You're going to keep hearing Apple Tablet rumors until the nice folks at Cupertino actually roll one off the production line, or point-blank rule out such a gizmo...but the latest batch have some very specific specs associated with them.
Firstly this rumor's no idle money-spinning thinking from an analyst—it's from Taiwan Economic News' reporter Steve Chuang, a chap who's variously being described as having a truthful "leak" history. Chaung is saying he's got data from a number of companies that received orders from Apple to produce iTablet components. And before you start thinking "Nope—heard all this before!" this time it's very specific.
Here's the specs list Chaung's drawn up from his information sources:
- Screen: 9.6-inch touchscreen from WinTek
- Battery: "Long-lasting," from Dynapack International Technology, at 300,000 units per month
- CPU: A PA-Semi chip, exactly as suspected
- Connectivity: HSDPA 3G
- Delivery: Ships to Apple December, February launch
- Price: $799 to $999.
Wire into this lot the rumor that Steve Jobs has been devoting pretty much 100% of his time at Apple—since returning from medical leave—to the project, thoughts that Snow Leopard is touch-friendly, and the rumor that Apple's flash memory suppliers are implying Apple's voluminous orders creating a world shortage (and they can't all be for iPods can they?). And what you have is a potent mix of detail, speculation and supposedly inside-information from the manufacturers themselves.
What's more, these specs do make a lot of sense. We'd heard rumors Apple was investigating all sorts of screen sizes, and could even launch several sizes of iTablet...but a single 10-inch size makes more fiscal sense and, somehow, feels more "Appley." A CPU from PA Semi has long been expected, and would explain why Apple brought CPU in-house. HSDPA connectivity rules out some rumors that had fingered Verizon as the main U.S. cellular data provider for the device. But it makes much more sense when you realize the iPhone uses the tech since it's used pretty much everywhere else in the world, versus Verizon's odd CDMA spec. A sub-$1,000 price point would place the tablet below the MacBook Pro's prices, above the iPhone and mark it as a powerful machine that out-paces low-spec netbooks—a market Apple's repeatedly sworn to leave alone.
Given that news has surfaced that even Lenovo's getting into the tablet game with a multitouch issue of the powerful T400s full-size laptop and the cheaper X200 multitouch tablet, this just has to be the right time for Apple to reveal its hotly-anticipated machine. Has to be.