Apple Tablet Rumors Return Yet Again

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The on and off again chatter about Apple finally developing and releasing a Tablet PC device running the Mac operating system has reached a dull roar again, with a prototype allegedly in existence.

Meanwhile, a couple of Taiwanese companies have signed confidentiality agreements with Apple, and there’s a mid-2007 launch date in store as well, according to the report in Australian tech magazine Smarthouse.

You’ll pardon me if I believe this any more than I believe unleaded gas will drop to 85 cents a gallon by the time I leave the office today.

The reasons for such skepticism, dear reader, may be found with the simplest of queries at Friend Google. First, consider this vintage 2003 passage from Mac Rumors:

Matthew Rothenberg, however, rekindled this topic when he posted a speculative article in November 2002, feeling that Apple would likely pursue a tablet-based computer. This speculation was apparently based on more than just his own personal thoughts — since on January 5th, 2003, he wrote an eWeek article which suggested that the Apple Tablet may make its appearance at MacWorld San Francisco…

We’re still waiting for that debut. In 2004, long-time Mac devotee Leander Kahney mentioned them ahead of the ’04 MacWorld (citing a now-no-longer available article from pundit Robert X Cringely):

Mac websites and forums are buzzing with speculation about an all-singing, all-dancing media-centric Mac for the living room that will surf the Web as well as record TV shows. According to scuttlebutt, the machine will be a wireless tablet, capable of recording or replaying music and video anywhere in the house.

The Mac Observer cited a patent granted to Apple in May 2005, fanning the Mac Tablet fires:

Apple Computer was granted a patent for an enigmatically titled “Electronic device” Tuesday, May 10th, 2005. Illustrations for the device clearly indicate it to be a tablet-style Macintosh, and patent filings specifically compare it to the “HP Compaq Tablet PC” and several other tablet machines.

New in the issued patent is an illustration that demonstrates and confirms that the device is a handheld device with a touch screen.

Which brings us to 2006. The problem I have with the Smarthouse report on an Apple Tablet stems from their March 2006 article claiming Microsoft would have to rewrite as much as 60 percent of Vista’s code. A story by Neville Hobson appearing on WebProNews discounted that report, as did numerous other people including then-Microsoft blogger Robert Scoble.

By all means, enjoy the speculation about a potential tablet from Cupertino. Just keep in mind that two companies in Taiwan that make Apple products would have had to break their NDAs and jeopardize future Apple business to reveal this information.

As Walter Matthau said in 1991’s JFK, “That dog don’t hunt.”


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

Apple Tablet Rumors Return Yet Again
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