Did France Telecom's Orange Just Confirm Apple Tablet?


Asked a number of questions by journalist Jean-Pierre Elkabbach (and reproduced in French language video translated here), Richard, who is the second in command at France Telecom-owned Orange, confirmed a few details and also said "of course" when asked if Orange customers will be able to enjoy the Apple tablet.

The details aren't as interesting as the tablet confirmation. Apple's been doing its best to keep details of a long-awaited Apple tablet under wraps while letting the buzz build in classic, overhyped Apple fashion.

Last week, however, The Wall Street Journal cited anonymous sources that had been briefed by Apple as saying the Apple tablet would be unveiled in late January and start shipping in March. That article also indicated the Apple tablet will have a 10-inch or 11-inch touch-screen display and have two different material finishes.

Apple has a media event scheduled for Jan. 27, at which most observers expect Apple to reveal the tablet. Apple's event -- and Google's Nexus One phone -- have done much to distract tech observers from the early January stretch that's traditionally dominated by news coming out of CES.

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Orange was the first carrier in France to have Apple's iPhone, and according to Richard, France Telecom sold about 200,000 iPhones in December.

The launch of an Apple tablet, which has kept the Apple rumor mill chugging since at least May 2009, would put Apple in competition with tablet makers such as Asus, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo, and also in potential competition with e-reader vendors such as Amazon, Sony and Barnes & Noble, if the Apple tablet has e-reading capabilities.