Apple's Plans: A Roundup

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With just a week to go until the top-secret, invitation-only January 27 Apple event, the rumors are heating up (not surprising

Artwork: Chip Taylor
ly, considering the invitation consisted of a colorful Apple graphic and tantalizing note, "Come see our latest creation").

Here are a few of the (many, many) rumors that are most likely to be corroborated by our favorite Cupertino technology company next Wednesday.

The Magical Apple Tablet

Rumors of the Apple Tablet -- a tablet to end all tablets (not that tablets have really been doing all that well), a touchscreen to end all touchscreens, and an operating system to end all operating systems -- have been flying around for, um, several years now. So Apple had

better unveil something that at least hints at a tablet -- and it will, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Journal's January 5 article cites "people briefed on the matter," and claims that the tablet device, which will be unveiled in January but ship in March (subject to change), will come with a 10- to 11-inch touchscreen, and be priced at just around $1000.

Also according to the Wall Street Journal: HarperCollins Publishers is talking with Apple about an e-book deal for the upcoming tablet (according to "people familiar with the situation). An e-book deal would make the tablet a direct competitor to the Kindle, a fact which was not lost on Amazon. What we probably won't see: tablets with OLED displays, according to Ars Technica -- as OLED screens are still expensive and limited; it's unlikely that Apple's first tablet will have them (though some of us beg to differ).

We've rounded up some more Apple Tablet rumors here. Here's an overview:

The iPhone 4

Unlike the Apple Tablet, the iPhone is already a reality -- so rumors that the iPhone 4 will be announced alongside the tablet are plausible. The Korea Times reports that 4G iPhones may be available as early as April and will be equipped with OLED screens, vid

eo chat functionalities, and possibly a removable battery -- it looks like the Google Nexus One has Apple thinking. Other rumors from the Korea Times include dual core processors and a higher-res camera. reports that the next iPhone will likely improve multitasking (thank goodness!) and have a dual core processor. Product Reviews believes the camera will be 5 megapixels with a flash (more Nexus One influence?), and speculates as to a 64GB version.

Other possibilities: a stylus, touch-sensitive casing (according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analyst Robert Chen), and a push-button antenna.

iPhone OS 4

It's been nearly six months since

software, and recent "iPhone Killers," while not actually killing the iPhone (or even close), have been stepping up the competition.

Boy Genius Report offers some details from a "trusty Apple connect:" that the iPhone OS 4.0 will have multitouch gestures OS-wide, run applications in the background, and will not only be run on the 3G and 3GS, but "put them ahead in the smart phone market because it will make them more like full-fledged computers." The rumors also suggest that the new OS will have a graphical UI changes and new syncing abilities for the calendar and contacts applications -- the latter would be a step in the right direction, if the iPhone wants to be taken seriously as a business phone.

Smart Company, an Australian-based website, reports that iTunes could be getting a major revision alongside the iPhone OS -- specifically, with cloud-based service and browser-based music libraries (which would essentially allow users to access their libraries from anywhere).

An update to the iPhone OS, especially one that supports multitasking, is definitely needed -- so I hope this rumor is true.

iPhone-Verizon Deal

The International Business Times is reporting that, along with the introduction of a new OS, the iPhone may jump the AT&T ship and swim over to Verizon. Canaccord Adams analyst Peter Misek believes that a Verizon iPhone wi

ll be released when Apple's exclusive contract with AT&T is up. Misek bases his reasoning on conversations with semiconductor partners -- and has reason to believe that "there is a reasonable chance the Asian supply chain is prepping for mass production of a new iPhone in March," which will be "carried on Verizon and hence operate on the CDMA network."

Misek also corroborates the Boy Genius Report rumors of new multitouch gestures, multitasking, and graphical UI changes.

iLife 2010

Fox News reports that, along with the Apple Tablet and iPhone 4, a new round of iLife Software (iLife 2010) ma

y debut at the January 27 event, according to a "source at Apple" with whom the reporter spoke on January 18. Of course, the reporter then goes on to note that Apple is notorious for stuffing last-minute rabbits back into hats (or something like that).

Of course, this follows the New York Times report that Apple is working on a multitouch version of iWork (source: a former Apple designer) for its tablet debut.

Obviously, there's only one way to find out if the predictions are true: check in next Wednesday around 10 a.m. Pacific Time, when the conference starts.

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