Apple is claiming Fujitsu "abandoned" the iPad trademark in 2009 and has been petitioning the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the rights to the name. I'm betting money will quietly exchange hands, a press release will be slid under the door, and everyone will soon forget that Fujitsu ever made something called an iPad (which they probably already have).
Meanwhile, TechCrunch is flogging rumors about yet another tablet from -- of all folks -- Apple. It would be a much bigger, more powerful version of the iPad, running the Mac OS and allegedly coming later this year. (And no, as far as anyone knows, it will not be called the MaxiPad.) From the scant description, it really sounds more like a touchscreen iMac, but calling it a "tablet" brings you a lot more traffic.
Then there's the "Webcam-enhanced" iPad 2.0 rumor, which began circulating after an Apple repair shop in Kansas City received spare parts for iPads that contained an internal hole where a Webcam would normally go. Yes, really -- why would a Midwestern repair shop get parts for a product that no one outside of Cupertino can put their hands on yet? Methinks they've been pranked.
Wait, there's more. According to Engadget, a French company called ExoPC is apparently set to announce its own touchscreen slate PC, which looks and smells very much like an Intel Atom-powered Windows 7-based netbook that has misplaced its keyboard. So far, however, nobody has called this one "Une Pomme assassin iPad."
Finally, there's Google. (Isn't there always Google?) The blogosphere has already been buzzing about what a tablet running Google's Chrome OS would look like (complete with pix). Now Steve Jobs and Eric Schmidt are taking pot shots at each other in public. Jobs allegedly said, "That 'don't be evil' mantra is a load of [excrement]" at an all-hands meeting over the weekend. The Google CEO responded by calling the iPad merely "a large phone." Oh, snap!
This will be the big story in 2010: the growing hostility between Google and Apple. I predict it will flare into an all-out war before the year is out, Google tablet or not.
What do you think will be the biggest story this year? Post your thoughts below or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.