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US book giant confirms Apple tablet

'It's going to be terrific'

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If there's anyone with an ounce of tech inquisitiveness who doesn't yet believe that Apple will announce a tablet Wednesday morning in San Francisco, take heed: it's just been preannounced by no lesser light than chairman, president, and CEO of publishing giant McGraw-Hill, Terry McGraw.

Appearing Tuesday morning on CNBC's Earnings Central financial-news show, McGraw responded to reporter Erin Burnett's question about his company getting textbooks onto the upcoming tablet: "Yeah, its very exciting," he said, "very exciting."

After noting that Apple would be making its announcement Wednesday, MgGraw went on to say: "We've been working with Apple for quite awhile. The tablet is going to be based on the iPhone operating system, and so it'll be transferrable. So what you're going to be able to do now - we have a consortium of ebooks, we have 95 per cent of all our materials that are in ebook formats. So now, with the tablet, you're going to open up the higher-education market, the professional market - the tablet is going to be just really terrific."

So there you have it. Of course - as Electronista noted in the squib that tipped us about McGraw's blowing his non-disclosure agreement - execs have been known to embroider their Cupertinian contacts. However, McGraw's loose lips let slip the news that all the months - years? - of tablet rumors are now falling into place.

McGraw's take on the tablet is reminiscent of the ancient fable of the blind men and the elephant: the man who held the beast's tail said an elephant was like a rope; the one who touched its leg said an elephant was like a tree trunk; the one who felt its trunk thought it was like a snake; and so on.

McGraw touched on the tablet's ebook capabilities, so to him it's a device for reading. It remains to be seen what TV producers, filmmakers, and game developers believe it to be.

On Wednesday morning, we'll find out. Finally. ®

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