Apple rumors are either steaming with the heady vapors of pure fantasy, or are spun around a core of interesting facts. The latest rumors about Apple and Verizon being in talks seem to be more the latter. And among the tidbits comes news of potential new Apple gadgets.
Business Week, USA Today, and The New York Times are the latest publications to pick up on the rumors (which originated on blogs several weeks earlier). Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam, when questioned by reporters, refused to spill any details. But he did confirm that the two companies had been having discussions.
That casts a certain bright light over initial rumors that recently suggested an iPhone may be coming to the Verizon network as soon as 2010. The sticking point for an earlier iPhone deal was, of course, Verizon’s use of the somewhat backward-tech CDMA for its cellphone network–it would require a whole new device to be engineered. That’s something Apple obviously wasn’t prepared to do, given that identical GSM-based iPhone tech is used in the existing iPhone 3Gs sold all over the world. Now that McAdam has confirmed Apple talks, there’s a strong suspicion Verizon will use the handset to champion its swtich-over to the next-gen GSM-based LTE 4G network starting next year.
But Business Week also has news from the classic “anonymous informers” that the Verizon talks also involved two new Apple gadgets. One is dubbed the “iPhone Lite” and is supposedly a lighter, thinner version of the existing smartphone–a device that’s long been rumored. The other is more interesting, to gadget-geeks. It’s “media tablet” according to sources, and would “let users listen to music, view photos, and watch high-definition videos […] It would place calls over a Wi-Fi connection.” Now that sounds a heck of a lot like the long-called for “Mac Tablet” device, and it’s apparently smaller than a Kindle but with a larger touchscreen–imagine it as an enlarged iPod touch.
The iPhone Lite is a plausible idea, although it’s easy to wonder why Apple would dilute the incredible success of the iPhone with a “dumbed down” version, aiming for popularity–a potentially risky strategy. It’s also different to the iPhone “nano” rumors that suggested a simpler device. The Media Tablet sounds like a sensible way for Apple to fashion a netbook along its a trademark unconventional path, and fits with Apple’s own words about how it won’t directly enter the netbook scene.
We must remember these are rumors, however. They’re interesting for one reason alone: They seem in line with other info tidbits that are slipping out.