Apple has owned the domain iSlate.com since at least 2007 according to records discovered by MacRumors. The domain was registered in 2007 through MarkMonitor, a domain registrar and trademark protection service that has handled domains for companies such as Google, Yahoo and Apple.
Apple's ownership of the domain was displayed for several weeks in late 2007 before being quickly changed back to MarkMonitor. Currently the domain does not point to a website.
In October, Bill Keller, executive editor at the New York Times, made mention of an "impending Apple slate" during a presentation to the newspaper's digital staff:
"We need to figure out the right journalistic product to deliver to mobile platforms and devices. I'm hoping we can get the newsroom more actively involved in the challenge of delivering our best journalism in the form of Times Reader, iPhone apps, WAP, or the impending Apple slate, or whatever comes after that."
Rumors of Apple's forthcoming tablet device have been circulating for years but have reached a critical mass as of the end of 2009. Many expect the device to be announced early in 2010 with the tablet entering mass production as early as February.