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January 11, 2010

Apple Tablet Out in a Couple Days? Oui! Non! Oui! Non!
By David Sims
TMCnet Contributing Editor

You’re sitting there, wondering just what the flip is up with Apple’s (News - Alert) Tablet launch, scouring all the usual suspect sites, but you’re not keeping an eye on France Telecom, are you?


 
Ya snooze, ya lose. Industry observer Robin Wauters is reporting that France Télécom / Orange executive Stéphane Richard “confirmed on air that the device is to debut in the ‘next couple of days.’”
 
Of course it’s no secret that Apple has a tablet on the way, the $64 question – Euro 44.10 – is, of course, when.
 
Just before Christmas the Industry Standard reported that “reports are pointing to a launch in the spring of 2010,” citing “analysts who are citing contacts in the supply chain as well as publishers who have supposedly been approached by Apple to discuss revenue-sharing agreements for e-books and news.”
 
As Wauters explains, Richard’s the number two guy -- l’homme deux -- at the telecom giant. Evidently he told French journalist Jean-Pierre Elkabbach “that the tablet would soon make its entry into the market, and that it will be equipped with a Webcam.”

Money line:
Jean-Pierre Elkabbach: Selon Le Point … l’hebdomadaire Le Point, dans quelques jours votre partenaire Apple va lancer une tablette …
Stéphane Richard: Oui.
Elkabbach: … dotée d’une webcam.
Richard: Oui.
Elkabbach: Est-ce que les usagers d’Orange en bénéficieront aussi?
Richard: Bien sûr!

Now Monsieur Wauters’s French is notably better than mine – apologies to Mme Baker, my high school French teacher who did her best – and while I had no problem translating Richard’s lines, according to Wauters Elkabbach says “According to weekly Le Point, in a couple of days Apple will be launching its tablet computer... equipped with a Webcam. Are Orange customers going to be able to enjoy it?”
 
See the exchange yourself at NowhereElse.fr
 
So there you have it. Of course along come the killjoys, as MocoNews.net reports, the Orange PR fire team raced to issue a statement saying “These responses in no way reflect Orange’s confirmation of the existence of the rumoured device. The spokesperson was merely confirming that he is aware of the speculation surrounding a launch and that Orange would be delighted to have such a product were it ever to be available.”
 
As the Standard reported, respected industry analyst Yair Reiner said in late December that “Apple will need five or six weeks worth of inventory in hand before it starts selling the tablet, which would put its release deep into the first quarter of 2010 or early in the second.”
 
So we’ll see if the French connection holds up this time.

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Erin Harrison

 

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