As the date draws nearer for the supposed release of Apple’s rumored touch screen tablet device, let’s take a look back at some of the rumors that have caught the attention of the tech community this month. The very latest rumors have come on the heels of Apple’s long-awaited official announcement of a launch event in San Francisco on Jan. 27. In typical Apple fashion, the announcement was cryptic, featuring an Apple logo against a background of colorful overlapping paint splatters. “Come see our latest creation,” the invite beckons.
On Monday, The Wall Street Journal, quoting unnamed sources close to the alleged negotiations, reported that HarperCollins Publishers is in negotiations with Apple to make e-books available over a tablet. Previously, HaperCollins CEO Brian Murray alluded to multimedia-enhanced e-books as a way for cash-strapped publishers to squeeze out higher margins in the e-reader business, which is currently focused on producing text-heavy e-volumes for grayscale devices such as Amazon.com’s Kindle. The news followed rumors that The New York Times, which will likely start charging readers for access to content, may also be in negotiations with Apple to broker its own content access deal.
Meanwhile, across the pond, British newspaper The Guardian reported Apple is quietly seeking an agreement with U.K. network operator Orange to help subsidize the cost of the device, which will likely feature a 10.1-in. diagonal screen and WiFi access, but will lack a physical keyboard. Business Week also suggested Apple is looking to ink a deal to help subsidize tablet costs to consumers, but this time the company was a far less likely partner-no less than Apple arch-rival Microsoft. The magazine quoted two sources “familiar with the matter” who said Apple is in talks with the company to use Bing, Microsoft’s recently launched search engine, as the device’s default Web browser.
The magazine quoted its sources as saying negotiations have been underway for two weeks, and noted the development might further strain Apple’s relationship with search giant Google, which has been developing its own open source mobile phone platform, Android. “Apple and Google know the other is their primary enemy,” the magazine quoted one source. “Microsoft is now a pawn in that battle.”