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The mythical beast that is the Apple (s aapl) tablet is becoming less of an amorphous wonder device, and more of a properly spec’d piece of hardware, at least if you believe iLounge. The site is claiming to know at least 10 definite things about the upcoming device, including its street date.
iLounge’s source is said to be reliable, based on past information they provided that turned out to be accurate, detailing the iPod nano 5G, the iPhone 3GS, and the Chinese iPhone 3G. Not a bad track record. For that reason alone, don’t be too quick to judge some of the more incongruous parts of this report.
The device has gone through three distinct incarnations thus far, though the time line for development isn’t provided in detail. It currently sports a 10.7-inch screen, an improvement over the first prototype’s 7-incher. The tablet runs iPhone OS, which could come as a disappointment to graphics professionals and other business users.
Appearance-wise, the tablet is said to resembled an iPhone 3G, and have a curved back like said device. I assume that also means plastic casing, rather than metal. The display will operate at approximately five to six times the screen resolution (around 720p) and have seven times the touch-sensitive surface area. I’m wondering what kind of bezel a device this size will have to make it more usable while holding. It definitely won’t be a one-handed piece of hardware like the iPhone can be when necessary or convenient.
Two varieties of the new device will be released. One will feature built-in 3G networking, and the other will not. iLounge suggests thinking of one as a big-screen iPhone 3GS, and the other as a big iPod touch. They don’t say anything about it, but I wonder if this means that the 3G-enabled version will be able to make calls and have SIM card capabilities.
The purpose of the Apple tablet is said to be to expand upon the all-media concept of the iPhone and iPod touch, creating a slate-sized reader for e-books and magazines, in addition to video, audio, and gaming capabilities (though I’m finding it very hard to picture gaming on a device this size with on-screen controls without laying it on a flat surface). It’s not designed to compete with netbooks, then, but to operate as an extension of the iPod line.
The official announcement and unveiling of the device is said to be coming either on or before January 19, 2010, so start saving that pocket change. Prepare to possibly be disappointed, though, since it still has to receive final approval from Steve Jobs, something the source claims only has about an 80 percent chance of right now.