Borders survey presumes future 'iPad' e-reader

Question in book seller's survey asks customers about digital reading devices and whether they plan to buy one of Apple's "iPad" large screen devices. Hmmm.

Borders survey
A Borders customer survey asks about a mystery Apple iPad large-screen reading device. Borders/Screenshot by Michelle Meyers/CNET

This story was updated Tuesday with some clarification about the origin of the iPad reference. See details below.

There are a gazillion rumors swirling out there about a forthcoming Apple tablet of some sort. And while we certainly don't feel the need to point you to each and every supposed leaked photo or tip from a super-secret inside source, this potential clue is too interesting to pass on.

MacLife appears to be the first to have noticed that a survey Borders e-mailed to customers, for which those willing to participate earn a coupon for 20 percent off, referenced a device called the Apple iPad.

More specifically, after getting a sense of my taste in books and buying habits, Borders asked about my familiarity with digital-reading devices and whether "I plan to buy an Apple iPad (large-screen reading device) this year." Hmmm, that was a toughie.

It's hard to know what to make of this reference. Perhaps Borders has some sort of inside knowledge, or perhaps the third-party producer of this survey reads Apple fan blogs. Or maybe Borders is just listening to CNET readers, who seemed to like the name iPad in our "Name that Netbook" poll.

Only time (and Apple's anticipated September event) will tell.

Updated at 3:15 p.m. PDT on Tuesday: A Borders representative said book audience research firm Codex Group conducted the poll on behalf of Borders and "included the term iPad in the survey." However, Codex Group founder and CEO Peter Hildick-Smith declined to explain the origin of the term, deferring to his client, Borders.

In other words, we still don't know if someone was trying to predict the future, has inside knowledge, or is simply having fun with Apple watchers.

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