The Applesphere seems to have stopped debating whether there’s going to be an Apple tablet or not. There even seems to be some consensus about form factor and price range. What’s left to toss around? Release dates. The question seems to boil down to this: Fall/Holiday 2009 or 2010? (As you may recall, we already have had the Financial Times confident it’s September and AppleInsider confident it’s 2010.)
Today, both Gizmodo’s Brian Lam and Jim Dalrymple of The Loop say they’ve talked to insiders. Brian’s insider sort of generally suggests the tablet will arrive this year. Jim’s insider says early 2010. Me, I…have no insiders! So I have to rely on intuition, guesswork, and crude deductive logic. A few thoughts:
–The tablet’s going to be a significant deal–the biggest new Apple product since the iPhone, whether or not it’s a hit. And there’s a lot of related stuff that needs to be addressed, like its impact on developers, and the first apps for it. That’s not ten minutes at the end of a September iPod event–it’s probably an event of its own.
–Apple’s September events are also traditionally music-themed, so I’m instinctively suspicious of rumors involving them featuring a device that isn’t music-centric, as a tablet wouldn’t be. (Although that wouldn’t preclude another September event for the tablet.)
–It doesn’t seem entirely out of the question that the tablet could be announced this year even if it doesn’t go on sale until next year, especially if it has built-in Verizon broadband that would require FCC paperwork that might leak. And Apple’s been known to announce products early when they don’t compete with existing Apple products (both the iPhone and Apple TV were unveiled months before you could buy one).
–On the other hand, it would be extremely odd to announce the tablet before the holiday season when it wouldn’t be available until after it. People might forgo an iPod Touch under the tree to save their pennies.
Conclusions? It’s hard to figure this out without an insider, and even the insiders are at odds with each other! But I just checked with my gut, and it told me that the tablet will most likely be announced and released next year. Gut, if that turns out to be wrong, I blame you.