The web has been rife today with news that Stéphane Richard, an executive from France Télécom, the French communications company, had let slip could-be details about Apple’s supposedly upcoming tablet in a recent radio interview.
During the Europe 1 interview, which aired Monday morning, Richard revealed to radio host Jean Pierre Elkabbach that the highly debated tablet could feature a built-in webcam, possibly similar to that found in Apple’s current computer lineup, and disclosed that the device will have integrated 3G capabilities. According to Richard, cell phone carrier Orange will be providing the 3G network infrastructure for the tablet in France. However, he failed to specify any price points or possible contact plans.
Apple is expected to unveil its long-rumored tablet at a San Francisco press event toward the end of this month, where hopefully all will finally be made known, putting an end to more than a year’s worth of often deliberate speculation.
The translated interview between Richard and Elkabbach follows:
Elkabbach: According to the weekly magazine Le Point, in a few days your partner Apple will launch a tablet?
Elkabbach: Equipped with a webcam?
Elkabbach: Will Orange customers be able to enjoy it?
Richard: Of course!
The entire recorded interview can be seen (in French) over on NowhereElse.fr, with the pertinent details discussed around six minutes in.
Following the interview, to little surprise, no official comment has been made from Apple, however Orange has since attempted to clarify on the “leak,” releasing the following statement a few hours after the interview aired:
“These responses in no way reflect Orange’s confirmation of the existence of the rumored device. The spokesperson was merely confirming that he is aware of the speculation surrounding a launch and that Orange would be delighted to have such a product were it ever to be available.”
France Télécom currently enjoys a healthy relationship with Apple, with the telecom company selling the iPhone in over 28 countries through its global mobile brand, Orange. So, I’d like to think that this slip-of-the-tongue from Richard could be deemed as credible, despite Orange’s somewhat fluffy statement.