Tablet prototype "seen first-hand;" Apple keyboard hack detailed

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A new report alleges that an analyst has seen a prototype of Apple's long-rumored tablet device in person, while the DEFCON conference debuted another dangerous hardware hack.

Apple's tablet reportedly "better than the average movie experience"

According to a new report from financial publication Barron's, the suspected tablet is so close to launch that other manufacturers have put their own tablet-style computers on hold until Apple's new product debuts. Author Tiernan Ray suggests that the portable device could possibly debut within the next six weeks. But According to AppleInsider's own sources, Apple's expected new tablet device, with a 10" display and integrated 3G service, is not anticipated to arrive before early 2010.

"One veteran analyst who has seen first-hand a prototype slate-style computer from Apple says the device could be announced in September for release in November," the story reads. "Whatever the exact dates, the computer industry is so anxious to see what Apple introduces that it has held off on competing designs until Apple CEO Steve Jobs gives the device his final blessing."

The report suggests a price of $699 to $799 for a device that would be primarily a media center and gaming machine. It would also be capable of playing high-definition movies.

"It's better than the average movie experience, when you hold this thing in your hands," Barron's anonymous source allegedly said.

Apple keyboard hack gives full control of systems

Along with the iPhone SMS exploit, the DEFCON convention in Las Vegas last week also revealed a vulnerability in Apple keyboards, exploiting the hardware's 8kb of flash memory and 256 bytes of RAM.

"This type of a hack however isn’t something where you can go into an Apple store and have an Apple “genius” exorcise," George Ou writes, "because once the Apple keyboard is infected and locked; there is no practical way of undoing the damage."

The hack allows key logging, including during the boot phase, "which would unlock additional hardware encryption features." The hacker could also take full control of the host computer by launching a console.

The man who discovered the exploit alleges that it can be accomplished through vulnerabilities in OS X. He claims he knows how the issue can be fixed and has worked with Apple. But he said he is concerned that Apple will only fix the problem through a future OS X patch, which he believes would not be a surefire fix. He would rather see Apple lock the keyboard firmware to prevent future modifications.