The Apple Tablet Is Dead

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Apple tablet rumors started verging into the ridiculous Thursday morning with reports that Apple has pushed back the project's launch date yet again. Those same sources are saying Apple is developing a high-end tablet that could retail for as much as $2000, according to Digitimes.

Even more preposterous is the news that major magazine publisher, Conde Nast, has decided to develop products for the tablet, according to Peter Kafka over at All Things D. There's only one snag to the publisher's plan: the company doesn't know whether the Apple tablet is real or not.

These rumors are getting so ridiculous that I think it's time we accepted the truth: the Apple tablet is dead; in fact it probably never existed.

Today's Special: Very Expensive Apple Tablet Baloney

Sources within Apple's supply chain are reportedly saying the tablet's launch date has been pushed back from March of next year into the second half of 2010. The reason for the delay, according to Digitimes, is that Apple has decided to switch out some components, and will also produce a second tablet with a 9.7-inch OLED screen. The new model would be in addition to a version with a 10.6-inch LCD display.

An OLED screen would use less energy, have less glare, and be able to deliver a brighter, crisper image compared to LCD. But all those advantages are going to mean big money, with a retail cost for the OLED model reaching as high as $2000. The LCD model, Digitimes says, would retail for around $800 to $1000.

Tablet Served With Vapor Sauce

Conde Nast isn't content to wait for Apple, according to All Things D, and is forging ahead with its own tablet-ready version of the tech magazine Wired, using a new publisher's tool from Adobe. The digital version of Wired will reportedly be ready by the middle of next year, and Conde Nast will, over time, create digital versions for all of its eighteen magazine titles.

The digital editions will give readers the option of viewing the original print version of the magazine or a digital version developed for the device. All Things D says Conde Nast is communicating its plans to Apple, but Cupertino is not discussing or confirming any of its product plans with the publisher. Just in case the Apple tablet is pure vaporware, Conde is also working closely with Hewlett-Packard on its plans. Presumably optimizing the magazine for HP's TouchSmart and DreamScreen lineups.

A Fanboy Reality Check

It's time to accept that the Apple tablet is not coming. After numerous delays the tablet was supposed to appear in late 2009, then as we approached that date it became accepted practice to say the tablet was coming in early 2010.

Now, with Digitimes leading the way, I'm certain it will only be a matter of days before tech pundits and analysts convince themselves that mid-2010 is "probably more realistic" as a launch date. Until we reach mid-2010 that is, when the tablet will be delayed again. All the while Apple tablet rumors will get even more fanciful and ridiculous. Who knows? Maybe the price will get up to $10,000 by then, but only $199 after rebates and a two-year contract.

Let's face it: the Apple tablet is a mirage created by legions of fanboys and tech dreamers. The closer you get to that mirage, the more you realize it's not going to be there when you arrive. But then, off in the distance, an even brighter and more beautiful tablet is envisioned for a day that will never come. It's a nice dream, but it's just not going to happen.

Connect with Ian on Twitter (@ianpaul).

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