I wanted to take a small break from the political bashing to talk about technology. At the recently ended Consumer Technology Show (CES) two technologies received plenty of buzz: 3D televisions and tablet computers. Tablet computers have been around for quite a while, but their price and usefulness made them all but useless, until Apple changed the game before it changed the game. Apple has a rumored event taking place on the 27th of January where it will will unveil a rumored tablet Mac: the iSlate. Yes, a rumor of a rumor has the computer industry scrambling.
Several computer companies like Dell and HP tried to beat Apple to the punch and demo their version of new tablet PCs. You have to give Apple credit for having such a large impact on the industry, especially since no official device even exists.
The plan, or I should say rumored plan is to use these new tablets as a bridge between the iPhone/iPod Touch and Apple’s entry-level MacBook. They are also going to be direct competition with the Kindle – there are several magazines and newspapersset to offer digital versions of their product.
But still, Apple hasn’t officially announced the iSlate yet. So what do you do when you are itching to know if such a product exists? Well, if you are Valleywag you use $$$ to flush something out.
Yesterday, Valleywag announced that it is offering a bounty of up to $100,000 for information on Apple’s much-anticipated tablet device. The reward ladder begins at $10,000 for “bona fide pictures” of the device, increasing to $20,000 for video. Potential rewards for more ambitious tipsters include $50,000 for pictures of Apple CEO Steve Jobs holding the device, and $100,000 for anyone willing to let Valleywag play with it for an hour.
The ball was placed in Apple’s court. You either take action against Valleywag because the information Valleywag is seeking to obtain is a trade secret and thus disclosure of such information would violate California law or you do nothing. Logic says, if a device doesn’t exist you do nothing because it doesn’t matter, but if you take action then such a device does in fact exist and the company wants to protect details concerning the secret product.
And the winner is…
Today Apple lawyers from the law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe sent Valleywag and Gawker a cease-and-desist letter requesting that the contest be discontinued by 6:00 PM Pacific time today. I guess that pretty much confirms the existence of a tablet Mac and many PC competitors will be all ears on the 27th.
Valleywag has not ended its contest, instead reiterating its position that tipsters should “stay within the bounds of the law” and use anonymous e-mail addresses to prevent identification. It has also named Spillner the first “winner” of the contest for offering “the most concrete evidence yet” that an Apple tablet is under development.
Apple may have spilled the beans by taking action and Valleywag is showing a lot of guts by keeping the contest going.