When the iPhone was launched, the economy was such that people would be willing to pay whatever Apple asked for the latest shiny bauble. It seems that Apple isn't willing to make the same gamble with the Apple Tablet/iPad.
The Guardian has a piece on how Apple is doing the rounds of the network operators looking for a cellphone operator to subsidize the cost of the iPad/iSlate/iTablet* (delete as appropriate). While the article offers no proof, UK mobile operators are quite leaky when it comes to information like this, in stark contrast to Apple's super-paranoid levels of secrecy.
Subsidies could be a gamble though, especially if the network operator is not the same one as for the iPhone. Will even the most hardened and devoted Apple fan be willing to lumber themselves with multiple contracts? It could lead to an either/or situation with customers there they end up having to choose between the two devices.
Another rumor, this time from BusinessWeek, quotes "two people familiar with the matter" who claim that Google will be ousted as default search engine because the two companies no longer get along like they once used to. Instead, users could find Microsoft's Bing as their "Google." This change could also be filtered down to iPhone and iPod touch users via updates (Blackberry users on the Verizon network have already had Bing shoved down their throats). Apple and Microsoft work together? Never! Don't bank on it. In business, as well as in other dealings, the enemy of your enemy is your friend.
Rumor also has it that Apple is working on its own search engine, which could make any deal with Microsoft a short-lived one.
Side note: The best name suggested for Apple's Tablet so far must be iZac (Newton). Feel free to groan ...