Rumor: Apple tablet may stick with AT&T

The latest report on Apple’s rumored tablet says it runs on the same data protocol used by AT&T, and not Verizon Wireless.

The report comes from Taiwan Economic News, and contains a lot of specific information on the fabled tablet — none of it confirmed, of course. Among these findings, which come from “industry sources,” is the inclusion of a high-speed download packet access (HSDPA) module.

In the United States, only AT&T and T-Mobile use HSDPA, while Sprint and Verizon Wireless use the Evolution-Data Optimized (EVDO) protocol. If TEN’s report is accurate, it seems more likely that Apple would stick with AT&T than take its chances on T-Mobile.

mac-tablet-concept

Other reported specs for the tablet include a 9.6-inch multi touch screen, a P.A. SEMI processor chip and a “long lasting battery pack.” Apple’s tablet is expected to sell in the United States for $800 to $1,000, the report says.

On one hand, I can see why this rumor would hold true. If AT&T offered both the iPhone and an Apple tablet, some sort of package deal — on the devices and the data — would be the next logical step. However, AT&T’s has been roundly criticized for failing to keep up with demand. Complaints of dropped calls and spotty service abound. AT&T has been working to improve its network, but another data-centric device might only make things worse again, especially if the tablet concept proves popular.

A previous rumor held that Apple was developing several tablets, one in the 10-inch range, plus a larger model running Mac OS X. Maybe Verizon Wireless will play a role in the latter tablet, if it even exists.

Meanwhile, Technology Business Research analyst Ezra Gottheil suggests that tablet rumors are going overboard. He tells Computerworld that “I’m starting to think that this is just a bunch of people believing each other, or maybe even an Apple disinformation campaign.”

Gee, you think?