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Rumor Has It: January Event “Confirmed,” More on the Tablet

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I’m really sorry. I do realize these tablet rumors are becoming tiresome, but you know, don’t you, that they’re going to get a lot worse in the coming weeks as we approach January 26 and Apple’s not-yet-officially-confirmed-but-unofficially-will-definitely-happen media event?

The latest tidbits come from Fox News’ Clayton Morris and (somewhat unexpectedly given how he should know better) an ex-Apple, ex-Google China senior executive. Let’s get started…

Fox’s Clayton Morris writes that he’s been talking with his very own private mole inside Apple HQ about the as-yet unconfirmed media event (first reported by the Financial Times) and has this to offer us:

While nothing official has been handed down from the notoriously tight-lipped company, my source took the Financial Times report one step further by saying this event will focus on the mobility space, meaning we’ll see something related to the iPhone/Touch product line. Could this be the announcement of the mythical Apple tablet we’ve been hearing so much about?

Well if it isn’t, if El Jobso doesn’t announce a tablet, if, instead, the whole event is nothing more than a high-profile sales pitch for a slightly-higher-capacity iPod shuffle, I’ll be torn between shedding bitter tears, or laughing myself sick. Maybe both.

“Focus on the mobility space,” eh? How charmingly vague. You have to wonder why these “sources” are always so…unhelpful. I mean, a real, genuine, worthwhile secret mole should be leaking specific, valuable information, right? That’s what moles are supposed to do, it’s in the job description. But when it comes to Apple’s moles, this just doesn’t happen, does it? Instead, they offer infuriatingly nebulous non-information that seems, if nothing else, perfectly suited to further fuelling speculation, rather than offering, y’know, facts.

I think of these sources as the tech community’s version of spirit mediums who, after (rolling eyes) ‘miraculously’ connecting with the dearly departed, then bafflingly waste that rare and wonderful chance at communication by playing an odd game of Guess Who? “Focus on the mobility space” might as well be “I see a man with thinning hair whose name begins with something sounding like Ste…”

I have a modest theory; these “sources” are tasked with providing fuzzy details to media hacks. It’s all part of a precise marketing strategy, pioneered by Jobs, designed to get the flames of the rumor mill burning brightly. It probably saves a fortune on actual advertising.

A Little Less Vague

Also fanning the flames today is a report by Engadget’s Richard Lai who writes that former Google China president Kai-fu Lee has claimed privileged insider-knowledge of the mythical tablet. Lee’s comments appear on Lee’s microblogging site and, translated by GadgetMix, read in part:

The Apple Tablet looks like a bigger iPhone that sports an awesome UI packed in a beautiful 10.1-inch screen. The tablet combines the functions of both netbook and kindle, an ebook reader. It has virtual keyboard for text entry and a webcam for video conferencing

Lai adds:

We’ve heard a lot of this same noise before: sub-$1000 price, an iPhone-like appearance, 10.1-inch multitouch screen, video conferencing, cellular connectivity, 3D graphics and virtual keyboard. What really got our attention is Lee’s link with Foxconn — the Apple OEM is one of the main contributors to Lee’s post-Google investment venture, Innovation Works, so there’s a good chance that Lee’s spoken to someone overlooking the manufacturing of a certain Apple device.

Kai-fu Lee also adds in his blog that “Steve Jobs will be introducing this product in January,” lending credence to Clayton Morris’ sepulchral source at Cupertino.

Well, that’s it — another day, another round of rumors. Make of them what you will. As far as I can see, we don’t know anything more now than we did when we reached for our hot lava java this morning, but, please, don’t shoot the messenger. At least this specumor (I’m enjoying my portmanteau’s; this one’s a cross between speculation and rumor) is bolstered by what appears to be sort-of-credible evidence.

Honestly, though, January 26 can’t arrive fast enough. I’m thoroughly sick of all this guessjecture.

UPDATE: Looks like my modest theory is correct, if Fake Steve is to be trusted.

25 Responses to “Rumor Has It: January Event “Confirmed,” More on the Tablet”

  1. it is brilliant marketing and i believe that intent is to pre-market the tablet before it’s actually available. at this point, i’d be happy if the tablet looks like my iphone but just bigger.

  2. Clayton Morris

    My sources at Apple have been spot-on time and time again. I expect nothing different this time. I don’t play in these rumor games but “an event in the ‘mobile space’ in January” is worth reporting. Take it or leave it.

  3. blumtnguy

    I hope that the iTablet will be the answer for my situation … I’m still working with a G4 iBook, Time Capsule, Apple TV 40 GB, and iPhone 3GS 32 GB.
    I work with Citrix on a dedicated dumb terminal at my office and my home computing has evolved to managing media mostly.
    I would like to ditch my cable TV and get my ATV hooked up with Hulu, Boxee, etc. I also find that my iPhone screen is just a bit too small for many tasks like reading anything with visuals.
    Will iTab have the cojones to replace my laptop for media management (read Intel chips)? … Providing me with a true MM system based upon content from the Internet and antenna received local HD content.

  4. Genius Onsite

    Whatever you call it, Apple once again will dominate a market where Windows based products have failed. Why ? Apple OS and Apple Design.
    Both are light years ahead of anything any other company had developed.

    List of functions
    E-Reader, TV Viewer, Movie Viewer, Cell Phone, Email, Web Browsing,
    Video Phone, Handwriting To Text, Audio to Text, Voice command,
    Photo and Video Editor, Drawing and Painting and true Net 2.0 web apps.


    Oops, forgot its a laptop, desktop, iPhone, iPod under $1,000.
    Yeah !!!

  5. This is interesting, this could potentially be the biggest news release. So the focus is on “mobility space” that could be the tablet. Or it could be new ipods or it could be new iphones.. Could it be a verizon iphone? New specs on the old iphone? Who knows? Only time can tell….good post though. I like all the possible leads I can get :)

  6. What I don’t get is if Apple charges $599 for an iPhone 3GS, how can they make a larger version for under $1000?

    The saddest thing is this is the last of the big (and credible) new Apple hardware rumors. After next month we’ll have nothing left to get excited or speculate about that we know of. *BAWL*

  7. I like the article very much i do agree with Matt but i think Mikey if you are that tired of listening to what could be on horizon do us all a favour and don’t look at you computer or the news again then, you just sounding so whiney and boring!!!

  8. In fairness, we all pummeled the rumors of the iPhone for what… 5 years? Finally it came out and it blew us away. Perhaps Apple will continue to wait for rumours to burn out, then surprise us? If that’s the case t could be a while I think.

  9. If you are tired of it, take a guess how tired the rest of us are reading this nonsense.

    I doubt that any of you experts are correct. Why don’t you find something more useful to do and stop bothering us with nonsense.