After months of rumors, we still know very little about Apple's tablet device -- but that could change very soon. Apple is reportedly holding a media event in San Francisco on January 26, where the company is expected to make a major product announcement.
According to the Financial Times' unnamed sources, Apple will make the announcement at the Yerba Buena Arts Center, the same place where Apple chief executive Steve Jobs showed off new iPods in September.
Other rumors back up this story. Business Insider reports that Apple will demonstrate the tablet in January. Business Insider also says that Apple has told select developers to get ready, saying their apps will run fine if they've been designed for full-screen resolution. The New York Times reports, via an unnamed senior Apple employee, that Steve Jobs is "extremely happy" with the device. No one's saying the device will launch next month -- March seems more likely -- but it'll be the first time Apple actually comes clean with its plans.
For some perspective on how ridiculous the rumor mill has become, think of all the Apple tablet coverage you've read over the past half year, then try to tell someone at your next holiday dinner party what the device will be. You really can't; reports about the device's capabilities and design have been all over the map.
We've heard that the Apple tablet will offer a 9.7-inch screen and sell for $800, or maybe a 6-inch screen, and will sell for under $700. We've also heard it will feature a 10.1-inch screen and retail for a cool $1000. As if that's not enough, yesterday Boy Genius Report said there's a 7-inch model (price unspecified) in addition to the 10-inch tablet. An analyst recently said the tablet will either run OS X or something like the iPhone OS. We've heard that it will play HD video, read e-books, and save the newspaper industry. With all due respect, I'd expect any other tablet to do the same.
So I'm thrilled that the rumors may finally be put to rest in January. But since those hopes are pinned on rumors themselves, we'll just have to exercise a little patience.