Apple tablet rumors fly (iTablet/iSlate: let's call the whole thing off)

Supposedly, Steve Jobs is getting ready to announce this Apple tablet device later this month. The iTablet or iSlate is supposedly an enlarged iPhone, with a 7" or 10" display, and Apple has ordered 10 million of them (yeah, right). In the first IT Blogwatch of 2010, bloggers argue on and on about it.

By Richi Jennings. January 4, 2010.

Your humble blogwatcher cooked up this ackenpucky for your enjoyment. Not to mention bad engagement photos...
John Siracusa predictifiates:

Rather than waxing philosophical about everyone's favorite mythical product, I'm going to take a more pragmatic approach: bold, concrete prediction! ... As far as I can see, there are obvious answers to most of the common questions about the tablet—obvious and boring answers, that is, which is why everyone wants to talk about more fantastic scenarios, I suppose.
That means no haptic-feedback touchscreen, no folding/dual screens, no VR goggles or mind control. Instead of being all that people can imagine, it'll just be what people expect: a mostly unadorned color touch screen that's bigger than an iPhone but smaller than a MacBook. ... It's all so obvious it's boring. But even a merely competent execution of this simple plan will result in a product with advantages none of its current competitors can match. And an Apple-caliber execution could really shake things up.

Pete Mortensen wants Apple to set the world on fire:

Apple does have a massive Skunkworks running and is bringing to bear its combined expertise in hardware and software to create something new in a way that they haven’t since the run-up to the announcement of the iPhone. It’s ridiculously top-secret, and no one has seen anything. Content partners haven’t seen it. Developers haven’t seen it. If it has built-in mobile broadband, the network partner hasn’t seen it. All around, the one thing we know is that Steve Jobs is working on this and is finally happy with it.
Suffice it to say that if Apple pulls this off, they will once again define a new market space just as the competition is finally starting to sniff in the one that the iPhone created.

John Gruber dares to... y'know:

Here’s the thimbleful of information I have. ... The Tablet project is real, it has you-know-who’s considerable undivided attention, and everyone working on it has dropped off the map. I don’t know anyone who works at Apple who doubts these things; nor do I know anyone at Apple who knows a whit more. I don’t know anyone who’s seen the hardware or the software, nor even anyone who knows someone else who has seen the hardware or software.
The situation is uncannily similar to the run-up preceding the debut of the original iPhone in January 2007, including many of the same engineers ... disappearing into a black hole. ... Do I think The Tablet is an e-reader? A video player? A web browser? A document viewer? It’s not a matter of or but rather and. I say it is all of these things. It’s a computer. ... Long-term, big-picture? It will be to the MacBook what the Macintosh was to the Apple II.

But Joe Wilcox will bait links:

Apple's rumored tablet computer cannot live up to the hype, which has reached almost ridiculous levels of rumor, speculation and anticipation. The rumored tablet will fall short of expectations, because they are simply too unrealistic. ... Tablet is a nowhere category ... it is at best a niche product. The world doesn't need an Apple tablet.
A tablet functionally lies somewhere between a smartphone and small laptop -- even a netbook. There is too much overlapping functionality between the smartphone and laptop. I call it the middle product (like middle child) syndrome.

At which, MG Siegler laughs (and laughs):

If Joe Wilcox ran the computer industry, we’d still be using typewriters. ... Wilcox’s post completely overlooks what is likely to be the larger point, and in general is a dangerous way of thinking. ... Wilcox seems awfully close-minded about the product’s potential, and frames his argument around that.
There is a reason that no less than Steve Jobs is said to be running point on this project, and has been for the several years that it has been in existence. The thought that Apple is simply going to settle, and release a product that is largely the same as all the other tablet computers that have come before it, is laughable. ... We can all expect something that’s at least somewhat unexpected.

And Robert Scoble is all like, pish-tosh:

Laptops are NOT appropriate for using on the couch while watching TV, either. They force a bad posture and a tablet would be a lot better as a controller for an audio-video system. What ... if Apple came out with an audio video system at the end of the year that the tablet would control? I would buy the whole system. I hate our remote controls and lame ass DirectTV UI. I wish Steve Jobs would take that on.
Steve Jobs imagines a world where slates get even more popular than they are today. ... We all are gonna live in Steve Jobs’s tablet world soon.

So what's your take?
Get involved: leave a comment.
And finally...

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him as @richi on Twitter, or richij on FriendFeed, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email:

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