Yes, we hate to start off a fresh week with more talk of the Apple tablet, but this isn't just another rumor. Stéphane Richard, second in command at Orange, was asked on a Europe 1 radio program about the Apple Tablet. When he was asked whether such a tablet will be announced before the end of the month, he responded "Yes," and when asked whether Orange users would get it, he responded "Sure!" This is of course not a formal confirmation by any means, but he doesn't sound like he's talking in theoreticals, either. You can listen to it yourself at the read link below and let us know what you think below.
Update: We now have the video below courtesy of SlashGear, who aren't quite so convinced that he's referring to the tablet itself, possibly just confirming that others are reporting the tablet will be released next week. Any native speakers care to help us wade through the intricacies of this, the language of love?
Update 2: We've got a full translation after the break of the entire relevant bits, courtesy of bilingual reader Sean Mangar.
Update fin: Orange has issued a statement predictably saying these comments are being taken out of context, that Richard was "merely confirming that he is aware of the speculation surrounding a launch." So, the fun is over folks -- or is it?
[Thanks to everyone who sent this in]
Journalist: Selon l'hebdomadaire Le Point, votre partenaire apple va lancer une tablette. (According to the weekly Le point, your partner apple will launch a tablet.)
Exec: Oui. (Yes.)
Journalist: Doté d'une webcam... (Equipped with a webcam...)
Exec: Oui. (Yes)
Journalist: Est-ce-que les usagers d'Orange en bénéficieront aussi? (Will the subscribers of Orange benefit from it too?)
Exec: Bien sur. Ils en bénéficieront, d'autant plus facilement qu'avec la webcam, on pourra se transmettre de l'image en temps réel. On va moderniser en quelque sorte ce visiophone qu'on a connu y a quelques années, et là aussi, la taille du réseau que nous avons mis en place au service des français permettre ces nouveuax usages de se déveloper partout. (Of course. They will benefit, even more easily because with the webcam, we will be able to transmit video in real time. We will modernize in some way this videophone that we have known for some years, and also, the scale of the network that we have put in place in service of the French will allow these new uses to develop everywhere.)
Sean believes he's largely speaking of hypotheticals, but his description of video calling can't easily be attributed to any current mobile Apple device (camera is on the wrong side on the iPhone), and that he's discussing his company's network being able to handle such a device seems to imply, to us, that they're expecting something.