As we prepare for Apple's big announcement Jan. 27, rumors are swirling. Will the tablet feature applications? Will it have iTunes integrated into the software? Will it offer e-reader functionality to challenge devices like the Kindle?
At this point, we just don't know. But that hasn't stopped the rumor mill from working overtime on speculation that the device will be the most appealing product on the market for everyone from hard-core computing experts to stay-at-home parents.
Unfortunately, the Apple tablet probably won't be the be-all, end-all that the rumors suggest it will. Even saying Apple will release a tablet feeds the rumors. We just don't know. But rumors aren't anything new in the Apple ecosystem. The company is so secretive, its products are so compelling and its CEO is so dynamic that Apple has become the epicenter of rumors in the industry.
And in truth the unceasing speculation is often wrong. So as the rumor mill goes into overdrive, attempting to dredge up anything related to Apple's tablet, it might be a good time for a reality check. Let's take a look at why we should take all these Apple rumors with more than a single grain of salt.
1. They're usually wrong
The first thing to know about Apple rumors is that they're rarely entirely true. For months now, rumors have been swirling that Apple would add a touch display to the iMac. So far, the company hasn't, even though it recently refreshed its iMac line. Another rumor that won't go away: gaming coming to the Apple TV. So far, that device is still just a "hobby."
2. They're never from Apple
Apple is arguably the most secretive company in the tech space. Apple has made it its personal mission to severely penalize anyone at the company who divulges anything about an upcoming product. Consider this: The iPhone was a revolutionary device and yet, prior to its announcement, Apple was able to keep it a secret. Impressive.
3. Not even analysts know
Often, analysts will make predictions about what Apple will be doing in the near future. For the most part, analysts are speculating about products just as much as any media outlet is. Analysts do get in touch with manufacturing partners and other stakeholders to support their predictions a little better, but for the most part, they have no clue what Steve Jobs has up his sleeve until he's ready to announce it.
4. Apple is a hardware company
Let's not forget that Apple is first and foremost a hardware company. Earlier today, reports surfaced on the Web, claiming Apple is planning to move into car-parking assistance, of all things. Although it's possible, the chances of that happening are probably not that great. Apple is a hardware company that builds devices for consumers. Why would it suddenly shift strategy after generating so much revenue from its current ventures?