During an interview with French radio station Europe1, Richard appears to confirm not only the existence of the Apple tablet, but also that it will be announced soon, and will come packing a webcam.
Now, our French is a little patchy, but we've been on to some of our French-speaking friends, and roughly translated this is what is said.
Journalist: According to Le Point [a French newspaper], in several days your partner Apple will announce a tablet?
Journalist: With a webcam?
Journalist: Will Orange users benefit from this?
Richard: Of course, they will benefit even more, and easily. You will basically be able to transmit images without an aerial. You can upgrade it to a videophone which we have known about for several years and with the size and the quality of our networks which we have in place for Orange users in France, we will be able to [.....] develop it throughout.
While some of the exact details may have been lost in translation, from what we have, it seems Richard is referring to the tablet's ability to make video calls using VoIP on Orange's 3G network.
It's all very intriguing and could be interpreted in different ways. Is Richard simply acknowledging the reports of Le Point and speaking about possibilities, or is he more in the know than that.
Hopefully we won't have too much longer to wait, but it seems odd that Orange France's VP would be so unmedia savvy as to announce one of the most-anticipated products of the past year – particularly before its existence has even been acknowledged by the company actually making it.
Watch the video yourself over at Slashgear, and any French speakers out there, be sure to let us know your interpretations below. You can also check out the Apple Tablet's competitors with our CES 2010 tablet round up.
[Thanks to Becki for the translation!]