Gizmodo took a call today from someone who claims to have held tablet prototypes in their hands and sat in on Apple meetings about the device.  We’ll just republish the good bits:

"The device, which I’ve held mock ups of, is going to have a 10 inch screen, and when I saw it looked just like a giant iPhone, with a black back— although that design could change at any time" they said, "with the same black resin back, and the familiar home button." That’s obvious.

"But it will come in two editions, one with a webcam and one for educational use."  

See? Apple isn’t going to just cede the educational market to Amazon’s Kindle.

They continued to explain the device as something that would sit between an iPod/iPhone and a Macbook, and would cost $700 to $900—"More than twice as much as a netbook," he said.

That’s pretty standard rumor faire.

To make up for that cost and make the device more than just a big iPod there was, this person claimed, there was talk of making the device act as a secondary screen/touchpad for iMacs and MacBooks, much like a few of the USB screens that have come out in recent months from Chinese companies. Very interesting.

Interesting.  Like these?

They went on to say that although the project has been going on under various names between four and six years, the first prototype was built around the end of 2008. Adding, "The time to market from first prototype is generally 6-9 months." That would place the device’s release date in this holiday season. They then said, "There was a question of what OS the device would run, too." (Other people I’ve talked to have implied this remains a huge secret.)

My call dropped on some windy road off skyline drive. Fucking AT&T.

The AT&T call dropping is easily the most believable part of this whole story.

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