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Apple lawyer smacks Gawker with Mac tablet hint

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Super-secretive Apple has provided some of the best evidence yet that its long-rumored tablet is on the way. No, not by leaking photos or specs, but instead by threatening a website about soliciting said photos or specs.

On Wednesday, Gawker Media's Valleywag blog announced its Apple Tablet Scavenger Hunt, which offers hefty cash awards to anyone who could provide concrete evidence of the existence of the elusive tablet.

Thursday, Gawker received a letter from Apple's lawyers warning them against soliciting "photos, video, or a sample of an unannounced and highly confidential Apple product."

The wording of that warning seems to infer that there is, indeed, "an unannounced and highly confidential Apple product" that Apple wishes to protect.

The letter, from the Menlo Park, California law firm of Orick, Harrington, and Sutcliffe, goes on to note: "While Apple values and appreciates vibrant public commentary about its products, we believe you and your company have crossed the line by offering a bounty for theft of Apple's trade secrets. Such an offer is illegal and Apple insists that you immediately discontinue the Scavenger Hunt."

Gawker is taking the threat in good humor, however, congratulating the lawyer who sent it for providing "the most concrete evidence (from Apple itself, no less!) yet that there may indeed be a tablet in the works."

And although the lawyer didn't win the Scavenger Hunt's $100,000 grand prize, to be granted to the worthy who provides an Apple tablet to the Gawkers and lets them "play with it for one hour," he's not walking away empty-handed. To show their appreciation, the Valleywags are sending him a DVD of Legally Blonde 2, a $25 Zune Marketplace giftcard, and "a fabulous set of steak knives!" ®

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