December 24, 2009, 7:56 AM — The last few days have seen a series of increasingly specific Apple tablet rumors. Whew, it's about time...we've gone a few weeks without any mention of the tablet! It started when the Apple TV subscription service rumors cropped up. A January Apple event was mentioned rather vaguely, along with a suggestion that somehow a TV service and the Apple tablet fit well together. (I disagree that people are clamoring to watch TV on a handheld tablet and so does Josh Fruhlinger.)
Then on Wednesday, Boy Genius Report posted that a 7" Apple tablet would be announced in January. For the longest time we've heard about a 10" tablet. BGR says it isn't clear if this 7" version is instead of, or in addition to, a 10" version.
The next bit of info came from Silicon Alley Insider, who broke the news that Apple is contacting select app developers and asking them to prepare apps for a January demo. These devs were told to make sure their apps were programmed to run full screen, rather than specifically programmed for 480x320 (the size of the current iPhone/iPod Touch screens). Presumably Apple wants to use the apps to demo something larger than the current iPhone/iPod Touch.
Then it was back to the Financial Times for the news that Apple has booked a stage at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco for a few days in late January (this is the same stage they used in September). The Financial Times worked out that Tuesday, January 26th is the day of the actual event.
So gathering all the assorted bits together, here's the prediction. On January 26th Apple will hold an event to show off a new 7" iPad that is basically a supersized iPod Touch. It'll run iPhone OS rather than a version of OS X, and as such will be able to take advantage of apps from the App Store. It will go on sale later in the quarter (best guess seems to be March) and (the crystal ball is growing hazier at this point) may have some kind of streaming TV subscription service promised (though probably not ready for launch). It'll be pitched as a device to read digital magazines, listen to music, watch streaming media and so forth. A lean-back internet device. Whether it is strictly Wifi or has a 3G radio is still anyone's guess.
Let's see if we can make this the last Apple Tablet rumor for the year. With a week left in 2009, I'm laying 50-50 odds on whether or not we can do that.