Rumor Has It: Apple Tablet Launching First, Shipping Later

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With a new day comes new tablet rumors, the latest being a new date for the Apple Event, January 27. There’s also a new time frame for shipping the tablet, March, maybe some new specs, and, hey, why not an SDK for iPhone OS 4.0, too.

While previous rumors put the Apple Event on the Tuesday of the last full week in January, Digital Daily cites “sources in a position to know” calling for a day-later launch of Wednesday. The event will take place at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. That’s an oft-used locale for many Apple Events, including the launch of the Apple TV in 2006. Like the Apple TV, which shipped several months later, the Apple tablet is not expected to be available for purchase until March. However, according to the Wall Street Journal, that’s a rough time frame, as the “ship date hasn’t been finalized and could still change.”

Whether that means sooner or later is not known, nor exactly why the date may change. That may come down to something the WSJ describes as “material finishes for the device.” Metal? Chrome? Plastic? The WSJ doesn’t know, but speculates it could mean multiple models with different price points. Multiple models could bolster the crazy rumor of an OLED display, especially since WSJ cites analysts who cite sources that say that the tablet could cost as much as $1,000.

More certain regarding the display, at least as far as the Wall Street Journal is concerned, is the physical size, 10 to 11 inches. This also coincides with yet another rumor, this from the French site Mac4Ever. Its sources suggest the Apple Event will also include a beta of the iPhone OS 4.0 SDK and a “simulator” for working with different resolutions. That rumor coincides with whispers from sources “very familiar with the situation” to Engadget that state the obvious. The tablet will have a substantially larger screen and a higher resolution display than the iPod touch and iPhone.

So, is there anything about the tablet that is not a rumor? Not really, but there is a kind of conventional rumor wisdom concerning the tablet that will likely prove (mostly) right.

While outliers suggest a screen size as small as seven inches, based upon the reports to date 10 inches is the safe bet. Likewise, the resolution will be higher, at least double the iPhone. 960 x 720 would be a good guess. If the tablet runs iPhone applications without modification, expect them to see them in a 480 x 320 window. There will be native applications for the tablet itself. As for price, $1,000 is crazy high. Most rumors put the price at around $600. Finally, the one thing you can be certain of today: don’t buy anything from Apple in the next three weeks unless you have to.

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