ipadApple’s tablet has provided no shortage of rumors. Everything from design specs to pricing have flooded the internet from various media outlets and sources. As the mysterious January 27 “special event” comes closer, many wonder if the rumors will finally be answered. To gain a better perspective on the scope of rumors, we’ve put together a snapshot below of the most recent speculations.

I can’t think of anything more that defines a product like its name. With Apple’s tablet, several speculations have surfaced on just what this mystical device will be called. The Street’s Scott Moritz spotlights Apple’s past attempt at an “e-notepad” dubbed The Newton and subsequently refers to the new Apple table as The Newton II. Several more popular names to surface have been the “iSlate” and the “iPad” – derived from the tablet’s generally assumed appearance as a flat touchscreen device.

Many discussions have surfaced around the design of Apple’s tablet, which will have a major effect on how the tablet is used by consumers. Today, Apple Insider’s Kasper Jade highlighted some speculation from several sources that the tablet will in fact have similar features to the original iPhone apart from a larger screen, including an aluminum shell and identical buttons. A rendering provided by Flickr user Fotoboer.nl shows what the sources say is a close match to the actual tablet, except the missing home button and volume toggle.

Another popular question among the rumors is what the Apple tablet will be used for by consumers. The Wall Street Journal highlights Steve Job’s vision of the tablet reshaping businesses involved with textbooks, newspapers and television. More specifically, through various resources close to the situation, the tablet may be geared towards families and students. Families being able to use the tablet to check email and and read the news and students using the tablet to access text books while in class. The tablet could also be an alternative to watching and playing games via a traditional television, as discussions have surfaced between Apple and CBS Corp and Walt Disney Co, along with video game publisher Electronic Arts, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Connectivity continues to be a big issue for any device these days. While speculations conclude that Apple’s tablet will have Wi-Fi, a key feature would be 3G connectivity. A recent article from The Street suggests that the new tablet will in fact have 3G provided from a wireless chip by Qualcomm. Subsequently, this might mean that Apple has chosen Verizon as its partner, said Northeast Securities analyst Ashok Kumar to The Street.

The final question on many people’s minds is how popular is Apple’s tablet going to be? A recent survey by ChangeWave Research concludes that out of a fairly decent sized test group, there is interest in the new device. Of some 3,000 plus individuals, 4% of respondents said they would “very likely” buy the tablet while 14% said “somewhat likely.” Of those interested buyers, three-quarters said they would pay $500 or more, while 37% said they’d pay more than $700.

[image:flickr/Photo Giddy, based on flickr/Fotoboer.nl]

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