When word recently leaked that Apple bought 10-inch touch screens from a Taiwanese manufacturer, the mobile world buzzed and twittered. Is it a giant iPhone? A flying netbook? Probably more like Clark Kent's reporter tablet.
The new tablet is supposed to come out in the fall or maybe this summer, analysts predict, which has only raised the hype meter.
Here are three burning questions swirling around this mysterious device.
Burning Question No. 1: Who will carry the Apple tablet?
Apple's 1993 Newton PDA wasn't unleashed to the market before its time. It just wasn't a good idea. Aside from niche users, say nurses roaming a hospital and updating medical charts, the large PDA was doomed to quickly fade from the mainstream user's radar screen like a bad X-Men prequel. (Okay, I just saw the Wolverine flick and think you probably should not.)
A tablet will surely weigh heavy on your belt or in your shirt pocket. That's not good for most guys, unless droopy jeans is the look you're after or you miss the glory days of super-sized pocket protectors. Not sure about purses, though, since I don't carry one regularly.
"The need for super portable computing has largely been satiated by the smart phone," says Forrester analyst Nathan Safran. "I'm not sure that enough folks also want a tablet PC."
But the tablet will fit nicely in your backpack just like a laptop or netbook, which, of course, begs the question: Why not carry a laptop or netbook? An Apple tablet would mostly be used for Web browsing and email, Safran says, and that's still best done on full-featured computers with QWERTY keyboards.
Burning Question No. 2: Will the Apple tablet run on Verizon's network?
There have been rumors that Apple will release the tablet on Verizon's CDMA cellular network—yes, an Apple rumor, which is about as real and rare as Twitter spam. (Want to know how to start an Apple rumor yourself, and game the stock? Jim Cramer tells all.)