I know that rolling your eyes at all the hype around Apple’s latest hotly anticipated device has now become nearly a cliché in itself, and the example I’m about to flag is surely not the most egregious thing out there. But this bit about a potential sighting of the holy Tablet, which was leading Mashable.com earlier this morning, might almost come from The Onion* (emphasis in last paragraph added added):

New pictures claiming to be the Apple Tablet have surfaced, and they’re the most realistic ones we’ve seen yet.

The images, posted by designer and user interface guy Dustin Curtis, reveal what appears to be the tablet on top of a MacBook pro. He posted the images on his Posterous.

While we cannot verify or debunk their authenticity, they are the most complete images we’ve seen yet of the rumored device. Without the interface running, any video, or a picture of its backside, we can’t even guess as to whether they’re real. Our gut says no, but they’re convincing images.

What’s next? Maybe a documentary-lite TV special with grainy black-and-white images that dares to ask the bold questions: What did Janitor Johnny see in the warehouse that fateful night? And might rumors of the Tablet—rumors that the “experts” dismiss, but that persist among the honest, plain-spoken folk of Silicon Valley—actually be true?

*The Onion, of course, has already properly skewered the Tablet pomp. See the results below. And for Ryan Chittum’s take-down of all the hacky Steve-Jobs-as-Moses lines circulating in the press, click here.


Apple Introduces Revolutionary New Laptop With No Keyboard

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Greg Marx is a CJR staff writer. Follow him on Twitter @gregamarx.