Is the long-awaited Apple tablet just weeks away?
Apple is preparing to show off a new, larger mobile device with a higher resolution display in January — probably a version of the Apple tablet we’ve been hearing about for months — according to a plugged-in source in the mobile industry.
Apple has been telling some app makers to prepare apps for a demo next month, according to this source. “They’ve told select developers that as long as they build their apps to support full screen resolution — rather than a fixed 320×480 — their apps should run just fine,” our source says.
The device won’t go on sale in January, according to this source — just the demo. This is presumably so Apple can give other app makers time to prepare their apps for larger-screen devices, a project that will range in complexity depending on the app. Previous reports suggest a tablet will be available in March.
One possibility — increasingly likely, we think — is that this is the first of several tablets Apple will announce over the coming months. According to mobile blog Boy Genius report, Apple is “100%” likely to announce a 7-inch tablet in January. The FT also suggests Apple could unveil a tablet next month. At four times the screen size of an iPhone, this is exactly the “iPod touch HD” we envisioned a year ago.
This could be in addition to a 10- to 11-inch tablet the company has supposedly been working on. No shocker. We assume tablets — or at least multi-touch screen technology — will eventually penetrate more Apple product lines, including portable Macs and maybe even desktop Macs.
A January demo may seem like curious timing: One reason Apple supposedly pulled out of the Macworld Expo is that January is not the best time to demo new hardware, falling right after the holiday shopping season and right after many employees would like to be on vacation.
But Steve Jobs has never been one to follow even his own rules, so we wouldn’t rule anything out — especially for a device that won’t ship until later, anyway. And if Apple could start selling the tablet in the spring, it would presumably clear up some teams to deliver the new 2010 iPhone in its usual June/July release.
It would also be an awesome way to step on the Google Phone announcement, which is supposedly scheduled for January.
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