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Tuesday, November 06, 2007, 06:00 am PT (09:00 am ET)

Apple tablet (Newton); iPhone voice memos; UK launch info

A prominent gadget blog on Tuesday cited manufacturing sources as saying that Apple is indeed working on some kind of tablet handheld. Meanwhile, references to an iPhone voice memo feature are making the rounds (again). And iPhone will be available at over 1,300 retail locations in the UK this Friday, Apple says.

Asustek lending hand with Apple tablet?

Editors for the UK edition of CNet's Crave blog are throwing their weight behind rumors that Apple is working on some kind of Mac OS X-based tablet computer to be introduced in the not too distant future.

Citing sources at a recent dinner party, the publication claims that Taiwanese contract manufacturer Asustek — which is already responsible a large slice of Apple's notebook production — is helping the Cupertino-based company build its new handheld.

"We checked back with our source at Asus on a different day and they confirmed that the Apple Tablet will not be based on existing Asus designs such as the R1," the report states. "It will come from a completely new blueprint, possibly based on the patent Apple filed back in May 2005."

The remainder of the Crave report is speculative, though it should be noted that AppleInsider believes the design in question is one and the same with the Netwon reincarnation detailed earlier this year.

iPhone voice memos

When Apple releases a new version of iTunes, most folks tend to install the software and move on. There are, however, those few who instead rifle through the application's resource files for the greater good of the Apple rumor community.

This was again the case with this week's release of iTunes 7.5, in which one MacRumors forum member discovered some curious text strings related to iPhone disk use and iPhone voice memos — two features not yet available on the handset.

"4320.073" = "Enabling the iPhone for disk use requires manually ejecting the iPhone before each disconnect, even when automatically syncing music.";

"4320.082" = "The iPhone “^1” contains new voice memos. Would you like to move these voice memos to your iTunes library?";


The findings have received considerable attention on some of the more prominent gadget blogs, though it should be noted that AppleInsider forum members had previously discovered the same strings alongside the release of iTunes 7.3. So while such features may still be forthcoming, references to them have been lingering in iTunes for a few months now.

UK iPhone at 1300 locations this Friday

Meanwhile, Apple on Tuesday issued a formal press release hyping this Friday's impending iPhone launch in the UK.

"iPhone will go on sale this Friday, November 9 at 6:02 p.m. at Apple, O2 and Carphone Warehouse retail and online stores," the company said. "iPhones will be available at more than 1,300 Apple, O2 and Carphone Warehouse retail locations across the UK, giving customers their first chance to get their hands on this revolutionary new product."

As part of the release, O2's sales director Mark Stansfeld also confirmed the retail staff expansion reported Monday night.

"O2 stores are fully geared up for what will be the year’s biggest product launch," he said. "We’ve hired and trained hundreds of new iPhone specialists who will be in all 450 O2 stores giving live demos and showing customers how to get the most out of their iPhone."