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In his latest column for the Chicago Sun-Times, Andy Ihnatko profiled a company called LongBox, which plans a Kindle/iTunes style marketplace for buying and viewing comics. LongBox's marketplace would be unique in that it would offer up new comics for purchase. Currently, only older comics are available for viewing and you have to be online to read the comics. LongBox would allow you to purchase and download a comic for offline viewing.
The service is set to debut in November, but the interesting aspect about the company, and how it pertains to the mythical Apple tablet, is Ihnatko's speculation that the company could be in cahoots with Apple.
Inhatko’s speculation is based on the fact that Longbox CEO said that the company’s partner is an unannounced manufacturer who has received high-profile coverage of hardware on many technology Websites. He said that the company would give Longbox “a multinational launch with literally millions of installed users,” which Ihnatko figures could be the iTunes store.
If true, it will be another sign that Apple’s tablet device, expected to be revealed first quarter of 2010, will serve as a sort of color e-reader. In September, Gizmodo reported that Apple was reaching out to print publications about putting their products on a new Apple device.
Some people are already publicly planning for Apple’s still-unannounced tablet. The only digital comic that is available so far is "Tyrese Gibson's Mayhem." It costs $1.99, and features three comics, an exclusive song, a 45-minute "making of" video, storyboards, alternate covers, concept art, desktop wallpapers and more.