Rumor roundup scorecard: The iPad edition

Finally, the wait is over. We know just about everything there is to know about Apple's "magic" tablet, the iPad. So let's go over some of the rumors that led up to its release to see just how right, or wrong, they turned out to be.

On Wednesday morning, we published a list of some of the good, the bad, and the ugliest rumors leading up to Apple's iPad release. Now that we know most, if not everything , about it, let's take a look at how some of the rumors panned out.

Rumor: Apple's latest gadget would be a touch-screen tablet.
Outcome: Apple's iPad ended up looking a whole lot like what we saw in the patent applications .

An early Apple tablet patent, and what we got today. CNET/US PTO/Apple

Rumor: The tablet operating system would be based on the iPhone OS
Outcome: Very real. The iPad shares the iPhone's software development kit, or SDK, and can even run the same applications. It simply scales apps that have been designed for the smaller screen up to its 1024x768-pixel resolution.

Rumor: The tablet would be called the iSlate.
Outcome: False. Apple seems to have just been covering its bases with the iSlate trademark application and domain grab . This is kind of like buying alternate top-level domains when starting a Web site. That said, Apple could bring this name to a future product--be it hardware or software.

Rumor: The tablet would be called the iPad.
Outcome: Ding ding ding. Despite initial observations that Apple could be in for a legal battle, due to Fujitsu owning the iPad trademark, that's what Apple ended up going with. This could end up being problematic. Bloomberg reports that Apple's decision to go ahead with the iPad name, despite Fujitsu's trademark ownership, could lead to big legal battle. It could also have a similar outcome to the iPhone trademark battle it had with Cisco Systems.

Still, kudos go to iLounge for getting the name, along with a handful of other details, correct in September of last year.

Rumor: The tablet would include textbooks.
Outcome: Real, but almost entirely skipped over in Apple's big unveiling. Part of the reason for that could have been the big slip by McGraw-Hill Chairman and CEO Terry McGraw, who the night before had told CNBC that 95 percent of his company's content was ready to go for the Apple tablet.

Nonetheless, textbooks will be sold through Apple's new iBooks store, though details are scarce about whether Apple has worked the kind of pricing magic with which Amazon.com has been so aggressive in trying to get similar content available for its Kindle e-book reader.

Apple now has a bookstore, though details about textbook offerings and magazines are slim. Apple

Rumor: Apple was gunning to get book prices between $12.99 and $14.99.
Outcome: True. Book prices on the iBooks store fall well within that range, including new releases. It remains to be seen how competitive Apple's offering is with those of Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and others.

Apple

Rumor: The tablet would be powered with a chip from Apple's in-house manufacturing facilities instead of Intel.
Outcome: Very true. The iPad packs a 1GHz chip called the A4 that is Apple-branded. Steve Jobs said it has the processor, graphics processing unit, and input/output memory controller on one chip. ( Find out more about the A4 chip )

Rumor: The price tag would range between $500 and $2,000, with most guessing less than $1,000.
Outcome: Two models in three capacities at six different prices. Whoa. The pricing, however, came right into line with our expectations, which had been somewhere between $500 and $1,000. Again, this tended to make a lot of sense , considering Apple's big gap in its portable line between the iPod Touch and its entry-level MacBooks.

An iPad will cost you anywhere from $499 to $829. Also worth keeping in mind is the $15 or $30 a month for the optional 3G service from AT&T. Apple

Rumor: The ship date. This one was all over the place, from being available the day of the announcement to the nebulous "first half of 2010."
Outcome: Sixty days until the Wi-Fi version is available, and 90 days for the spiffier Wi-Fi-and-3G version. A Wall Street Journal report in December was spot-on.

Rumor: Apple would be making use of multitouch technology similar to what's found in its Magic Mouse product to let users interact with the back of the tablet, something that would keep your precious screen free of finger grease when watching movies and browsing the Web (via Cult of Mac).
Outcome: False. The back of the iPad is made out of cold, hard, aluminum that has no multitouch capabilities. That's not to say that Apple hasn't been planning to add such features to its other products. Patent filings from 2007 suggested the same type of functionality for the iPod Nano.

Rumor: This mock-up was pegged by AppleInsider's sources as being "strikingly close" to what Apple was working on.
Outcome: Despite the mock-up depicting a full version of Apple's OS X, a sleep button toggle, and a much thinner bezel, this mock-up is pretty accurate.

Rumor: Apple's tablet would sport a 10-inch OLED screen.
Outcome: This, unfortunately, turned out to be false. Although a Digitimes report (subscription required) from November said OLED screens had given Apple a whole heap of trouble during development. This doesn't rule out the idea of Apple having scrambled to try to get OLED in the iPad at launch. It was likely scrapped it in favor of the same kind of LCD displays with IPS that Apple currently uses in its iMac line.

Rumor: Apple was working on a touch-screen-friendly version of iWork.
Outcome: This one turned out to be true. And a "version" it is, as it doesn't actually replace the desktop iteration of iWork. Instead, Apple split iWork into three separate apps, letting users buy each one for $10 a pop.

Travis Boatman, a VP for Electronic Arts, demos the upcoming game Need for Speed: Shift on the iPad. The game is optimized to work on the iPad's larger display. James Martin/CNET

Rumor: Apple had worked with select developers ahead of launch to get their apps ready for something with a bigger resolution.
Outcome: True. We saw demos from Gameloft, The New York Times, Brushes, and Major League Baseball--all of which had apps optimized to fit the larger-resolution screen.

Rumor: The tablet would feature not one, but two cameras, one on the front and one on the back. (via Looprumors)

AT&T's latest spokesperson, Luke Wilson. AT&T

Outcome: Just like its country cousin the iPod Touch, the iPad is camera-free. That doesn't mean a camera won't make it into a future hardware revision. There's even some proof (dug up by CrunchGear) that Apple may have a tablet in its labs that has a camera. Well, that, or Apple just rushed to get the software ready and left the photo-snapping feature in there from when it ported over the contact manager app from the iPhone.

Rumor: AT&T would be losing its iPhone exclusivity (HotHardware).
Outcome: Not yet. If anything, AT&T got more love from Apple by being the only 3G connectivity provider available out of the box for the iPad--that is, until June, when Apple unveils its international plans.

In the meantime, the iPad with 3G is being sold as unlocked, which means that it will work without any special contract signing or activation. The only caveat there is that it uses micro-SIM technology instead of standard-sized SIM technology. This means that users can't just pop the SIM card out of their mobile phone and into the iPad, which Apple likely did on purpose.


Conclusions

Most of these rumors--and it's certainly not a complete list of the ones leading up to Apple's tablet announcement--ended up being right (see also Gizmodo, Mac Rumors, Ars Technica, and Engadget for alternate takes).

Many of the ones that weren't came from places that were either speculating or offering up ideas that seemed too good to be true. This includes the one about the iPad sporting two onboard video cameras and the Digitimes report about a 10-inch OLED display. Both of these things would likely be welcome by Apple fans but could be cost-prohibitive.

As with previous crops of Apple rumors, some of the ones that didn't come true in Wednesday's iPad unveiling could end up surfacing in future iterations of the iPad or other Apple products. And if the past eight years of Apple releases are any indication, that mystery device could be here as early as next year.

Any big ones we missed? Leave them in the comments or shoot me an e-mail.

 

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