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Up to this point, there weren't too many connected insiders who were
putting their money where their mouths were. Tablet rumors were limited
to "sources" and "insiders" and "well-connected" types with sterling
reputations for solid dirt. Now Kaifu Lee, the former president of
Google China, as well as previous executive of Apple, previous of SGI,
previous of Microsoft, and currently working with a venture capital
company invested in by Apple partner, Foxconn, is spilling some beans
on his blog.
Lee writes: "The Apple Tablet looks like a bigger iPhone that sports an awesome UI packed in a beautiful 10.1-inch screen. The tablet combines the functions of both netbook and kindle, an ebook reader. It has virtual keyboard for text entry and a webcam for video conferencing."
With the exception of the recent acquisitions of the virtual keyboard
and the webcam, this is essentially the same rumor we've been hearing
for literally months. Bigger iPhone is a definite check or what would
be the point? An awesome UI is a given since it's Apple we're talking
about here, not Microsoft. A netbook would give us a bit more storage
space than the largest iPhone. A Kindle/ebook reader is in line with
reports that Apple's reached out to book and magazine publishers.
What gives this specific rumor its grand weight is, of course, the writer. As an industry insider pretty much most of his life, Lee's connections move the rumor mill a little higher up the food chain. And when we take that coupled with Apple developers being asked to make larger screen versions of their apps, as well as Apple securing San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for January 26th, in what's been described both as a "major product announcement" and as pertaining to the "mobility space," you can just about color us convinced.
Now as to Lee's further claim that Apple anticipates moving up to 10 million Tablets in the first year alone, well color us skeptical there. Perhaps something was lost in translation, but unless Jobs & Co. plan on hooking users up with some serious subsidies or unless there's some major profit-loss planned for the early stages of market domination, that figure is an enormous pipe dream.