I was driving, and swerved a little bit, even though both hands were on the wheel. Someone honked at me.
"What was that?"
They repeated themselves.
I switched on Bluetooth and pulled over to the side of the road to hear the story. You see, earlier in the day I'd given my phone number out to someone who sent me a cryptic email wanting to talk Apple. This must have been them. (Later on I verified to a high level of certainty that they were in the position to have access to the information and after talking to them for over an hour, I believe them to the same level of certainty.)
"The device, which I've held mock ups of, is going to have a 10 inch screen, and when I saw it looked just like a giant iPhone, with a black back— although that design could change at any time" they said, "with the same black resin back, and the familiar home button." That's obvious.
"But it will come in two editions, one with a webcam and one for educational use."
They continued to explain the device as something that would sit between an iPod/iPhone and a MacBook, and would cost $700 to $900—"More than twice as much as a netbook," he said.
To make up for that cost and make the device more than just a big iPod there was, this person claimed, there was talk of making the device act as a secondary screen/touchpad for iMacs and MacBooks, much like a few of the USB screens that have come out in recent months from Chinese companies. Very interesting.
They went on to say that although the project has been going on under various names between four and six years, the first prototype was built around the end of 2008. Adding, "The time to market from first prototype is generally 6-9 months." That would place the device's release date in this holiday season. They then said, "There was a question of what OS the device would run, too." (Other people I've talked to have implied this remains a huge secret.)
My call dropped on some windy road off Skyline Drive. Fucking AT&T.
Later, I asked, was there a code name for the project?
I thought about it for a second, googled the term, and it all made sense.
"Don't publish that name, please," they requested.
Don't worry, I won't.