Update: The mystery has been solved. Observer Ahnyer Keester has pointed us to a product called the WebPad II Internet Appliance from Honeywell, which is clearly the product image that was modified to include the Apple logo below. We are leaving the original story as it was first published. You can check out the WebPad IIis Web site for all the details on this device, including the original unaltered image.
We received a note from an anonymous Observer with some text and an image that reportedly came from a Japanese Web site. This comes squarely from the it-canit-be-real-but-we-wish-it-were files, but we thought it entertaining enough to share with you. What we have is an image of a slate-looking device with an Apple logo at the top that appeared along with a story that says it is a prototype being shown by Apple to NTT DoCoMo, an electronics manufacturer. According to our anonymous contributor, the image, the article, and the Web site itself disappeared shortly after it was first posted, and conspiracy theorists and Mac fans bored from waiting for MACWORLD New York alike are free to speculate that it was by order of Apple Japan. For the rest of us, hereis the image and the translation of the storyis text:
I managed to copy this from a Japanese Web site yesterday. It is gone now, as well as the site (was on GeoCities). The link from the Japanese site to the site that went down is also gone.
Japanese text read (something like this..)
Apple showed a new Internet device to NTT DoCoMo officials (iMode giant) two weeks ago. The device is like a portable tablet, but slides into a dock that has CD, keyboard, and other I/O, etc. A PC style card was also plugged in the device, an NTT PHS (PHS is similar to cellular) mobile card (top left). Buttons had nice blue glow (bottom right) wireless keyboard also shown, and the top right is a BLUETOOTH-based device. The sideis are rugged plastic handles. The screen is a 15" LCD. The demo also included several of the devices using an AirPort base station to surf the web.
(I canit translate the rest of it.) Pictureis background was removed to protect the guilty. :-) The article seems to say this is a new iMac when combined with "base dock," but my translation is rough.
Thanks to the anoymous person who stretched his Japanese translation skills to their utmost to bring us his translation.