Rumor dubs Apple tablet “iPhone on steroids”

An Apple insider is keeping the hype train alive on the company’s rumored tablet device, talking up its features to Boy Genius Report.

Most notably, the source referred to the tablet as an “iPhone on steroids” and that the operating system is based on the iPhone kernel. Furthermore, the reason Apple hasn’t updated the iPhone OS in a few months is because there’s too much tablet-related information in the code that could have leaked out.

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The other information in BGR’s report is fairly vague — the tablet allegedly has a fast ARM processor and “out of control” multi-touch gestures — but the claims that the tablet is a closer cousin to the iPhone than the MacBook are substantial.

Much of the debate over the viability of an Apple tablet — or tablets in general — focuses on whether there’s a place for them between smartphones and netbooks. But the most interesting theories I’ve seen are those that believe Apple isn’t merely trying to squeeze in between those categories, but attempting to reinvent personal computing. The idea is that the tablet is so capable, you might buy it in lieu of a MacBook.

For that theory to work, the tablet will have to do more than merely outperform the iPhone on a larger screen. It’ll have to accomplish everything you’d hope to accomplish on a netbook or laptop, and more efficiently. There’s not enough information in BGR’s report to know whether that will happen, but if those are the only surprises Apple has in store, the tablet will be a letdown. With so much hype, however, I wonder if anything Apple launches could live up to expectations.