Apple Tablet Coming in March and With 3D Graphics?

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Rumors have been flying about the (as yet unconfirmed) Apple tablet device that’s supposedly been in the making for quite a while now.  Now, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple will be shipping the new tablet in March, after making an announcement later this month.

Their description gives the new (unnamed) Apple tablet a size of aout 10 inches square with Wi-Fi connectivity and possibly two finishes (looks) for the touch-screen computer.  Price guesses range from $1,000 to $3,000.

Every industry analyst is in the game of speculating about the tablet, citing all kinds of things as evidence of this or that.  In eWeek, two former executives in Asia, gave their thoughts on what the tablet will look like and how it will function, including “3G graphics.”  Another eWeek prediction says the announcement will be at the end of January because Apple has rented stage space for January 26-27.

After doing some critique of the WSJ report, MG Siegler at TechCrunch then goes into some interesting speculation and analysis of the way the story has broken, who broke it, and what they’ve done in the past that has, it seems, always been to Apple’s benefit.   Namely, in this case, the timing of this latest WSJ buzz and the release of the Google Nexus One.

Finally, though, we get to the “3G graphics” alluded to earlier.  Since 3G is not a graphical interface, but a cellular data network, it is likely a mis-print or mispronunciation by someone.  There is a rumor that the Apple tablet will have three dimensional (3D) graphics capabilities and to flesh that out, Gus Sentementes at the Baltimore Sun did some digging.

What he found is a patent application by Apple dated December 10, 2009 and only just released.  The patent, which he traced to Apple, goes into detail over a “touch screen device, method and graphical user interface for manipulating three-dimensional visual objects.”

The patent was actually created by Fabrice Robinet, Thomas Goossens, and Alexandre Moha and purchased by Apple in September of 2008.  All three are French citizens and, it appears, are employees of Apple.

Interesting times, indeed.  We’ll know in a couple of weeks whether all of this is hokum or real, of course.  It is fun to speculate, though.  Isn’t it?


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