The End of the Apple Tablet Mystery Is Near

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An iPhone on steroids may be a dream come true or your worst nightmare. Either way, the highly anticipated Apple Tablet (which, if rumors hold true, will resemble an 11-inch iPhone) will probably be making its debut at an exclusive Apple event in San Francisco next week. A cryptic Evite was sent out to members of the media with nothing more than “come see our latest creation” memo to get the fire started.

Given that this event will take place in the same theater where Steve Jobs debuted the new iPod last September, rumormongers are eagerly expecting a look into the Tablet/iReader/iPad(!)/iSlate. Unlike the Kindle (which currently accounts for more than 70 percent of electronic reader sales) or the nook, the Apple eReader is rumored to have colored screens, a virtual keyboard, and a built-in camera. IE, it’s designed to be an appealing device for non-readers, too.

Other gossip includes specific collaborations with Conde Nast, HarperCollins, and the New York Times, as well as EA Games and a built in Wi-Fi service. An Apple television subscription service may also be included, and if all this holds true, the eReader could cost up to $1,000, with shipments starting come March. And that’s not only sticker shock you can expect. According to the New York Times,

Apple representatives have been in New York this week talking to the largest trade publishers, according to industry executives. They said Apple had proposed an arrangement under which publishers would get to set the price of their books, with Apple taking a 30 percent commission and the publishers keeping the rest. Steve Dowling, an Apple spokesman, declined to comment on what he called “rumors and speculation.”

That’s all we’ve got for now, as Apple has never publicly spoken about this adventure that has had techies, bookworms, and Mac-heads buzzing about for months. Really — check the website. There is zilch on any kind of forthcoming Apple eReader. And they’ve been scary vigilant about keeping it that way.

What do you think about this Apple adventure? When the time comes, will you be purchasing one, or will you stick to a cheaper, less sexy option — the Kindle, a nook, or a good ol’ fashioned book? On a related side note, are you excited to hear that Amazon is letting programmers create new apps for the Kindle?