NYT Editor Hints at Upcoming Apple Slate

The new week begins with a new Tablet-related rumor that’s bouncing its way cheekily around the tubes. This one comes to us courtesy of New York Times executive editor Bill Keller.

According to Nieman Journalism Lab, “…the digital staff gathered for an ‘all hands’ meeting at TheTimesCenter to hear updates on various initiatives in advertising, business development, and content.” Sounds riveting. Anyway, Keller delivered a lengthy monologue (you can watch the whole thing here) but, around eight minutes in, he says:

“I’m hoping we can get the newsroom more actively involved in the challenge of delivering our best journalism in the form of Times Reader, iPhone apps, WAP, or the impending Apple slate, or whatever comes after that.”

Is that simply speculation on Keller’s part, or is he a man in possession of privileged information? As I mentioned last week, Apple is said to have recently been in secret talks with publishers about content delivery via a new platform, and given Apple’s long relationship with the New York Times, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility Keller would be in on the inside track of those talks.

Lingering a little longer on the “slate” moniker, Edible Apple reminds us of a series of tweets from Kevin Rose a few weeks ago, who, while enjoying a few recreational beverages at a bar, met an inebriated lady claiming to be an Apple employee:

Omg just met a drunk girl from apple “no apple tablet coming… well, we wouldn’t call it a tablet” haha leak!!

So, they wouldn’t call it a Tablet… but perhaps they’d call it a Slate, yes? Kevin Rose has been wrong oh-so-many times before. But sometimes he’s right. So these two threads of discourse may be contextually connected in just the right way to lead to conclusions (and the “jumping to” thereof)… or they’re really a big fat nothing. Whichever you choose, I still recommend the usual pinch of salt.

The speculation fun doesn’t end there. Engadget is reporting the availability (via wholesaler China Ontrade Limited) of the snappily-titled “Apple iTablet iPhone 4 Generation SIM Tray.” The product description for the diminutive plastic-and-metal widget reads:

Original Apple iTablet iPhone 4 Generation (Probably iTablet) SIM Tray OEM
This part came from Foxconn to our warehouse at 10.23.2009.

China Ontrade’s website provides this visual comparison of the 4G tray with its 3G/3GS predecessor;


So there you have it. A bit unusual to start the week with a Tablet rumor roundup, but hey, it’s better than reading another Windows 7 review.