Summary:

The tablet rumor mill is heating up, which is in keeping with the early 2010 release date that’s been mentioned in earlier reports. The latest news to hit the web is that Apple has been talking to the Australian media about content provision for the fanboi […]

appleinsider_tabletThe tablet rumor mill is heating up, which is in keeping with the early 2010 release date that’s been mentioned in earlier reports. The latest news to hit the web is that Apple has been talking to the Australian media about content provision for the fanboi device of legend.

The news comes via Australian paper The Sydney Morning Herald, which reports that Apple is providing technical details about the tablet multimedia device (which remains unconfirmed, despite all the buzz surrounding it) to media providers in the hopes of sussing out how strong interest is.

No one representing the Australian companies approached would actually go on record about the recent sales pitch by Apple, but presumably the Herald’s source is someone from one of them speaking off the record. The source clearly wasn’t privy to the specifications themselves, or I’m the sure the Herald would’ve printed those, too. Instead, the paper just mentions existing rumors about the device’s size, touchscreen and purpose.

Also mentioned is the Kindle, which had previously attempted to make the same kind of overtures in Australia that Apple is supposedly now making. The problem with the Kindle was that Amazon wanted a 70 percent cut of revenue from all media sold for its device, while Apple is said to be looking for the same 30 percent that it asks of developers selling applications via the App Store. That’s one of the benefits of being a hardware company first and foremost, I suppose.

The content will apparently be delivered via individually branded apps that will allow for in-app purchases and direct digital distribution — which reinforces rumors that the tablet will be based on iPhone OS, not on Mac’s desktop and notebook OS X. Personally, I’m finding it harder and harder to pinpoint exactly where this device will fit in with current customer needs. It seems sort of like a Nokia Internet Tablet or Archos’ recent Android-based media player.

Earlier this week, it was reported that New York Times editor Bill Keller mentioned the “impending Apple slate” in an off-the-record meeting with newsroom staff, and many NYT executives and book publishers have made comments in the past year about Apple approaching to take the temperature for a tablet-type device.

Long story short, the storm clouds are gathering, and now there’s little else we can do but watch and wait for the rain to start, unless Apple has found little reason to make it rain at all. All of these rumors talk about Apple gauging the interest of media companies in such a device, yet none talk about how the companies in question responded to said inquiries. If an acceptable level of interest wasn’t present, could Apple shelve this tablet before it ever sees the light of day?

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