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Apple's iSlate: What we know for sure

Amidst all the excitement about the possible entry of Apple into the tablet market, let's consider what is truly known, as opposed to speculated, about the new product.

"Sherlock Holmes" is not a wonderful movie. Despite the fact that so many ditheringly unstable people in the movie theater I wandered into on Christmas Day applauded when the final scene slithered away.

However, if you were to ask Robert Downey Jr.'s violently amusing Holmes to tell you discern the truth about the new Apple tablet, he would surely repeat his words from the movie: "Data! Data! Data! I can't make bricks without clay!"

So because there are many who are still groggy after the week's festivities, I thought I'd scour around for data that will separate the rumor from the definitive fact.

Apple's new tablet will be called the iTablet. And it will be launched last September. Yes, last September.

But wait, last September was a few months ago. So perhaps that information wasn't quite correct.

Which means those facts must have not been data. However, now we know that the tablet will, in fact, be called iSlate. This is because a number of publications have been sleuthing around and discovered that this name was acquired and trademarked two years ago or more. And the name on the trademarking papers corresponds with that of Apple's senior trademarking specialist, Regina Porter.

So that's settled then. It's going to be called the iSlate. Or perhaps the iTablet. However, though I don't want to thrust dry ice at your moistened enthusiasm, I should remind you that we can't yet discount that it will be called the iMediaPod, the iMod, the iDoIt, the iMagic, or the iThingy. Yes, I made those up. But prove me wrong if you can.

This is Steve Jobs rehearsing his launch speech for the iSlate. Or not. CC Erik Pitti/Flickr

Having settled on the name with certainty, we should look at what the product will actually be. Clearly, it will be a screen of around 10 inches upon which we'll be able to, you know, read the papers, read books, and watch movies.

This will be especially useful while you're stuck in some airport to which you've been diverted after a creepy little nerd wouldn't stop playing his video game with the sound on for five hours on an American Airlines flight and a brawl ensued. (Disclosure: This happened to me the other day. I had to be restrained from attempting a citizen's arrest on the little runt. While his father, an employee of a well-known tech firm, sat there oblivious.)

So now let's talk about the price of the iTablet, iSlate, iMod, iThingy. Thankfully, everyone is agreed on this. It will be somewhere between the price of an iPod and laptop. So it will be between $500 and $700..

Hold on, I just came across something that suggests it might be called the iPad. And here's something that suggested that it will be launched last November and be called, perhaps, the Tapplet.

But let's ignore that and focus again on the price. Which, I can now reveal, will be incredibly cheap. No, of course these aren't my words. They are those of somebody quite famous who talked to the nice portly chap from the "Get A Mac" TV spots.

So there you have it. The iSlate (iTablet, iMod, iThingy) will cost a mere $399. Or even less. Perhaps. It will have a 10-inch screen. Probably. Or a 6-inch screen, possibly. It will let you do all sorts of things on a screen that is larger than that of your iPhone. Very probably. And it will fold in two. Perhaps.

Here's what we know for sure. If Steve Jobs could fool so many people for so long about his health, he can certainly fool the same people about the iSlate, iTablet, iMod, iThingy. Don't you just get the slightest queasy feeling that you actually know more about Tiger Woods' sex life than you know about the iPad?

All of the information about the iTablet, iPad, iWhatever includes mostly misinformation and disinformation. But it is a considerable part of the show. The show that is being orchestrated with all the finesse of that fine celebrity attorney, Gloria Allred. You might not have imagined that Steve Jobs and Gloria Allred have much in common. However, each focuses their vision very tightly on human beings, their emotions, their weaknesses and their curious foibles.

Allred and Jobs know that the anticipation is 50 percent of the performance. And each knows that when the show goes live, you have to have something that public didn't expect. ("Rachel and Tiger are still sleeping together? No!")

This is an interactive advertising show at its finest. The more the iTablet is talked about, the more attention it gets, the more important it seems. The more important it seems, the more many will believe in the idea of Apple creating a product that will truly be wonderful. Because Apple, in general, creates wonderful products that get real people excited.

The next step in the iSlate, iPad, iMod show will come in January, when details of the new product from Apple will be revealed. Unless, of course, they aren't.

Oh, and this just in. The Apple iTablet is going to fail. Unless, of course, it doesn't. It's all elementary, you see.