Quick Draw? Publisher leaks Apple tablet details

If you want to head into Wednesday's big Apple announcement without the hint of anything that Apple may unveil, you had best click on the Back button of your browser or retreat to the safety of Macworld.com.

Sometimes, life needs a sad trombone. Gadget site Gizmodo notes that on the eve of the giant Apple announcement, publisher McGraw-Hill's Harold “Terry” McGraw III casually told a CNBC reporter live on the air Tuesday that Apple will take the wraps off a tablet at Wednesday's product event.

Not “may” introduce a tablet. Or “could” introduce a tablet. Will.

McGraw might be in a position to know more than most. He said on CNBC that his company has been working on a tablet with Apple for quite a while. Furthermore, according to the ever chatty Mr. McGraw, the tablet’s operating system will be based on the iPhone OS, implying that all work done on developing apps for the iPhone OS will be easily transferable to the tablet. There will also be a “consortium of e-books” available, and 95 percent of McGraw-Hill's library will be available in that format.

So much for the element of surprise.

McGraw’s readiness to share brings to mind the 2002 launch of the flat-panel iMac—you know, the one that kind of looked like a lamp. Apple’s new iMac was to appear on the cover of Time the day Steve Jobs unveiled that desktop at that year’s Macworld Expo. Trouble is, the night before that keynote, someone at Time Canada pulled the trigger on the story too quickly, posting images and details of the iMac well before Steve Jobs took the stage.

It’s unclear what Apple’s reaction will be to McGraw-Hill’s premature declaration. But I’m sure there’s a former Time Canada employee who could probably tell Harold McGraw III just how cold the winters can get up north.

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