Its now just about two days until Apple's "latest creation" press event. And, just as we noted, even more rumors have surfaced since we last rounded them all up for you. Excitement is building, folks--even during a quiet weekend of news.
Apple's tablet runs iPhone apps
Flurry Analytics has just revealed that it's found the data signatures of about 50 unknown devices accessing iPhone apps embedded with its tracking codes. The device characteristics roughly match those that the rumored iPad will have, and Flurry's system is clever enough to track the relevant IP addresses used by the devices to Apple's Cupertino campus.
In other words, Flurry is pretty certain these machines are late-stage prototype iPads that are undergoing serious testing at the hands of Apple development engineers. It all tallies nicely with the timescales that've been rumored many times this far: Assuming Apple will be demonstrating the iPad (iSlate?) next week it'll need several working examples that are almost up to production-release level. And if it's really due to go on sale in March (which nicely de-conflicts the iPad's timescale with the holiday season, and the normal iPhone update schedule) then the gizmo really needs to be in advanced testing right about now.
It also reveals that the iPad really is running an iPhone-like operating system, capable of running iPhone apps, instead of a Mac OS X code-base (which might have been expected if the iPad were to behave similarly to a PC). This has all sorts of implications for apps, which will presumably have to be re-coded to work on the iPad's higher-resolution screen. We'll learn more on Wednesday.
Steve thinks the tablet is the most important thing he's done
According to insiders who've spoken to TechCrunch, in addition to being very "excited" by the rumored new device, Steve Jobs himself has said "this will be the most important thing I've ever done." Apple execs are also reportedly telling friends that Steve is about as excited as they've ever seen him.
If this is true, then the device could indeed be as astonishing as all of the media hype suggests it will. And it could also be taken to mean that Steve sees the device's potential being World-changing to some extent. Speculation, of course, but with other rumors popping up that the iPad will be targeted in part at educational markets, Jobs could be imagining that Apple's machine will really impact society.
AT&T exclusivity on the wane?
Hothardware.com is reporting that it's heard from insiders at AT&T that the long-standing and increasingly controversial exclusivity deal with Apple is due to expire soon, and that the news may even surface during Wednesday's event.
Though this is obviously a U.S.-centric issue, and the iPhone is now more of a global device than an American one, it's hurting both Apple's image and AT&T's reputation: Apple could probably do with the PR boost gained by switching to a multi-carrier model, and AT&T could do with someone else's 3G network demonstrating cracks under the high-traffic strain induced by iPhone data use.
Is it true? Hard to tell. It does make sense, given Apple's increasingly pursuing multi-carrier models in other nations, and there've been a number of rumors connecting the iPad/iSlate with Verizon. And there's been a couple of leaks suggesting a CDMA--Verizon-compatible--iPhone version is due for release later in the year.
Apple crackdown on cloners
This might not be related to the rumored iPad, but it could be seen as a sign that Apple won't tolerate cheap Chinese knock-off clones of its devices in the future: The Shenzen Daily News is reporting that Apple was a driving force behind police raids in the city's business district. More than 1,000 cloned iPhones were seized, and the action will have sent serious ripples through the shady cloning industry in China.
Of course Apple protecting its incredibly lucrative iPhone IP and identity is understandable, particularly as sales of genuine iPhones are slowly beginning to take off in China (and presumably the next-gen ones, which may not have to obey China's restrictive law on Wi-fi capabilities, will sell well too). But if the iPad proves as revolutionary and successful as its beginning to seem like it might be, then Apple will surely want cloners to think twice before trying to tackle this gizmo too.
The "iPad" name
The speculative name game has already popped up the moniker "iPad" in Apple trademark activity. But now it looks like the shell company "IP Application Development," which Apple seems to have been using elsewhere, has also filed for trademark rights to the name in the U.S. Does this suggest iPad might be the real name of the fabled tablet?
The New York Times and Apple in cahoots?
Here's a funny one: The Los Angeles Times is reporting that The New York Times and Apple have been feverishly working together for weeks to get a technology demonstration ready for Wednesday's press event. It's assumed that the demo will be a tablet-ized version of the already pretty powerful NYT app for the iPhone, suped-up to make the most of the iPad's presumed larger screen, and better multitouch powers.
This is completely plausible. Apple's used exactly this tactic before, and remember that last year the NYT's Bill Keller kicked off a rumor storm when he mentioned "Apple's impending slate" in what was supposed to be a private briefing.