, both tablets will pretty much be the same. Here are a few thoughts on some of the other major speculation floating around the Web.

Tablet Operating System: I believe the tablet will use the exact same operating system that is used in the iPhone and iPod touch. Of course, there will be some enhancements to the APIs for tablet specific applications.

SDK: Because I think the OS will be the same, providing a Software Development Kit to developers on day one should be easy.

Existing Apps: Again, the same OS means existing apps will work just fine. I’m not a developer, so I don’t know how they will scale, but they will work.

Tablet apps: I would expect more productivity apps to be released. Because the tablet is bigger and more powerful than the iPhone, having more apps to do work with from Apple and third-party developers would sell well. Maybe a mobile version of iWork.

External keyboards: I expect the tablet to support external keyboards through Bluetooth. That just makes sense to me — the device will have Bluetooth like the iPhone, so why wouldn’t it support an external keyboard. People will be using the tablet to type and work more than they do on the iPhone, so a keyboard would be welcome.

iSlate: There’s been a lot of talk about the name of tablet. MacRumors uncovered the name iSlate that Apple registered, but I wouldn’t get too stuck on it. Apple probably has a dozen names and trademarks it’s tossing around for the device.

Ship date: I know most people are betting on March for the tablet to ship, but I don’t think so. I’m going with April for the tablet to ship to customers.

Price: I go back and forth on this. I think Apple is going to want to make a big splash, so a $700 price point makes sense. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if they priced it up to $1,000.

It’s important to remember that the only person who really knows for sure what features the tablet will have is Steve Jobs. There are some good articles around the Web discussing the tablet — John Gruber’s The Tablet and Tablet Musing are definitely good reads.