OH MY GOODNESS THE APPLE TABLET IS REALLY COMING NEXT WEEK (probably)

The most amusing thing about the Tabletmania that's gripped the Apple rumor world over the past months is that it's been based on exactly zero solid, confirmed information from Apple. Only now, barely a week before the supposed blessed event, do we have a confirmation that there will in fact be a blessed event on the 27th as expected, which is surely a relief to all those publications with shrinking news budgets who already made plane and hotel reservations for their reporters. All Apple will say about the event is that it gives the media a chance to "come see our latest creation," and while I personally would find it hilarious if this just turns out to be speed-bumped MacBooks or something, I suppose in all likelihood we will finally have actual tablet specs to dissect at long last.

There are a couple of other rumors that have emerged in the past few days that may (or may not) dovetail with the looming tablet release. One comes from the world of media: The New York Times is reportedly on the verge of rolling out a paid subscription model for its content, a move that most elite media properties have been contemplating ever since advertising revenues collapsed last year. There have been attempts to link this potential announcement to the coming tablet release, on the logic that the Times could really boast of the extra value you'd be getting for your money if it had a specialized tablet-ready edition prepared to show off at this media event. And indeed, the Times Web site has often been used to show of Mobile Safari's capabilities as press events, so there'd be precedent. But this doesn't really hold water for me; wouldn't the huge majority of Times readers who aren't planning on shelling out $800 or more for this gadget going to be even more irritated that they'll be shelling out for the same boring old Web site they used to read for free?

Then there's the rumor of the touchscreen iMac. This makes a sort of sense, and will appeal to the sort of people who got very excited about the UI Tom Cruise used in Minority Report; since even moving your fingers between a keyboard and a mouse can get sort of problematic, though, I'll reserve judgement on a third potential means of interacting with the computer until I see the actual implementation. But still, it intrigues because one of the big questions about the tablet is where its (presumably OS X-based) operating system will fall on the iPhone OS–Mac OS X spectrum. A lot of people have assumed it would be more like the iPhone OS, just because of the touchscreen capabilities already built into that; but if even Apple's desktop operating system is already being outfitted with a touchscreen UI, then some intriguing possibilities present themselves.

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