Short of some as yet unforeseen issue, it seems that most Apple rumors these days agree that sometime early next year, Apple will be releasing a "tablet-like" device to the masses.
The rumored specifications include one or more devices of varying screen size (between 6 to 10 inches) with multitouch support, a screen resolution around 720x480, an Apple designed ARM-based Processor, WiFi and a long-duration battery.
Rumors also include a built-in 3G HSDPA chip for accessing the Internet, away from WiFi hotspots, via a cellular carrier that supports the same data standard.
The cellular data support begs the question, will Apple's new device be sold by AT&T with a price subsidy?
Why do I ask? Well, the current rumors put this tablet device at anywhere between $600 - $1000. Now ask yourself, would you pay $1000 for a device that could get lost or dropped easily? If your going to spend that much would you just purchase a Macbook? Even at the $600 price-range would you by Apple's tablet, a cheap laptop or a netbook?
However a price subsidy could drop the upfront price for the consumer from $600 - $1000 to $250 - $400.1 But that subsidy would no doubt require a 2-year contract for data service from AT&T.
That of course begs more questions; If this new Apple device is indeed getting a price subsidy similar to the iPhone, one has to ask won't a successful new Apple device put more strain on that same AT&T data network that's supposedly getting hammered by all those iPhone users?
Or, given the high price and resulting subsidy that AT&T would need to make back, it would suggest that the unlimited data plan for the new Apple device would be more than the $30 per month rate for the same plan on the iPhone. That in turn suggests the preclusion of being able to share the iPhone's data plan between devices. Will people accept that?
And of course would said device be exclusive to AT&T?
Lots of questions. Not many answers, just yet.
1 In fact AT&T already offers two netbooks for $199 after rebate.